The Young ICT Explorers (YICTE) program, Australia’s largest invention competition for students, will be fully virtual in 2020.
The competition, now in its 11th year, also announced a new YICTE Accelerator Express with BAE Systems Australia, in partnership with The Smith Family and Junior Engineers, to upskill teachers from disadvantaged schools in using digital technologies.
YICTE is aligned with the school curriculum which enables students to apply what they learn in their ICT/Digital Technologies classroom to develop a technology related project of their choice. Students are tasked with creating something that solves any problem of their choosing, using any technology, from software to apps, robots to websites, games, or VR.
The not-for-profit competition is run by software company SAP Australia in partnership with CSIRO’s Digital Careers. It is open to schools across the country, with categories for kids from Year 3 (8-9 years old) up to Year 12 (17-18). Winners receive mentoring to develop their project further, as well as cash prizes.
The new, digital format has meant that the registration period has been extended, with the deadline for schools and students to register now August 21. Judging will be done using video conferencing technology, with participants also able to submit video entries as an alternative.
“Every year, we see incredible inventions from kids across the country with unique ideas that aim to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. With everything that has happened this year, I can’t wait to see some of the inventions the kids come up with,” said Pete Andrew, Chief Operating Officer, SAP ANZ.
“Last year we had hundreds of schools and more than 1,200 students take part, and we hope that this year will be even bigger. For the first time, students will be able to take part in the finals without attending one of the State events, so we’re hopeful more regional and rural communities will be able to get involved,” continued Mr Andrews.
In addition to the new virtual format, a new partnership with BAE Systems Australia and The Smith Family will focus on a digital accelerator scheme for teachers. The accelerator will see BAE Systems ‘Techsperts’, along with experts from Junior Engineers, run professional development workshops with The Smith Family schools teachers to train them in using Micro:bit technology which can be used for YICTE projects.
“Our investment of AUD$100,000 will help support the enormously valuable role of teachers in exciting and inspiring the next generation of problem solvers and inventors, who will be crucial to Australia’s future success,” said Brad Yelland, CTO BAE Systems Australia.
Other partners on the program include CSIRO Digital Careers, Taronga Zoo, Yellowfin, the Australian Computer Society and Universities including UNSW, Deakin, James Cook University, The University of Queensland, University of Tasmania, the University of South Australia and the University of Canberra.
Schools can register to take part here.