Update from ITPNZ
Here's a quick weekly update from ITP CEO Paul Matthews
What an amazing day yesterday was, as all of the Regional Winners of the Tahi Rua Toru Tech challenge in schools descended on TSB Arena in Wellington for the national finals!
It was a totally packed day, with judging occurring during the day plus Gamefroot game development workshops, tours around TradeMe, Te Papa, the National Library and elsewhere, Discovery activities and so much more.
The afternoon saw a mini-expo with the latest tech from a heap of both industry and tertiary providers. The star of the expo in my mind was the custom built life-sized BB-8 remote controlled robot zooming around (the life-sized R2-D2 didn't get as much love, but was awesome too).
So much was going on at the expo, like Weta Workshops showing off their Magic Leap Augmented Reality platform, Datacom using AI to match people's faces with a massive database of celebrities to find your doppelganger, Weltec and YooBee Colleges with both software and hardware demonstrations, and so much more. The kids and adults alike were mesmerised.
Then the finals event itself kicked off, hosted by the truly wonderful Suzy Cato. She was a star and I can attest that she is as nice in person as she is on TV - even offering to help clean up afterwards! Elf Eldridge also delivered an inspiring speech about tech, and not being afraid to break things.
And the winners were…
Regional and Rural New Zealand were the winners this year, with winning teams coming from Hāwea Flat (near Wanaka), Morrinsville, Rotorua and New Plymouth:
At the Discovery level (years 0-5), Hāwea Flat School's Team Happy Hawea took out the title, completing the challenges in the fastest time. It came down to split-seconds in the end and was hotly contested this year!
Morrinsville Intermediate's Team Thunderbolts took out the First Challenge (years 6-8), creating an app game to encourage fitness by getting the user to move around Morrinsville to scan QR codes whilst seeing the 'Herd of Cows' (sculptures) on display within their town.
John Paul College's Team ShumbaLeon won the Secondary level (years 9-10), created a website showcasing cultural diversity in their school and a platform for students to share their own stories and culture with other students.
And Sacred Heart Girls College, New Plymouth's Team Red took out Senior Secondary (years 11-13), creating a medication box that sends bluetooth messages to your phone to remind you to take your medication, and has a motion sensor and lock and software designed to reduce under or overdosing.
As part of the National Finals, the Digital Technologies Teachers Aotearoa (DTTA) and ITPNZ recognised another influential teacher who has made a huge difference to digital tech. Last year it was Gerard MacManus, and this year the Ali Chivers Teacher Influence Award went to Julie MacMahon from St Hilda's Collegiate School in Dunedin.
I've known Julie for several years, working with her on bringing about the changes to the Digital Technologies curriculum. She's an inspiring and energetic teacher who contributes so much to her students and their profession. A very worthy choice.
An incredible day and many incredible teams really making a difference. And if last year is anything to go by, they're not going to stop now - many will continue to refine their creations and go on to do bigger and better things as a direct result of the Challenge.
We had a huge team of volunteers who helped on the day, from our branch committee (especially Brad Cooper - thanks Brad!), our judging panels who worked tirelessly all day, and an army of students from Whitecliffe ComputerPower Plus and Whitireia. They worked with our awesome Operations Team, ably led by Joy Keene, to pull it all together - an amazing job. Thanks so much to everyone who helped make it such a success.
ICT Qualification changes progressing
In other news, The ICT Qualifications Steering Group met this week, to consider feedback from NZQA on the proposed changes to New Zealand's sub-degree IT qualifications.
We anticipate the new qualifications being submitted to NZQA to be listed by the end of the year and being progressively rolled out over the next 2-3 years across New Zealand.
Speaking of the qualifications ,congratulations also go to Unitec this week, the first institution to be approved by NZQA to teach the NZ Diploma in Cybersecurity.
This qualification was developed last year by ITPNZ and NZQA following industry demand, and it's great that Unitec and others will be teaching the next generation of security experts.
So yes, very much a celebratory week this one!
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