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Game Changer Challenge finalists announced

Cheers of jubilation were echoing from Broken Hill to the wards of Sydney Children's Hospital as the finalists in the 2019 Game Changer Challenge were announced.

A group of children in school uniform leap into the air

Up for a challenge . . . Cudgegong Valley Public School students after hearing they had made the Game Changer final.

Cudgegong Valley Public School will have the chance to defend its title as 2018 Game Changer Challenge winners after securing a place in the 2019 Challenge in August.

The Department of Education today announced the 18 schools  – nine teams each from NSW public primary and secondary schools ­– that will take part in the finals of the Game Changer Challenge, to be held in Sydney during Education Week from August 5 to 9.

The finalists were selected from 100 entries across the state and were based on a 60-second video application outlining the teams' ideas on how we might humanise technology.

Among this year’s finalist is a team from the Sydney Children’s Hospital School at Randwick.

School principal Lisa Shortland said the school was absolutely thrilled to have made the finals.

“At our school experiences for the students outside the hospital is fairly limited,” she said. “Also because the Challenge is part of Education Week, which is a statewide initiative, it is a chance for our kids and important for them to be part of something bigger than the school.”

The team at Burke Ward Public School in Broken Hill was also thrilled to have reached the final 18.

Principal Karen Canning said the school and students were “beyond excited”.

She said entering the Challenge had been a worthwhile experience already.

“For the children and the teacher it’s been a real experience in working with a wide range of ideas and collaborating with people that aren’t necessarily their friends to create a team,” Ms Canning said.

“They are really excited about what they have achieved as a team and that they are going as a team to Sydney.”

Cudgegong Valley Public School principal Michelle Neaverson-Smith said the school's team for the 2019 competition was aware it had big shoes to fill.

Mrs Neaverson-Smith said when she told the students they had been successful “they all screamed, cheered and cried, they were so excited”.

She said the school had asked students to submit an expression of interest to be part of the Game Changer Challenge team and had more than 40 applications.

The ‘Cudgegong Crusaders’ will join the other 17 finalists for a three-day, intensive design-thinking workshop in Sydney.

The workshop includes teacher training in the use of design thinking as a teaching methodology and its application for school planning.

It will also include a team competition where schools will work under the guidance of industry professionals in fields as diverse as technology, creative design and ethics to answer the question: How might we humanise technology?

The challenge winner will be selected after a Shark Tank-style pitch to industry and education experts.

The finalists in the primary section are:

  • Oakhill Drive Public School
  • Samuel Gilbert Public School
  • South Coogee Public School
  • Kingscliff Public School
  • Mount Terry Public School
  • Alstonville Public School
  • Burke Ward Public School
  • Cudgegong Valley Public School
  • Yagoona Public School

In the secondary section finalists are:

  • Northern Beaches Secondary College, Manly Selective Campus
  • Elizabeth Macarthur High School
  • Lake Munmorah High School
  • Hurlstone Agricultural High School
  • Nimbin Central School and Kyogle High School
  • Orange High School
  • Fairvale High School
  • Armidale Secondary College
  • The Sydney Children’s Hospital School

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