2019 Young ICT Explorers Competition

Rehoboth students walked away with at this year's Young ICT Explorers Competition.

Term 4 began with a memorable experience for some as 13 teams of students across Year 7 and Year 8 from Rehoboth participated in the 2019 Young ICT Explorers competition over the weekend. This is a national ICT competition in which students across Australia present their Digital Technology projects in an exhibition style and compete against one another in terms of innovation, preparation and excellence.

The day started with the first challenge – waking up early! Despite that, the students all turned up punctually, bringing along all the equipment, props and posters that they were going to bring to the ICT exhibition. Some even brought their own big monitor for display. Even up to the last minute, they were still working hard to do the best they could for the day. As we set off, we were thankful to God for the smooth traffic in the morning, allowing us ample time to set up.

As we entered the university hall, I was startled by the massive turn out. The number of participants had definitely doubled compared to last year. According to the event organisers, WA was the second largest cohort with over 199 student participants and 80 projects, represented by 21 schools.

The atmosphere was filled with excitement as the students were all eagerly preparing for their exhibit. Our students had done a marvellous job in decorating their booths presentably, each having their unique theme consistent with their ICT projects.

The Year 7s had made some interesting interactive apps targeted to solve some real-life problems. Some examples included education apps teaching various subjects to people in need, information apps on disasters or and survival skills, apps to keep track of fitness and apps that identify rude texts and suggest appropriate expressions. The Year 8s had made remote-controlled robots that could either participate in rescue missions or as future mode of transport that could travel both on land and water.

Following the welcoming ceremony, the students began showcasing their ICT projects in a massive exhibition filled with students, teachers, industrial partners and parents. Our students were professional, patient and gracious in their approach as they explained their projects to the visitors. From the facial expressions of the visitors, I could tell how impressed some of the parents and students were when they realised what our students had accomplished.

One of our parents, Mr van der Kooy, commented, “I attended the event and was blown away by the quality of the concepts that students from our school (and others) had developed. The technical complexity of the projects was very humbling for an old bloke like me for whom coding is like hieroglyphics. I had to keep reminding myself that this work was being completed by Year 7s and Year 8s!”

Part of the exhibition also involved students presenting their ICT projects to a panel of judges, explaining the real-world problems they were solving. They also needed to answer a series of questions from the judges to demonstrate their depth of knowledge around the problems, and their preparedness. Our students were phenomenal in showcasing their Digital Technology projects. They impressed the judges, teachers, parents and other their peers with their confidence, innovation, presentation skills and even their mannerisms. The judges shared with me that they really had a hard time deciding the winners among the age category in which we were represented.

Another parent observed, “The students’ presentation skills were outstanding – speaking confidently to the judges as well as adults and students from other schools to explain their projects. The use of other technology like videos and PowerPoint presentations reinforced and explained the concepts very well.” This parent also commented how he appreciate opportunities like this for students to practise their presentation skills, which is indeed a very important skill in the working world.

Rehoboth Christian College eventually walked away with the 2nd and 3rd placings in the event. Congratulations to Georgia Strickling, Alexandra Verkerk and Isabeau van der Kooy for obtaining the 2nd placing with their project named “Flood Flash,” involving a flood rescue robot that could participate in rescue missions searching for victims trapped in floods. Congratulations also to Akira Hunter, Samuel Santosh and Paul-Joash Gweja for achieving the the 3rd placing with their Photosynthesis app that made remote monitoring and controlling of gardens possible.

The full official winners list can be found here and videos can be found here. And you can view the winners being announced below (Year 7-8 starts at 30secs):

Another parent, Mrs Lobaugh, commented about the event: “Karianne was inspired and started coding another app as soon as she got home! It’s great for the kids to have something like this to work towards and also to inspire them as they see what other kids come up with, too. As a parent I don’t have much clue about coding so I am very grateful that she gets to learn it at school and gets to see the good uses of technology, since it will play a big part in her future for sure! Thank you again!”

Some interesting facts

The Foundation for Young Australians estimated that in 2030 Australians will spend almost 100% more time problem solving and 77% more time using maths and Science in jobs than they do now (Careers with STEM Magazine)

“Combining problem solving and coding skills with a passion for those global challenges results in programs and technology that impact millions of people” – Marie Efstatjiou (Program Manager, Google Australia)

Let's hear what the students had to say

“I really enjoyed the ICT Competition! It was not only fun but we were able to express our ideas to other schools and the judges in a creative way that made them enjoy it. The experience was great and the judges were really nice and the feedback that they gave was encouraging and helpful” – Nala (Year 7)

“I believe that the ICT Young Explorers Competition was very beneficial for us, as we not only had a fun time exploring the other projects, we also learned more about how ICT could affect the world in many different ways” – Samuel (Year 7)

“I want to thank God for giving humans the knowledge to use and invent IT to help us in many ways. I want to thank Him for the opportunity for us to come up with this idea and go to a competition and practice our skills in areas of IT. I also want to thank God for putting us in a team together where we work really well and we can achieve the result of coming 2nd, and give glory to Him.

I learnt that when it comes to IT and project design it’s not all about the finished result – it is often about your understanding of your issue, you’re idea to solve it, the design process you went through to produce the project and the presentation of your issue, your resolution, and the design process. The prototype is only there to illustrate your solution and design process and is not always the centre of attention in your project.

I think it was really encouraging to see all the Rehoboth teams supporting and encouraging each other, I think it really reflects the Christian school we are in to see that we are not focusing on winning above caring for one another” – Isabeau (Year 8)

“We had a fun experience and it was a great opportunity to think of digital technology as a career. We had fun making our idea and producing everything for the day… All the organising… was incredible and overall, the whole Rehoboth team, winners or not, had a great day out” – Alexandra (Year 8)

“The Digi-Tech event was very interesting and fun. I enjoyed explaining to people how our app worked and setting up our table for the judges. I would love to go there again” – Zena (Year 7)

“The competition was quite good and I enjoyed it. I liked looking at other people’s designs. I would love to come back next year” – Chloe (Year 7)

“I think the ICT competition was really good and I loved how our school had the opportunity to go” – Joanna (Year 7)

“I think it was really good. I really enjoyed presenting to the judges. I think it was very smart in the way that the organizers laid out the schedule, and I had lots of fun” – Karianne (Year 7)

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