Broadclyst's Global Enterprise Challenge has sparked creative classroom product design worldwide

Nine-year-old Briana Edwards attends the Allman Town Primary School in Kingston, Jamaica. As she reports, she and her fellow team members are part of the Keyring Company, and they’re working hard to meet challenges that are typical of a young business – no budget and substantial time constraints. Here's her story:

The members of my team work very hard and value their education. They like to make things with their hands. Right now we are working on the sample of our new product for the Global Enterprise Challenge. We are still discussing which materials to use, because we do not have any money to make them.

We wish we were much further along, but we have a lot of activities that the Ministry of Education wants our school to do. Plus I am in Grade 4 (UK Year 4), and have to prepare for the Grade 4 exams. This slows us down.

The technology

Partners logoThe technology in our school has helped me to receive information about the products we are making, like ideas about how they could look, and how to make them.

When we use Skype, I also get to see other children from other countries, and to see what they are doing and what their classrooms look like. They also get to see how well we work as students in Jamaica. This is exciting to me. We get to share information about our Jamaican culture and especially our school.

I feel very good to know I have my own email address. I feel important when I connect to other children in the project from across the world.

Collaborating with children from other countries

I have learnt that there are children in other countries with good manners, who talk to people nicely, and who are disciplined. They do excellent work with their hands also. Some of the schools are different from us in Jamaica in some ways. For example, we wear uniforms, but they don’t. Their climate is different too! We have summer all year round, but some students in other countries have summer, winter, autumn and spring. That’s exciting to me!

I get to share about my country’s climate, our National Heroes and what they did for our country. I also get to search for their countries on the map, especially using my atlas. I share the location of Jamaica, and the directions as well. I look forward to sharing my products with them, as soon as they are ready.

Challenges and successes

I love working with my principal. She makes the project very exciting. However, a big challenge here is that she is sometimes very busy because of the Ministry of Education. We do not get to meet as often as we want to or need to. I also have to meet with children in other classes who are on my team, and sometimes they are not available. We try to meet in our lunch time, but sometimes it does not work out.

My favourite part so far is finding the location of the countries where the other children are from. I love exploring, and I think this is a great way to travel to other countries without leaving my own country. I do not need a visa or a passport to do this kind of travelling. 

The most important thing I’ve learnt

I have learnt that I can own my own business in the future. I am talented, and if I can make these things now, then I can do even better in the future. I can earn some money while being creative and positive.

To others thinking of participating in the Global Education Challenge, I would say this is something that is exciting and you can do it, no matter if you are just in primary school. If you start now you will be successful in the future. I would also say they need to come talk to me! I am so excited about it.

I would also say try doing a different business each time to see if you like and have the ability to do something else.

Preparing for my future

I would like to become a nurse. I think that learning to do research from the GEC will help me to be a good nurse. I have to keep up-to-date on illnesses and medicines that are available. It also helps me to think about my patients. I will have to learn to work with different types of people just as I work with my team members for the GEC.

Brianne Edwards is a Year 4 pupil at Allman Town Primary School in Kingston, Jamaica

The Broadclyst Global Enterprise Challenge

Broadclyst's third Global Enterprise Challenge has involved children in 11 primary schools and 11 secondary schools across the world. Some schools have worked with all the teams, some just a few of them. The feedback from teachers has been extremely positive, particularly about the inclusion of the new older age group. This project means that the children involved are part of something global, learning about different cultures around the world and communicating with each other.

GEC logoWhile the challenge uses Microsoft products for consistency and easy management, teachers can take it wherever they want to go depending on their culture, curriculum, facilities and technology. It is very versatile and not exclusive – Broadclyst sees it as a school curriculum project using Microsoft, rather than the other way around – and children certainly don’t need to have one-to-one access to computers to participate.

The 9-11 challenge is based on designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling ten different products: muffins/cookies, celebration gifts/cards, soft furnishings, pencil toppers, tablet/phone cases, jewellery, bookmarks, recycled products, key rings and smoothies.

The new 12-15 challenge is based on broader categories rather than set products, to allow older students more freedom in choosing the products they wish to bring to market. They are: technology, stationery, food, drink, cards and gifts, games and toys, education, fashion, keepsakes and ‘go green’. The challenge for these children is a much more in-depth one; they had to find a gap in the market within the chosen category and create a business plan right at the beginning.

All reports are now back from the teams, awaiting the judging in a few weeks’ time, and signup is now open for next year’s challenge on the GEC website sign-up page. All are welcome.

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