Last week Stephen Melia and a team of researchers from the Health E-Research Centre at the University of Manchester, delivered a Schools University Partnership Initiative (SUPI) workshop to our Year 10 and 11 computing pupils. SUPI aims to bring cutting edge research and expertise out of the University and in to our classrooms, to encourage pupils to explore different aspects of the curriculum and to consider research as a possible future career choice.
This two hour session focussed on the power that data and technology can have in improving the delivery of the NHS and highlighted that the demand for good quality Health Data Scientists is on the increase. Firstly, pupils were encouraged to question how useful and reliable data is by analysing statistics on what impact violence on TV has on teenage behaviour. They concluded that evidence is only as good as the data it is based upon.
Next they learnt about plotting data into a visual representation and analysed information from a range of sources, about the correlation between diet, social deprivation and tooth decay. The key message extracted from this data was that an increase in sugar consumption leads to an increase in tooth decay for children.
Finally, pupils were asked in teams to focus on a solution to this problem by designing a mobile phone app. Pupils came up with a whole range of fantastic ideas which they then pitched to the panel of experts in a 2 minute presentation. The winning team won some Amazon gift vouchers.
“This was a lively and engaging workshop which really encouraged the pupils to explore the importance and impact that health data has on all of our lives. The mobile phone apps the pupils developed were both educational and entertaining and illustrated perfectly the very real application of this subject in the world of work. Our thanks to the University of Manchester and the team of researchers who came into school – I am sure they inspired many more Health Data Scientists of the future!” Hilary Langmead-Jones, SUPI co-ordinator.