16 August 2010

Young people are often nagged for spending too much time on computers and other gadgets, but this month their technological skills were challenged and rewarded at a Young ICT Explorers judging event.

The University of Queensland (UQ) played host to the competition where about 150 school students stunned judges and visitors with the wide variety and sophistication of their information and communications technology (ICT) projects.

Students from as far as Cairns competed in teams in three age categories across years four to 12.

Awarded projects included complex websites, computer games, iPhone applications, 3D graphics and robots.

Students of the winning teams received iPods, as well as an iPad for the class room.

The Physics Engine designed by Jason Tapinos, Peter Fotinis, Michael Henderson and Nathan Woodrow from Villanova College took the prize in the Year 10-12 category.

“The Young ICT Explorers Event was an absolute joy to be at and the team from Villanova was thrilled to win the event,” Villanova teacher Kathryn Duncan said.

Young ICT Explorers was created to foster the development of information and communications technology skills in school students due to its increasing importance to society.

The Head of UQ’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Professor Paul Strooper, said the demand for ICT professionals was growing, so it was vital to develop student interest in this diverse and ever-changing profession.

“It was fascinating to see what the students had been working on and to show them the huge range of opportunities available in ICT," he said.

“Young ICT Explorers is a brilliant way to showcase the ICT ideas of young people and to connect them with ICT professionals working in the field,” Professor Strooper said.

The event was organised through a partnership between UQ and business software vendor SAP Australia, with further support from NICTA and the Queensland Society for Information Technology in Education. ICT professionals also acted as project judges.

Head of SAP Research for the Asia Pacific and Japan regions Adjunct Professor Karsten Schulz said the event exceeded his expectations.

“I’m delighted with the enthusiasm we’ve had from both teachers and students with a variety of interests,” Mr Schulz said.

Young ICT Explorers will become an annual event and encourages and inspires students to get involved and pursue careers in the world of ICT.

For more information about the winning projects see below or the competition website: www.youngictexplorers.net.au and navigate to ‘Past Events’.

You can download a group photo and photos of all winning teams at: http://dropbox.eait.uq.edu.au/uqccame7/images/

Media and photo enquiries: Charlotte Camerer on 0435 055 304 / (07) 3365 2382 or at c.camerer@uq.edu.au
Caption for prize presentation photos:
(Student name), 1st/2nd/3rd Prize in Year 4-6/7-9/10-12 and Professor Paul Strooper (UQ), Dr Karsten Schulz (SAP) and Dr Ricky Robinson (NICTA)

Winning teams:

1st place: ICT Aeroplanes
AB Paterson College: Lucas Dugdale, Nicholas Bassett
ICT Aeroplanes is a combination of an informative power point presentation and some interactive games on aeroplanes. The games include dragging words in the correct place, matching memory cards, and directing a plane using the arrow keys. A fun way to learn about aeroplanes!

2nd place: Chane & Elizabeth Website
Good News Lutheran School: Chane Botha, Elizabeth Chai
Chane & Elizabeth Website is a website that contains several stop frame animations, which are uploaded to Weebly. The animations were made using Photobooth, iPhoto, Garageband and Quicktime. The website can be found under: www.eccb.weebly.com

3rd place: Dr Who Website
Silkwood School: Reilly Mckenzie-Cree
The Dr Who Website is a blog on a TV show called “Dr Who”. It was made using artister and word press. The blog can be found under: www.reillymackenziecree.com


1st place: Extra added sugar
Silkwood School: Chiara Gonzalez, Claire McInally, Taylah Gibson, Bella Woolard
Extra added sugar is a blog that that contains “extra sweet” information ranging from “inspiring quotes” to “hot new stuff” and “best youtube videos”. The visitor is invited to interact by writing a comment on the website or on the ranking of the best youtube videos. The blog can be visited under the following link: http://extraaddedsugar2.edublogs.org/

2nd place: School Tools App
Citipointe Christian College: Jordan Hankins, Beau Hankins, David Lucha
The School Tools App is an iPhone application developed using Xcode and iPhone SDK. It is a school timetable that is designed to help students with their time management.

3rd place: St Laurence’s College Grounds
St Laurence’s College: Daniel Tosoni, Ben Quail, Gianni Guardala
St Laurence’s College Grounds is a half life based 3D campus map that was designed with the help of map creating software.


1st place: Physics Engine
Villanova College: Jason Tapinos, Peter Fotinis, Michael Henderson, Nathan Woodrow
The Physics Engine was designed to combine two elements of everyday life, physics and technology, in order to enable programmers to calculate different events when creating applications. The Physics Engine was created using HTML and JavaScript and is able to follow extensive laws of physics such as conservation of kinetic energy, collision and projectile motion.

2nd place: Miworld
Mansfield State High School: Abdul Obeid, Gihan Ranatunga, Matthew Nassif
Miworld is a 3D computer game for kids between six and 15 years that was created with Gamemaker 7.0 to 8.0 pro editions. The objective is to steer a 3D based character called “Mypock” along stages whilst trying to collect tokens.

3rd place: Rubbish Pickeruppera
Indooroopilly State High School: Caillan Hoole
The Rubbish Pickeruppera is a robot designed to address litter problems in public places. It has two sensors that help identify rubbish and picking it up. It is also supposed to keep people from littering in the first place by emitting a high pitched beep when finding a piece of litter.

Competing schools: AB Paterson College, Brisbane Girls Grammar, Calamvale Community College, Citipointe Christian College, Clayfield College, Good News Lutheran School, Indooroopilly State High School, Mansfield State High School, Marist College Ashgrove, Nambour Christian College, Nyanda State High School, Queensland Academy for Creative Industries, Queensland Academy of Science Mathematics and Technology, Silkwood School, Springwood State School, St Andrew’s Anglican College, St Laurence’s College, St Monica’s College and Villanova College.