The third annual High School Innovation Challenge closed off today on the ITVET compound after three days of fine tuning and presentation of project ideas to a panel of judges around the theme, technology and education. Love News has been reporting on this event for the last three years and as you may know, the competition is open to secondary schools in the Belize District as a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Education, Peacework and Price Waterhouse Coopers. Earlier today we caught up with Lia Fleur of Peacework.
“Yeah it’s been great, we’ve spent the last two days with the students and their teachers as well as some local business mentors and they’ve been working on refining their presentation skills, their power point presentations as well as their executive summaries on their ideas so they’ve had a really good time in the last couple of days and they are presenting to a panel of judges all today so we’re excited to see what they come up with. We have a few that have already gone some we’re still waiting to hear from but a lot of them revolve around technology and education and how to use things like tablets or computers in the classrooms, ways they can keep students more engaged, teachers more engaged, maybe e books so those are the things that we’ve been seeing this morning. This is our third year of the high school innovation challenge.
The selection of the winning entry in this year’s competition was based on several points as Fleur explained with judges being Louana Sosa, Melissa Perrera, Nilda Riveroll and Rose Bradley.
“Every student must speak, they must have a speaking part on the presentation, they’re looking at the quality of the presentation, the quality of the power point, the quality of the idea, how innovative it really is and what the steps and the research and background is that they students put into their ideas. Then they win big prizes and we are also working to figure out what our next steps are so we are going to help them take their ideas to the next level and hopefully implement them either at the school level, the Minister spoke this morning and said that he is going to look over all of their ideas so hopefully something in the Ministry will also be implemented for these students.”
Placing first for the second consecutive year is Ocean’s Academy from San Pedro Town followed by San Pedro High School and in third place was Ladyville Technical High School while honorary mentions were given to four participants.
The winners will be getting laptops and further assessments of their project with possible funding to enhance it.
Ocean Academy Wins the 3rd Annual High School Innovation Challenge
There is a repeat winner in the annual Innovation in Education Challenge which took place today at the ITVET in Belize City. Seventeen high schools from the Belize District competed. In the end, Ocean Academy swayed the judges for a second year in a row with their creative solutions to enhance the education system. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Innovation in Education; that was the theme of the third annual High School Innovation Challenge, for which final presentations were held today at the ITVET Belize City Campus. The idea is to provide a forum and opportunity for secondary school students in Belize to present youth-led solutions to challenges present in their communities.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
“I am particularly pleased that this year’s subject or matter upon which these presentations will be built, is to suggest to particularly me as I understand it as Minister of Education, new and innovative ways of educating our young people from your perspective, from your eyes. And it is very important in today’s day and age that we give you as the young persons who are primarily the beneficiaries of the gift of education in this country an opportunity to make your plug to decide or to share in the decision making what it is you want to see as we try to deliver a quality education to you.”
Lia Flur, Director of Corporate Engagement, Peacework International
“The teams are formed from their high schools, so they compete in an in school competition first and this is the finals. So the students have been working on their ideas for a couple of months now. It is really exciting to see their final ideas come to life this week.”
Since February, teachers have been working with students in developing a project that incorporates the theme that could be easily put into practice. Leading up to today’s event, professionals from the U.S. based, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Peacework International would work along with the teams to finalize the innovative ideas. So what were the judges looking for?
“They are looking for a couple of things. One is the quality of their presentation; how well spoken it is, how they are presented, what their idea is. The core of what their presentation is is obviously very important. Teamwork, collaboration and how innovative their ideas really are. We are hoping to give them the voice. We want them to believe that they have the ability to implement change, to suggest various ideas; they are the ones who are in the classrooms learning at this current moment in time. There are teachers, administrators and even the Ministry of Education always looking for new ideas and this is their chance to do that. And I think it also gives them a really good chance to also gain a lot of confidence; presentation skills, public speaking…this is a great experience for them.”
After hours of presentations from seventeen high schools from across the Belize District, Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy Team wins for a second year in a row with its Ubuntu Applied Learning Program.
Ashtasia Ovado, Ocean Academy
“Applied learning is what we did at school but we did it different because we implement different things in there in order to get the interest and figure out a career goal for the youths of today. We did this because we figured out that by applying our applied learning class in a website and we bring them together, kids will have a greater opportunity to be in love with education.”
Taking second place were the students from San Pedro High School with Destination Tomorrow.
Jansessa Sierra, Student, San Pedro High School
“We had ten ideas that we wanted to incorporate into the educational system, but our main goal was having practical and realistic student centered learning environment. Some of the needs were that teachers don’t really understand that other kids learn at other paces and different ways. So that was one of our main things; like project based learning, peer learning, classroom zones and things like that. Technology was one of them as well.”
Back in 2014, at its inception, Ladyville Technical High School won the innovation challenge. In 2015, they won third place in the competition. Today, LTHS Team Change captured turn place once again.
Addison Neal, Ladyville Technical High School
“Our project enabled different aspects. We looked at the nutrition of children and the use of technology, which I am sure you have seen. We didn’t come planning to change the educational system, but to enhance it, making the experience for both teacher and student better.”
“So how does that work? How is it that you guys tackle this issue?”
“One aspect we looked at was proximity and social issues overall and this is where we plan to enable things such as learning management systems and long distance learning to cater for students who are not able to come to school because of different ailments.”
The members of the top three winning groups all received tablets, while the schools got a laptop. Duane Moody for News Five.