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Mar 7, 2017

A fantastic, productive half term for GG students!

Students at the 'Think Maths' workshop
Students at the 'Think Maths' workshop

In February, Generating Genius students took part in a number of challenging half-term workshops to develop their knowledge of science,  maths and STEM careers. It was a great week with record attendances and an over subscription for our univeristy visits. 

On Tuesday, at the stunning Salesforce Tower, students debated 'big data”, learned ‘how science works’ and met with employees across the business at Salesforce, who are one of our fantastic corporate supporters. It was great for students to get an insight into how STEM skills can be applied in the working world and see how important they are for certain roles. 

Later in the week year 11 students tackled maths' unsolved puzzles, as introduced by Dr Katie Steckles from Think Maths. This included the 'Four Colour Theorum', which made a seemingly straightforward colouring in exercise into something far more challenging!  Students also created logic gates to discover how computers 'think' and made 'domino computers' to test them out. We finished with 'fractals', which really caught students' imagination as Dr Katie explained how she was part of a team that made the 'MegaMenger' - possibly the biggest fractal in the world!

King’s College London hosted a hands-on Clinical Skills session, in which students learned basic medical skills from current undergraduates and were able to ask questions about life at university. We ended the week with a workshop and campus tour at the School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University of London in which students were challenged to derive Einstein's famous E=mc2 equation! 

Read more about all these events on our 'Top Stories: page here


Dec 22, 2016

STEM In Action - racing robotics

Winning robots
Winning robots

In October students spent the day with us and Setpoint London East learning about robotics and building their own. In a day that put their problem solving and technical skills to the test, students learnt about robotics and engineering theory before building their own walking robots. They then carried out tests and eventually raced their designs against each other.

“I hope we do more things like this again, I enjoyed every second of it - I hope we do more of this in the future.  Meeting people was great too, there are people I want to meet again.”  - year 11 GG student

Later in the day a team quiz challenged students scientific and general knowledge, with our very own Quiz Master, Sasha. How would you do?

  • How many chemical elements can be detected in the composition of the human body?
  • How much of our DNA is the same as that of a banana?
  • In a cell, what is the main role of mitochondria?

Also this autumn term we organised a networking event, which brought together 26 students and 9 STEM Ambassadors from various industries, in a session aimed at providing real insights into careers which require STEM skills. Generating Genius students met with STEM Ambassadors from a range of industries, including civil, aerospace and geotechnical design engineers, patent attorneys and lab researchers.

The evening began with a brief introduction to networking, helping students prepare to meet the STEM Ambassadors. This was followed by 4 speed networking sessions in small groups and then informal networking, which many students enjoyed, as it offered them the chance to talk with ambassadors on a one-to-one basis.

For many of the students, it was a new, but very enriching experience. In addition to information about potential careers, discussions also covered the process of getting into a certain industry or job, a topic that many students found extremely interesting and engaging.

“I liked talking to successful people and seeing what paths people have taken to become successful.” - Antonio, year 10 GG student

“I think the format worked really well and gave the students an opportunity to hear from lots of different ambassadors. I thought all of the students were really engaged and interested, and had some really great questions for me. It would definitely be an event I would be happy to help at again.” - Emma, a Research Technician in Surgical Science

If you would like to read more about the networking event visit our website HERE.


Dec 21, 2016

coding skills for young ex-offeders

We have now come to our transition point in this exciting project, where we look to use the model  for companies interested in employing a young person who has recently ended a senetence for a criminal offence. Statistically, these young people find it the hardest to get full-time emplpyment. 

The range of non-custodial responses to juvenile offenders has been widened to include a police final warning, court-ordered reparation, parenting orders and action plan orders, where intensive rehabilitation programmes can be tailored to the needs of offenders. Over and above them flies a new statutory aim for all relevant professionals of preventing offending by children and young people.. A resurgent "what works" movement on both sides of the Atlantic has drawn attention to convincing evidence that certain types of rehabilitation can significantly reduce reoffending.

By analysing more than 400 controlled evaluations of work with young offenders, the American researcher Mark Lipsey found that even on average they achieved reductions in recidivism compared with "treatment as usual". More persuasively, there were certain categories that pointed to average reduction rates of 20% or more

The most promising programmes in community settings were those designed to improve personal and social skills and those that focused on changing behaviour. Services that combined a number of approaches were also noticeably effective.

When Lipsey narrowed the analysis to programmes for juveniles convicted of serious and violent crimes, he discovered that behaviour modification and inter-personal skills work scored average reductions in re-offending of as high as 40%.

We are now looking to a number of employers on out data base particularly  young statrt-ups  to take -on one ex-offender. The plan will be:

To build network of volunteers to share the load is the only approach likely to work. So we developed this further to build a supportive network around ex-offenders to provide not only coding, but also pastoral, support from a local youth charity we havw called these  volunteers 'code-coaches', they work alongside a 'host business' with an entrepreneur who's the 'business owner': There is also support from the youth offending Team  who will help with the social care

What will success look like:

Without going into too much detail, here are the elements of our approach:

  • Young person responds extremely well to being treated like a normal member of the team, with the same holiday allowance, relaxed working conditions and involvement with company social events. Trying not to be the ‘odd one out’ is a big motivator for young person to  modify his behaviour
  • Despite a lack of education, learning to code from online resources isn't a big intellectual jump for our young people  once all the other challenges are removed
  • Working with volunteer mentors is a massive motivator, especially knowing these people are giving their time for free and they'll return next week to review his progress
  • Mentors have build personal relationships with young people  that extend beyond coding, and are able to share information about lifestyle and career paths
  • Having this apprenticeship prevents  the young person reoffending. 
  • The power of online connections (social media, email lists etc) has given Generating Genius  quick access to a big support network that otherwise would have been difficult to reach
  • Having an experienced youth worker in the support network as a friend, rather than from a statutory body is a massive benefit.

 The Challenges:

Signing up companies willing to take the low risk

Raising funding for social care support.

Getting the right tech support so that  volunteer  coders can contiubue their support on-line.

Plans to meet challenges: 

1  Using existing networks we have already had strong interest from a number of small companies

2 Using Gobal Giving and other agenicies to raise funds 

3 A number of tech companies have offered their support for free

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