With lightbox in hand, mentor Lee Casey made her way to St Wilfrid’s RC College and Burnside BEC for the TICE Creative Enterprise Insight Stage. It all commenced with an overview of the day including an introduction to Lee and hearing about her inspiring career, Open Badge Academy and a glimpse ahead to the next stages Explore and Create. A lot of information and equally a lot of excited faces…

A team challenge gets things off to an interactive start at Burnside BEC with small groups formed to complete the task of building the tallest freestanding sculpture using only the materials provided: 20 sticks of spaghetti, a metre of masking tape, a metre of string and one marshmallow. The objective of the challenge for the marshmallow to be on the very top of the structure at the end! A list of rules must be adhered to throughout the task so the spaghetti, for example, can be broken up but they can’t cut or eat the marshmallow and the structure must be unsupported at the end.

At St Wilfrid’s RC College, Lee used a similar challenge but this time asking teams to build the tallest freestanding structure with 15 balloons, 4 sheets of A4 paper and a roll of sticky tape. Teams had to imagine they were working in a glass factory and had been asked to design a sculpture to present to a celebrity guest so could give it a unique name too! This challenge gets off to a lot of laughs as teams eagerly blow up balloons and inevitably some start popping as they are blown too big! The balloons are considered to be the delicate glass baubles forming the structure so as they pop they can’t be replaced as they ‘shatter’ either.

These challenges both test a teams ability to organise themselves and measures how they work together, using their initiative to plan and build their designs. It’s certainly a lot of fun and after 20 minutes needless to say there are some successful designs and some not so stable! A lot of broken spaghetti sticks or popped balloons but also some excellent designs too.

After a short break, the students re-group for an introduction to the creative and digital industries with tasks set to name the 11 different areas and think of job roles within those sectors. Plus developing these job roles into identifying potential careers students might be interested in and looking at jobs of the future including those that perhaps haven’t even been invented yet from 3D Avatar Designer to a Fusionist. Lee then talked about routes into these job roles through a variance of higher education courses at local colleges and universities.

After lunch teams were set a new challenge to design an App. A process of idea generation, research, design and development to come up with an innovative idea of creating a new app for an iPhone or IPad within any of the creative sectors or using a combination of creative sectors to ‘fuse’ – an example being technology with fashion…

As ideas flowed, students embraced the freedom of innovative thinking, developing their creations into drawings, logos and a consideration towards defining their target customers and how they would market the app to them and at what price. Pitching ideas took a few forms from advert style designs to team role-plays and songs with Lee very impressed by all. The teams seemed immensely proud and enthused by what they managed to achieve in such a short amount of time. It goes to show just how talented these young people are!

A huge thank you to Burnside BEC and St. Wilfred’s for having us. We’ll see you on Explore Stage!