SWITCH sparks enthusiasm for web design in younger generations
Recommended by teachers and embraced by students all over Switzerland – that's the SWITCH Junior Web Award. SWITCH ran the project from 2007 to 2015 with the aim of getting younger generations interested in the Internet and technology, with the help of yearly grants from Google starting in 2010. Kids learned how to work with modern communication technologies in a fun, engaging context and discovered the full spectrum of web design, from choosing a topic to creating a concept, putting together a structure and handling technical implementation. Their work was then put to a public vote and rated by a panel of experts. The best classes were rewarded with great prizes and wide recognition outside the classroom. Since its launch, 680 educators have overseen the creation of 1,200 full-fledged websites, giving them the opportunity to include practical experience of modern computer-science technology in their lessons. Google invited 91 student participants to its Zurich office for a chance to meet web designers and learn about careers and opportunities in computer science. During the visit, the importance of teamwork, particularly when it comes to effective problem-solving, was a major topic of discussion. Secondary school teacher Roland Spycher, from Pully in the Swiss canton of Vaud, explains, “Once children understand what goes into creating a website, they are really keen to try it out for themselves. Thanks to Google they were given a chance to discover the career possibilities in the field.” The event was hosted in all three official languages and the winning classes were invited to an awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus Zürich.