Finding creative software solutions for social issues

Targeted at Years 7 to 10, students, Friday’s hackathon was aimed at inspiring young and budding technologists, young designers and entrepreneurs. Photo supplied

Teachers, industry experts, volunteers and more than 160 students from different colleges participated in the annual BizTech Labs Competition at the Botany Downs Secondary College.

Targeted at Years 7 to 10, students, Friday’s hackathon (technology competition) was aimed at inspiring young and budding technologists, designers and entrepreneurs to solve current social issues by integrating technology with different domains of interests.

The interschool competition was organised by enterprising 19-year-old Wei-Yen Chan, president of Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Scholars Society and  BizTech’S founder.

The BizTech hackathon provided an avenue for students to learn new skills and think outside the box.

Students were immersed in ideas, design, business and technological prototyping while being mentored by industry experts and volunteers from different universities.

Some of the areas that students explored while marrying social issues with technology were mental health and wellbeing, traffic congestion around schools and educating young children on financial literacy.

BizTech hackathon at Botany Downs Secondary College was organised by 19- year- old Jackie Chann along with other volunteers. Photos supplied

“It was incredible to see so many students from various schools interested in this event where they contributed to fresh ideas on applying technology across different domains,” says Wei-Yen former head girl of Botany Downs Secondary College.

Wei-Yen, also known as Jackie Chann to her friends, says she initially targeted low-decile schools in the south-east Auckland area.

“The event promoted gender and cultural diversity, where participants from various communities learnt to collaborate in the technological field and STEM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math)-related studies and future careers,” she says.

With no entry fee, news quickly spread through the school network and there were participants from as far afield as Taupol.

Teachers who accompanied students had the opportunity to hone their skills and develop their knowledge on Microsoft’s Microbit where they learnt how to programme a robotic hand.

Hackathon results:

1st: Team Tree-Kelston Girls’ College & St Cuthbert’s College for an app that addresses mental health and wellbeing.

2nd: Team Dinero – Ormiston Junior College & Pakuranga College for creating a financial assistance app, a game that educates children on financial literacy skills.

3rd: Team Budget Buddy- Botany Downs Secondary College for a user-friendly app that teaches children about budgeting.

 

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