The Young ICT Explorer’s Competition

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Today I was once again a judge in The Young ICT Explorers Competition and all I can say is WOW. I was one of six judges in the years 7&8 division, we had the impossible task of trying to pick three winners from an amazing field of 18 entries. The standard of this year’s competitors was so much higher than last years that our task was ridiculous.

My team of three were totally blown away by the student’s knowledge, understanding and the sophistication of their presentations. To try and give a sense of the standard I am going to try and describe a few of the projects we saw. There were two fully functioning apps both created by students in their spare time using Apple Xcode, which had graphics built in Adobe Photoshop, one of which was already on its way to be being used by a division of Westfarmers. A 3D maze game, totally programmed in native code, with characters built in Adobe After Effects and then imported into studio quality 3D motion software. And a rubbish bin programmed to display a message when filled with rubbish, created using sophisticated electronics more suitable to a university project.

I came away feeling both elated and scared. Scared because I wonder, if 14 year old students are creating projects like this in their spare time, just what are teachers doing to keep them motivated in the classroom? And yet elated as one day we can hope that some of our world’s problems will be solved by bright minds like these.

Once again The Young ICT Explorers Competition delivered much. Yes there were prizes for a few lucky entrants. But listening to the students sell their projects to us I knew that for all of them, the day was an amazing validation of all their effort and hard work.

Thank you SAP and The Young ICT Explorers team, see you next year!

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3 comments

  1. Totally agree – our judgment decision was so hard – so many great projects.
    See you next year as well

  2. Amanda

    I agree. The standard was incredible. I was based in the Junior division of the competition. The level of thought and time that went into these projects was amazing. The students were so proud of their creations and you could tell that the learning had come from the fact that they owned the projects completely. From the beginning ideas to the programs used to build them to the content and display. I also worry about how we can keep engaging our students if this is their standard of learning outside the classroom. Why are we holding them back inside the classroom? Food for thought!

  3. Hi! I’m Michelle from the University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, USA. I commented last week and said that I was assigned your blog in my Microcomputing Systems class, or EDM310 as we call it. So for this week I read your latest blog post. While reading about the presentations the students you judged created, I was blown away. I couldn’t imagine creating such mind simulating technology. It really does raise the question of what are their teachers doing in the classroom to keep them interested.