A Guest Blog from Learning Pool Director Mary McKenna
I spent Sunday afternoon at the Department for Education sponsored #pupildata event in London organised by Emma Mulqueeny and the Rewired State team ( http://rewiredstate.org/ ) This was a first of its kind event where DfE made some carefully anonymised data available from their National Pupil Dataset to a group of Rewired State “hackers” with a view to testing the security of the data and experimenting with what the data could be used for. The parents of school students in the room also had some interesting ideas about what they would have found useful in terms of information about their own children’s key stage journeys.
I was impressed with just how confident and articulate the young programmers who form the Young Rewired State gang are. If this is a result of public speaking & presentation skills being taught in schools these days then it’s certainly working.
After playing with the data all day Saturday, all Saturday night and most of Sunday, the teams presented their projects and findings to Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, and the various representatives present from Cabinet Office, DfE and the Minister’s office.
As a first set of baby steps towards DfE opening up their data the weekend seems to have been a great success and will no doubt have persuaded the Department that moving in this direction is both worthwhile & interesting. Emma and her team managed organise the event in just two weeks and on a weekend competing with F1 & Wimbledon that was no mean feat. I asked Emma about how she felt the event had gone and she said “It’s been an interesting dynamic working with the Department for Education who are new to all of this. I gave the Minister an opportunity to stay at home this afternoon and watch the tennis with his son but he was keen to attend, see open data at work first hand and meet some of the Young Rewired State programmers.”
We were all impressed with the level of engagement with the project displayed by Michael Gove. He asked well informed questions and stayed at the event for two hours this afternoon, discussing data and app development with the programmers at length.
The Young Rewired State Festival of Code is taking place across the country from 6 to 12 August so if you know a child or teenager under 18 years of age who’s interested in improving their programming skills and joining some other likeminded young people you can find out more on the website here http://youngrewiredstate.org/