I went to the National Finals for the Young ICT Explorers competition on the weekend and, wow, are there some fabulously talented students out there. Over seventy students represented their schools and their States in the finals, which were held for the first time this year.
From devices to prevent kids being run over by reversing cars, to sophisticated student management systems, from Minecraft mods to simplified programming interfaces – the range was breathtaking. But probably even more exciting was just seeing the sheer enthusiasm of the kids involved and their joy in being able to demonstrate the things they had created to an audience of their peers. SAP, Digital Careers, and their team of sponsors, really deserve congratulations for making the whole thing happen.
If I had any wish for the event it might be that it was less of a competition and more of a showcase and that there had been an opportunity for the kids to work together on something. The brief interactions over lunch revealed a huge commonality of interest, which was no surprise, but there was no real outlet to forge bonds and friendships in the course of a competitive few hours. Having a showcase and hackathon wouldn’t cost any more to put on but would provide greater opportunities.
That said, the fact the event exists at all is great and I hope it was successful enough from the sponsors point of view that it can repeat and grow in the years to come. Certainly all the students who were there on the weekend have got bright futures ahead of them.