School life: Pupils get an eye-opening taste of university life

Sixty pupils were invited to the university
Sixty pupils were invited to the university

Leeds University were kind enough to invite sixty Year nine students to spend a day doing teamwork exercises, practising research, using Dell’s technology and exploring the university.

We set off at around 9am and on arrival, we were greeted by a student who would be helping during the visit. She led us up several flights of stairs to a classroom and introduced us to Mr Bernard (or Bernie as he preferred us to call him). The table numbers were cleverly labelled so that even though most of us had at least a couple of our friends with us, we were forced to sit with a few people we would not usually socialise with. This made for at first an apprehensive atmosphere, but after a little while we were all talking and compiling ideas for the tasks we were set.

Once settled, Bernie gave us an interesting talk about going to university and two students shared some of their experiences.

Following this, they then handed out Dell technology, including tablets and laptops. Our first task was to make a list of five things that a career in IT might look like and five things that bothered us in today’s society. To give you some examples, we had ideas such as customer support or accountancy for the first part and discrimination or isolation for the second part. We shared our ideas with the rest of the room and then it was time for our next task.

This time we were given a sheet covered in text boxes that we needed to fill in, and they all contained questions. Bernie put five famous names of people involved in IT on the board and we were asked to choose one to research. Among the names were Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg.

We spent about half an hour finding out information surrounding our chosen person before reading our findings to the class.

It was now time for a break and we enjoyed refreshments and got to sit and talk for a while. However, it was soon over and time for the proper project.

We were given the task of creating a PowerPoint presentation about an issue within society and an IT solution to help prevent it. We had roughly an hour to research, collect potential data and theorise an intelligent piece of technology before lunch. This did not need to be the finalised piece, so most of us just scribbled down our thoughts and chose a fitting PowerPoint design.

After lunch, a student guide took us on an interesting walk around campus. We saw the unique architecture as we walked around campus and visited their library.

It was an eye opening experience to get an inside view of university. Our willing host also took us down to the student union, where we saw what life at university is really like.

After a visit to the great big hall, we headed back to our classroom up all of those stairs to complete our projects.

Each team had to present their idea to the rest of the class. As nerve-wracking as it was, it is good to sometimes face your fears.

The presentations discussed topics from bullying (where the solution was a handy app), to obesity (these groups designed useful dieting help and emotional support). The group that won came up with a download for both a parent and their child’s phone, which limited online time to boost social skills and help fight sleep deprivation.

They will be entered into a national competition where the winning team would win a Dell tablet each!

All of the students who participated in this opportunity are grateful for the day they had.

We would like to say thank you to Leeds University for having us and to Dell for organising the event.