In the past few decades education has evolved almost beyond recognition. And it continues to do so at an incredible pace.
But with such tremendous change comes a proportionate degree of turbulence. While technology is playing an important in education, the danger is we end up forgetting the fundamental pillars that underpin this profession.
In any industry, innovation should always be human-centric – focussed on how technology can help change people’s lives rather than the nuts and bolts that make it up. But this is particularly important in education, which has a knock-on effect on every student’s life and the entire economy.
At Fujitsu we want to focus on was how we can close the gap between education and employment and inspire a generation through technology. We want to raise aspirations and create opportunities for young people while overcoming some of the challenges around social mobility.
That’s why we’ve launched our Operation Innovation competition alongside our partners Intel, Brocade and Kyocera: to help provide students with real-world commercial experience and opportunities, but also to give them a chance to interact with technology first-hand and be enthused by it.
Here’s what the competition involves…
We’re tasking students aged 16 and over from our Education Ambassador establishments across the UK with developing a proof of concept around the internet of things (IoT) – asking them to come up with a way to solve a real-world problem using IoT technology.
The problem can sit within one of three sectors: education, utilities or manufacturing – all industries in which IoT is already beginning to have a significant impact.
We hosted the official kick-off for the competition last Friday, attended by 60 participants from our education ambassador establishments – made up of education leaders and their teams of students.
The teams heard about the project in-depth and had the opportunity to participate in an IoT technology showcase session led by our Offering Management Director for Global IoT and Innovation, James Maynard. The first project module goes live this week
Why are we running it?
IoT is an extremely fast-growing area of technology, and will continue to be in the coming years.
But while it’s already beginning to have an impact on education, it still has some way to go before being fully adopted.
That said, from a digital skills perspective we expect students who have experience in IoT and other digital technologies will find a huge number of career opportunities available to them.
This is the idea behind our competition: arming students with the digital skills and knowledge now that will help them excel in the future.
But in addition to technical skills, we also want to help them develop softer abilities such as teamwork and presentation skills. These are extremely important traits that when coupled with digital know-how will give these students a massive head start as they enter the working world.
At the end of the project on 11th November there will be a finals day at the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park.
Ten finalists will present their proofs of concept to our panel of judges, and the winning team will be flown to Munich to attend our Fujitsu Forum event on 16th and 17th November. They’ll also be given a tour of our Fujitsu Labs HQ and have the chance to present their concept to our chief technology officer Dr. Joseph Reger!
But more importantly than any of that, the winning team’s idea may actually go on to become a real-world innovation. Something they imagined may end up having an impact on real people’s lives. A tremendously exciting prospect for any young student!
It’s a fantastic and rare opportunity for all entering the competition to gain the kind of learning only possible when education and industry come together in this way.
The winning team and two runners up will also have the opportunity to carry out work experience at Fujitsu and our competition partners Intel, Brocade and Kyocera. They will also receive dedicated mentoring from the organisations to help prepare them in taking the next steps from education into employment.
Good luck to all those taking part!
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