Eighty captivated LVS Ascot students listened intently on Wednesday 8th March as one of the leading technology experts in the world visited to give advice on how they can develop their computing careers like he has – and praised the school for the level of its IT and Computing education.
Mark Silis Associate Vice President at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), a world leader in research and education, discussed the technology education available at the independent, all-ability school and said: “I am very impressed that LVS Ascot students are already using Python [a programming language]. They are studying things like this at a much younger age than I started so already have an advantage. It is also good that students here are doing machine learning – they are very well prepared for the future”.
A question and answer session allowed students to gain inspirational advice on how best to progress their IT careers. Mark’s advice included always being prepared in advance – using online learning to research topics prior to lessons – and that curiosity is one of the greatest things you can find in life to help drive you to discover how things work and what you can do to adapt and improve them. However, his main advice was regarding gaining a top education: “Achieving the best education you can get is important. You guys are here at LVS Ascot so are already doing well in that as at MIT we seek well-rounded individuals who are interested, do volunteering, and are not just academics – we want people who are engaged in society and can excel and contribute in different areas”.
In Britain to deliver a keynote speech at the UCISA conference, the premier IT event for UK colleges and universities, Mark was invited by LVS Ascot to inspire computing students on how to succeed in their career aspirations. He was accompanied by Jules Wakefield and Chris Regan from VMware, whose UK head office is in Staines and who work closely with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in providing them with cutting-edge technology software.
Mark was the perfect guest speaker for LVS Ascot, which has a focus on preparing pupils to be confident digital citizens for the future. Pupils from Year 5 have Computing/IT lessons with specialist teachers to develop computational thinking and understanding from the Junior years, and the school offers both IT and Computer Science through GCSE and A level along with additional opportunities for keen students via activities such as First Lego League, CyberCenturion, EGX2016 at the NEC and Adaptabot with Brunel University. The LVS IT and Computing Department works closely with the Science Department to address a range of wider Stem topics and to ensure that students wishing to focus on the digital world have the essential underpinning skills.
LVS Ascot confirmed its desire to support students to flourish as individuals by providing one particular student with the opportunity to enjoy a one-to-one session with Mark to help boost his qualifications. Bryn Parry-Jones, in Year 11 and hoping to study at the MIT, is undertaking an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) in data sharing in specialist science and interviewed Mark as part of the project.