STEM skills focus for Game Changer Challenge

Wednesday, 16 September, 2020

STEM skills focus for Game Changer Challenge

Students across NSW are using design thinking skills to explore tangible solutions for a real-world problem in the 2020 Game Changer Challenge.

This year’s event will be delivered online, with seven semifinals culminating in a grand final. The 84 primary and secondary student teams aim to solve the following real-world problem: how might we use technology to bring everyone in our community closer together?

Student applications covered COVID-19 restrictions, including innovative ways to social distance and sanitise; cutting-edge technology like aerial transport systems; and new ways to ease social isolation, combat racism and build community for people with disability.

NSW Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott said today’s students will solve the great challenges of the future.

“To flourish in this world they will need to be deep thinkers, critical and reflective, empathetic and creative,” he said.

“The Game Changer Challenge aims to highlight and develop these future-focused skills.”

Student teams were judged into the semifinals by a panel of Department of Education executives and design thinking and STEM advisers. The judges were looking for the design thinking trifecta of desirability, feasibility and viability in the students’ applications.

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to solving complex problems, with empathy and collaboration at the heart of the process.

The five-step process starts by encouraging problem-solvers to walk in the shoes of those experiencing the ‘problem’ to gain a deeper insight into the challenges and issues they face (empathy).

This knowledge is then used to develop a clear problem statement (define), work on solutions (ideate), turn these solutions into tangible products (prototype) and then see whether the solution will work (test).

The teams selected for the 2020 Game Changer Challenge will attend an intensive workshop in the semifinals from 27 October to 13 November, where they will learn and apply the design thinking process to build on their video application.

They will be guided through the process by expert facilitators and a series of videos produced with thought leaders in technology and innovation.

The winners of the seven semifinals will be judged in a virtual grand final event for the title of 2020 Game Changer Challenge Champion on 1 December.

Visit the Game Changer Challenge webpage for the full list of semifinalists.

Image credit: © studio

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