Primary school staff and pupils around the UK are being asked to work together to come up with creative technology projects that will help promote the use of information technology in their local communities in this year's Make IT Happy competition.
Called "Pass IT on", the technology challenge, with cash prizes of up £4,000, is open to students ages 9-11 and is organised by E-skills UK, the Parliamentary IT Committee (PITCOM) and the Sector Skills Council for Business and Information Technology.
“Make IT Happy is a great way for children to develop their ICT skills as well as to get involved with the community, and for the last few years pupils here have loved being a part of the competition," says Rosemary Gledhill, from the Jessie Younghusband school, winners of last year’s competition. Thanks to their success the school now has a regenerated computer suite with new PCs, printers and software.
Judges are looking for learner-led IT projects that use a range of software and hardware and are responsible for links between the school and other members of their community "whether it is down the corridor, around the town, across the UK or halfway around the world. including internationally". Any school stuck for ideas should check out the Make IT Happy website where inspiration might come from the project suggestions that will be updated on a regular basis. Entries open on January 17 and the winning school will be notified at the beginning of June.
Nine regional finalists will be awarded £1,200 with the overall winning school taking home an additional £4,000, while first and second place will get £2,500 and £1,500 respectively in a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on June 28.
Last year more than 80 MPs from across the UK gave their backing to Make IT Happy and Alun Michael, MP for Cardiff South and Penarth and chariman of PITCOM says: " We’re asking MPs from across the UK to support Make IT Happy 2011 so as many schools as possible have the chance to take part in this year’s competition."
Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, added: “Technology has the power to reach out to people and make a real difference in their lives. Each year, Make IT Happy celebrates the imaginative ways in which schools are using IT to connect with their wider communities, and I am always impressed with how creative children are in demonstrating this. The competition has gone from strength to strength each year, and I am confident Make IT Happy 2011 will be the most successful yet.”