Bucks UTC Students in E-Safety Competition Dragon’s Den Style

  |  Published: Oct 8th 2013

Last Friday, one hundred IT and construction students at the new Buckinghamshire University Technical College (UTC) were competing to win Amazon vouchers for coming up with the best way to raise awareness of e-safety.  The five teams of 14-19 year-olds were tasked with developing an E-Safety Policy and an Acceptable Use Policy for the UTC, and to create a resource (e.g. a video, podcast, game, presentation) to engage fellow students on these important issues. 

On Friday October 4th, the students presented their ideas to a Dragon’s Den style panel of judges (RM Education’s Winston Poyton, Hilary Wright, Richard Hadland and Suzanne Kyle) who selected a Year 12 team as the winner. The winning team created a board game similar to snakes and ladders aimed at primary school children. The ‘dragons’ liked the game’s simplicity and the fact that it could be scaled up into a playground game or taken online as a digital app. 

The competition was run by RM Education, the learning technology company, as a way to encourage teenagers to think more deeply about how to be safe online.  The company provided lesson plans to support the project, encouraging students to examine, for example, existing online profiles to spot whether any of the information posted online poses a security risk.  Other subjects being covered during the two-week competition were cyber-bullying, protecting your online reputation and responsible use of social networking.  The course will be made available to other schools later in the year. 

“The internet presents amazing opportunities to learn, connect with other people and play.  We want to help schools and colleges educate their students so they know what’s safe and what’s acceptable so they can take full advantage of the online world while being responsible digital citizens.  We were hugely impressed with the presentations, the quality of the ideas and that the students had the confidence to stand up in front of a crowd! ” explains Hilary Wright, E-Safety Manager, RM Education.

Bev Flanagan, Bucks UTC Principal added: “Our students can’t remember a time before the internet, they are completely at home with technology.  But they are still young, and it’s our job to educate them on the risks of the world online so they can fully reap the rewards. Protecting your online reputation is particularly important as employers increasingly examine social media to find out more about job candidates. We’re delighted RM Education chose to run this competition with us.”

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