Posted on February 24th 2015
With the 2015 General Election taking place very soon, it was a great time for students from Harris Academy , Peckham to attend the 2015 DL Annual Lecture in Parliament, titled “Digital Democracy”. Hosted by Chloe Smith MP and lecturer Dr Ben Scott. On Tuesday 24th February, seven Digital Leaders from Year 10 participated in the conference held at the Palace of Westminster, exploring the use of digital technology to promote and improve participation in the political process, and to further the reach of democracy. The conference was of particular interest to the students, as they will be perhaps the first generation to vote in elections using computers, mobile devices, smartphones, tablets, a development that might see the demise of the ballot box.
The speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow presented an engaging introduction, and the conference, chaired by Chloe Smith, was described as’ illuminating and challenging’ by student Andrei Dima.
Dr. Scott is a Senior Advisor to the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation in Washington DC and a Visiting Fellow at the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung in Berlin. Previously, he was a Policy Advisor for Innovation at the US Department of State where he worked at the intersection of technology and foreign policy. In a small team of advisors to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he worked to help steward the 21st Century Statecraft agenda with a focus on technology policy, social media and development.
Students left the conference encouraged that they have a major role to play in championing and developing digital technology awareness at Harris Academy, Peckham.
Some of what the students said include;
Umut - What I was surprised to find out how few people vote. More people should vote. The reasons why are quite hard to understand, but now I feel I understand the issues around democracy and technology much more.
Andrei - I found the experience interesting. The fact that there are people trying to improve the chances of young people voting is a good thing. Everyone should know about politics. This helped me to be interested.
Hafeez -It was tantalizing to be in that amazing environment. Making voting digital will make it easier for me and my family to exercise our rights. My dad likes John Bercow, so it was exciting seeing him live for the first time. Being in a room full of sophisticated and knowledgeable adults made me feel that I have the same opportunities as everyone else.
Adam - In the presentation I found it interesting that they are trying to evolve the way technology is used in politics, and society, and teaching people how to vote on – line means that more people can get involved. It was a wonderful venue. I am now interested in politics a lot more.