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College students shine in CRISiSLab Challenge 2021

On the 10th of August, we proudly witnessed a bright future for Aotearoa New Zealand in the space of science and technology emerging from the Demonstration Day of CRISiSLab Challenge 2021.

Hosted by CRISiSLab at Massey University, twelve teams from 6 colleges in the Wellington region with over 50 students came to Massey University, Wellington campus to compete and demonstrate their knowledge and skill in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The participating colleges are Paraparaumu College, Wellington College, St Patrick’s College, Te Kura Māori o Porirua, St Mary’s College, and Taita College.

The CRISiSLab Challenge is a new technology competition concept trialled this 2021 with the six schools. The CRISiSLab Challenge aims to motivate students to apply their interests in science and technology in disaster management.

The competition challenged students to actively work with a ground motion detection sensor called Raspberry Shake. Through the ten-week challenge, the students worked with data captured by their sensors and used the data to create alerts upon reaching certain thresholds. They made their own external alerting devices and demonstrated the alerting process.

On the demonstration day, students blew us away with their brilliant performance. Everyone shared what they’ve experienced and achieved along the way. Some of them learned how to code from scratch; some of them took the challenge of trying to learn a new programming language within a limited time; all of them overcame difficulties by excellent teamwork and commitment.

Girls from St Mary’s College delivered an outstanding presentation by sharing their tough journey, and it’s amazing to see how they used their gender identity to make a difference throughout the challenge. All teams from Paraparaumu College certainly grabbed everyone’s attention with their bold, intriguing and effective alerting devices and innovation. Wellington College boys displayed their excelling coding abilities. Taita College students showed their courage to try new things. St Patrick’s College boys gave a great and humorous speech despite the result. Te Kura Māori o Porirua brought the creativity of the alerting device to the next level by wonderfully integrating the indigenous culture and modern technology.

Performance of the teams was judged based on their software coding skills, presentation and communication delivery, innovativeness, creativity as well as the effectiveness of their designed alerting devices.

We had 8 judges who have expertise in diverse research or practical backgrounds like seismology, technology and systems, programming languages, IoT (internet of things), end-users and apps relationship, hazard impact, STEM outreach, design and communication.

Awards for the Challenge included the best presentation, the best dashboard, the best alerting device, and an overall winning team. As part of the winning prizes, the winners were offered summer internships at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR) at Massey University.

Team “SheCan” from St Mary’s College and “WC Duo” from Wellington College won the best presentation. Team “Earthquack” from Paraparaumu college and “WC Duo” won the best dashboard. Te Kura Māori o Porirua won the best alerting device with a unanimous decision from all judges. And the ultimate winner of the CRISiSLab Challenge 2021 belongs to “WC Duo” from Wellington College. Congratulations!!!

We are amazed by what’s been achieved since the challenge launch day on the 24th of May and what we could bring forward in the future.

We also had incredibly positive feedback from both teachers and students as they highlighted many benefits and positives that came out from the competition, such as growing interests in science and technology, improvement in the coding skills, and even a sense of having goals to achieve before a deadline.

As the organisers of the competition, we are very impressed with all the excellent demonstrations. We were thrilled to see the very high levels of enthusiasm and dedication of the students. We would like to sincerely acknowledge the efforts and support from all teachers.

We are very grateful for all the support from the teachers. We also want to express our gratitude towards our international support from Raspberry Shake.

The CRISiSLab is a new concept trialled for the first time this year and turned out to be a huge success! This pilot event will be the cornerstone for future iterations. We are looking forward to hosting the challenge annually and there will be more schools and students getting involved in the future!

See you next year!!!



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