Sydney high schoolers take out ICT prize

Household security project takes out top prize at first awards ceremony held by ACS and NICTA

A group of Sydney high school students have been awarded the first Young Australian Innovators National ICT Prize by National ICT Australia (NICTA) and the Australian Computer Society (ACS)

The winning team of Harrison Collin, Brenton Curko, Shannon Kwan and Chao Man from Newington College, will receive $2500 prize money and a two-week internship with NICTA during school holidays. Their project proposal, focussing on automated household security, used sensors to trigger a video recording, stored on a computer in the home.

The team began the design outline in December 2009 and submitted the project before June 2010.

NICTA’s director of education, Tim Hesketh, told Computerworld Australia that the project’s idea has potential for commercial development, however said the step from the prototype design to commercialisation requires “a hell of a lot of work”.

The second prize of $1500 was taken out by a team from Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Victoria, with a Bluetooth messaging system for schools.

The $1000 third prize was awarded to the student team from Patrician Brothers College in Sydney for their 3D animation project highlighting the needs of animals.

There was also a highly commended award, won by a team of girls at North Sydney Girls High School.

According to Hesketh, there wasn’t a huge amount of entries as it is the first year the program has run. However, he said the standard of the projects entered was “very high”.

“I was encouraged by the variety of concepts the students presented, from sophisticated animation proposals and online games based on Arduino board programming, to the Bluetooth communications proposal that won first place," Hesketh said.

ACS chief executive officer, Bruce Lakin, said the award was in place to nurture the next generation of ICT professionals.

“It is great that we have the support of leading schools to promote the prize to their students. ICT offers a diverse range of career opportunities for young people,” Lakin said.

The prize was launched last year during National ICT Careers Week to encourage high school students to consider careers in ICT.

Hesketh said there has been a gradual improvement in the interest of ICT programs in universities, including a greater numbers of women, which bodes well for the future ICT industry workforce.

“The abilities and ideas displayed in this competition show great promise for the future of ICT as a ubiquitous discipline,” he said.

As reported by Computerworld Australia, recruitment firms have recently predicted a looming skills shortage in the ICT industry as a result of the global financial crisis.

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Tags National ICT Australia (NICTA)australian computer society (ACS)Young Australian Innovators National ICT Prize

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