College hosts ‘Hackathon’ challenge

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New College Lanarkshire hosted an innovative computing challenge for local school pupils to give them a taste of a career in the industry.

The Faculty of Computing and Creative Industries hosted the ‘Hackathon’ event for third year pupils studying Computing and Business Studies St Ninian’s High School in Kirkintilloch.

The 121 pupils were challenged with creating a prototype mobile application and associated marketing campaign which they presented to fellow classmates, teachers and college staff.

They worked in mixed groups from both Computing and Business Studies to encourage team work and skills sharing amongst them.  

Prototypes were created using App Inventor before pupils developed a marketing campaign for the product, which included company name, app name, slogan, logo, market segmentation, price point and advertising strategy.

Jennifer Livingstone, Principal Teacher of Business at St. Ninian’s, commented: “All feedback from the event including from our senior management team has been very positive.

“During the week of the Hackathon the school was being inspected by Her Majesty’s Inspectors who attended the challenge and commented that it was a display of excellence. They particularly liked the link between the two departments and the College. They were also impressed by the focus on employability skills and course choices, and pupils applying subject skills into a focus task.

“I am very thankful for the level of enthusiasm shown by all staff members involved, it was greatly appreciated."

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Staff organisers from New College Lanarkshire, made up of lecturers Claire McRae, Carol Davie, Peter Slevin, Ian Hunter and Robert Balfour, were impressed with all the ideas created, the focus of the pupils and their presentation skills.

Claire said: “The College is dedicated to supporting the local community and getting young people the skills they need to get the job they really want.

“The Hackathon is an annual event that allows local pupils from schools across Lanarkshire with an interest in Business Studies or Computing to get hands on in a real to life project, giving them a taster of what a career in the industry could look like.

“It also gives them the opportunity to taste what life at college is like, taking skills and knowledge and transferring them to practical tasks.

“All the pupils took to the challenge and created some amazing ideas. Pupil feedback received was excellent and we look forward to seeing some familiar faces in the future!”

New College Lanarkshire has a range of Computing programmes across its six campuses, ranging from Foundation Apprenticeships to degree-level programmes. For more information, visit: http://www.nclanarkshire.ac.uk/courses/computing.

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