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Drones, robots and Islington kids swarm Emirates stadium for technology showcase

PUBLISHED: 15:09 19 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:39 22 January 2018

St Jude and St Paul's students attending the sixth annual celebration of cumputers at the Emirates stadium.  Photo by Steve Bainbridge

St Jude and St Paul's students attending the sixth annual celebration of cumputers at the Emirates stadium. Photo by Steve Bainbridge

2017 Steve Bainbridge

The Emirates stadium was flooded with hundreds of tech-savvy students yesterday as Islington celebrated its computer-focused curriculum.

City of London Academy Highgate Hill students attending the sixth annual celebration of cumputers at the Emirates stadium.  Photo by Steve Bainbridge City of London Academy Highgate Hill students attending the sixth annual celebration of cumputers at the Emirates stadium. Photo by Steve Bainbridge

Some 500 kids from 45 primary schools across the borough showed off mind-boggling experiments in virtual reality (VR) thanks to equipment paid for through a series of crowdfunders.

Billed as a “celebration of computing”, the sixth annual showcase at the home of the Gunners saw tech-savvy kids guiding their peers through virtual worlds, some of which they had coded themselves.

The VR equipment needed to experience virtual and augmented reality in the classroom, including iPods and headsets, was purchased using crowdfunding platform Rocket Fund – currently used by 10 schools across Islington.

Digital creations included a doorbell for people with hearing impairments, programmed using tiny “Micro:bit” computers. Other students brought along robots, drones and game simulations designed, built and programmed at school, as well as demonstrations using “green screen” technology and films they had produced themselves.

Ashmount Primary School students attending the sixth annual celebration of cumputers at the Emirates stadium.  Photo by Steve Bainbridge Ashmount Primary School students attending the sixth annual celebration of cumputers at the Emirates stadium. Photo by Steve Bainbridge

Islington Council believes the borough is “at the forefront of technology teaching”.

Cllr Joe Caluori, Islington’s education chief, said: “Our annual celebration goes from strength to strength, showing how our schools are leading the way in education-tech – and this year is no different.

“I was really impressed to see how Islington children are developing skills to get a head start in the tech world, from programming their own robots to gaining experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have through virtual reality.”

More than 25 tech industry leaders including Google, Microsoft and the Institute of Imagination also attended the event, exhibiting the latest developments in education technology.

A panel of judges, which included the mayor of London’s first chief digital officer Theo Blackwell, were “very impressed” with the “quality and variety” of projects on display.

Miles Berry, principal lecturer in computing at Roehampton University, was also at the event to see the projects and speak to the young tech stars.

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