GDST tech pioneers strike all the right notes

By me&him

Last week, students and staff gathered from across the GDST family for a pioneering day of digital innovation at the GDST Techathon. The event, held at South Hampstead High School, was focused around a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style project. The girls were challenged to create a unique digital product or service inspired by the event theme of ‘Music and Digital Technologies’. They then had to pitch their concepts to a panel of judges.

The girls were supported by a selection of inspiring mentors from the worlds of tech and music including Elizabeth Davis, Senior Content Editor at Classic FM, Elena Sinel, CEO of Acorn Aspirations, Liane Katz from Mama Codes and Dee Saigel from Erase All Kittens.

They also had the opportunity to get expert advice from a careers panel featuring Emily Rigby, Software Engineer at Bloomberg, Coral Manton, Algoraver and Researcher, and Cara Chan, Digital Innovation Analyst, EY.

Among some of the amazing concepts created by our young pioneers were virtual reality apps for learning to play musical instruments and a professional network for musicians aptly named TunedIn!

After much deliberation the winners were announced:

  • Winners: Sheffield High School won with their concept which harnessed images and music to provide a very practical way of using the power of music to reach people with Alzheimer’s.
  • Runners-up: Birkenhead High School Academy won the silver award for their concept which made innovative use of VR and Bluetooth to create immersive concert experiences through 360 cameras.
  • The people’s choice: Northwood College won the people’s choice award for their wearable tech idea.

Stephen Wiles, Head of e‑Learning at Sheffield High, praised the Techathon as, “a wonderful opportunity for the girls to meet other GDST girls, see other tech in action, listen to pioneers and be inspired by other women in tech.”

Cathy Darnton, Senior Leader and Head of Digital Learning at Howell’s School, commented, “Our students had a great day and it was hugely satisfying seeing them pitch at the end of the day.”

Amy Icke, GDST Digital Learning Platform Manager, summed up the event by saying, “All of the teams showed tremendous creativity, ingenuity and resilience as they put together their pitches. The mentors were in awe of what our girls achieved in just a few short hours – a genuine and very uplifting display of GDST spirit. Thank you to all of our workshop leaders, mentors and colleagues across the GDST who supported the event.”

Thanks to Classic FM, Discovery Education, Capita SIMS, Firefly, Planet eStream and Mastercard for supporting the event, as well the many staff and GDST alumnae who helped make the event such a success.

You can view tweets and images from the day via Storify.