How do you prepare the new generation for the challenges of the 21st century? An important question, certainly for teachers and policymakers. Shell created an elaborate programme in response, known as Generation Discover.

Generation Discover is a series of memorable scientific and technological experiences, aimed at the discoverers of the future. On the basis of this programme, Shell organises activities with the aim of challenging children to develop their own ideas.

We were lucky enough to contribute to this great programme. How exactly? A selection of the various activities is shown below.

A festival of technology

At the beginning of October, the Malieveld in The Hague was all about science and technology during the Generation Discover festival. Children could take part in innovative workshops and interactive theatre shows, descend to the centre of the earth, track down a cyber criminal, fly drones, control a robot and much more. As well as an app, 15 Virtual Reality video’s and the festival website, we also created the ticketing system, providing easy access to the festival for over 30,000 visitors. It was quite an experience, particularly for the thousands of children and classes who visited the Malieveld, and it will undoubtedly have sown the seeds of many a future technological talent.

Online teaching programme

Another (no less enjoyable) component of Generation Discover is the Bright Ideas Challenge, an annual online challenge for classes 7 and 8 (children aged around 10/11) in which hundreds of classes participate. We created the digital teaching platform and supporting website for this component, which we also monitor and actively maintain. Primary schools throughout the Netherlands can take part for free, joining forces to come up with solutions to global issues. Inspiring videos and assignments, together with an accompanying teaching package, encourage classes to come up with smart ideas of their own, step by step. This experience is very enjoyable and educational for the pupils, while it also allows schools to prepare for 2020 when science and technology education will form an integral part of the curriculum.

Bright Ideas in Virtual Reality

The best ideas which come out of the challenge are transformed into Virtual Reality, truly bringing them to life. The Generation Discover festival offered VR headsets, allowing the children to admire their own and each other's ideas in 360°. The best ideas were rewarded with an innovative prize.

On the website which we created for the Bright Ideas Challenge, you can still see last year's VR videos. People could vote for these entries to determine the winner of the audience award. This prize gave the pupils an extra impulse and a reward for their creative ideas.

Ready for the future

The best way of inspiring the new generation? Generation Discover demonstrates the effectiveness of allowing children to experience science and technology for themselves. After all, they will ultimately be the ones who shape tomorrow's world.

For the time being, Shell plans to continue the Generation Discover programme. We will keep you informed of any noteworthy future developments!

Photography: Shell / Jiri Buller