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Hackathon: AI for Good

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Our students have been exploring how to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) as part of the 2019 AI for Good Challenge.

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From SIRI to Tesla, the world of artificial intelligence (AI) is progressing rapidly. And after two centuries of the automation of tasks, we are now seeing the automation of decision-making. Harnessed in the right way, AI can reduce the cost of living, improve quality of life, health and wellbeing, and help to solve climate change. Put simply, AI offers unlimited possibilities for positive change and what better way to drive this than by investing in the optimism, ideas and creativity of our young people.

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More than 20 students from Years 7 to 9 entered the 2019 AI for Good Challenge, relishing the opportunity to dream up an AI solution to make the world a better place. In the process, they learnt more about AI and the ethics behind it, and tested out their creativity, entrepreneurialism, problem-solving and teamwork skills to devise innovative solutions to real world issues.

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The challenge started with a full-day Hackathon coordinated by Ms Nicole Dyson, Director of Future Learning at Education Change Makers, and overseen and supported by Digital Learning Leader, Mr Kolbe.

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Students then worked in small groups to workshop ideas around making a difference in areas they were passionate about, centred around one of the following three categories: Accessibility, Earth and Humanitarian Action.

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Students who chose Accessibility discussed concepts that could help to amplify human capability for the more than one billion people worldwide with a disability. Students who selected Earth brainstormed ideas to solve global climate issues by improving environments, or by improving the way that humans engage with nature. And for the students that were interested in Humanitarian Action, they investigated concepts to support disaster recovery, address the needs of children, protect displaced people and promote human rights.

On the day, students narrowed down their ideas before choosing one key idea to develop as a group. They provided feedback to each other and refined their thinking as they worked towards providing a solution to their chosen problem.

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Students continued to develop their ideas, ensuring that they’d outlined how their concept solves a problem, as well as addressing ethical implications and considerations that were raised in the Hackathon.

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The students submitted their concepts last week. This included: ‘BiodeGREATable’, which aims to reduce the damage that plastic has on the environment; ‘Take Me My Way’, which seeks to provide an augmented experience in shopping centres to help less able-bodied people negotiate the space, and to normalise their experience; and ‘YouAccessories’, which is an innovative way to ensure victims of domestic violence get the help they need when they need it, as well as ensuring that the data taken from these alerts is used to predict and warn women of increasingly unsafe situations.

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The AI for Good competition is a nation-wide competition and students must now wait to see if they will progress to the next round. Regardless, it has been a fantastic learning experience for both our students and teachers.