Q&A with James Hartridge about Hackfest 2019

We caught up with James Hartridge from King Edward VI School to talk about his students who took part in this year’s Hackfest programme.

What is Hackfest? Hackfest is a competition organised by Plymouth College of Art and Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs. The competition is between secondary age students designing and manufacturing working prototypes of a new technology idea. Hackfest not only provided a means of stimulating design and digital making among young people, mixing a range of skills from art, design, engineering, science and technology but it also provided a hugely valuable youth enterprise and entrepreneurship element to Venturefest, inspiring the next generation of innovators.

1. What made you take part in Hackfest?
We wanted to give our keener Computer Science students something extra and there are limited opportunities to take students to events that happen so locally.

2. How do you think the competition inspired children who were involved?
Our older students (sixth form) who took part definitely got a lot out of the event, partly the new technical skills they learnt but also how important it was to give a high-quality final pitch.

3. What are the benefits of students taking part in a competition like this?
Taking them of their comfort zone, making them do things they wouldn’t do normally and working under pressure to very strict deadlines. Also seeing the bigger picture of how technology could be used a wide variety of ways to meet different needs.

4. How important is teaching students about tech and innovation?
Obviously, I think it is very important, particularly how technology can be used for socially beneficial ways and not just commercially.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Hackfest, watch this space for 2020 Hackfest plans.