West Sussex, Lancs and Dorset schools win IT awards

Schools from West Sussex, Lancashire and Dorset are the winners of this year's annual Make IT Happy competition, run by the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee (PITCOM) and e-skills UK.

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Schools from West Sussex, Lancashire and Dorset are the winners of this year's annual Make IT Happy competition, run by the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee (PITCOM) and e-skills UK.

The competition challenges 9-11 year olds to demonstrate how technology can be used creatively to make people happy. The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Get your community online’.

Three national winners were chosen from twelve finalists from across the UK. The awards presentation took place at the houses of parliament this week.

The first prize was awarded to pupils at Jessie Younghusband primary school in West Sussex, who created a website from stories they had heard from older people about the Second World War, while at the same time showing these older people how to use the internet.

Longton Primary School in Lancashire received second prize for showing residents of a nearby old people’s home how to use the internet to send emails, research their ancestors and shop online.

These sessions, run at the local library, proved so popular that several other residents have joined the scheme, which pupils are continuing to run into the current school year.

The Third prize went to Kinson Primary School in Dorset for its ‘Grandparents go online’ project, teaching older people a variety of online skills based on their favourite hobbies and interests. The entry itself was presented as a news report with interviews with both pupils and session participants.

Alun Michael MP, chairman of PITCOM, said, "It is very encouraging to see how well IT is being used in the classroom and how at ease the students are with technology. This year’s theme makes the most of young people’s talents and encourages them to share the benefits of technology with the wider community."

Karen Price, chief executive of e-skills UK, said, “Every one of this year’s Make IT Happy finalists has made a real difference to people from all over the UK, by showing those not online how to use technology and the internet."

The schools selected as finalists each received a prize of £1,200, with additional awards of £4,000, £2,500 and £1,500 going to the schools that placed first, second and third overall.

The annual competition is supported by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Nominet Trust.

Hertfordshire County Council won another schools-related award this week, when it won the 2010 Local Government IT Excellence Awards.

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