Let the Challenge begin

The semifinalist teams for the virtual Game Changer Challenge 2020 have been announced.

Image: The Narrangatangs from Narranga Public School in Coffs Harbour is one of 84 teams participating in this year’s Game Changer Challenge.

From all corners of NSW 420 students will use their design thinking skills to explore tangible solutions for a real world wicked problem in the 2020 Game Changer Challenge.

Hundreds of applications from NSW public schools were received for the Game Changer Challenge, which this year will be delivered as a colossal virtual event with seven semifinals culminating in a grand final.

The 84 primary and secondary student teams will aim to solve the real world problem: “How might we use technology to bring everyone in our community closer together?”

The student applications covered COVID-19 restrictions, including innovative ways to social distance and sanitise, cutting-edge technology like aerial transport systems, and new ways to ease social isolation, combat racism and build community for people with disability.

Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott said today’s students will solve the great challenges of the future.

“To flourish in this world they will need to be deep thinkers, critical and reflective, empathetic and creative,” he said.

“The Game Changer Challenge aims to highlight and develop these future-focused skills.”

The 84 student teams were judged into the semifinals by a panel of Department of Education executives and design thinking and STEM advisers. The judges were looking for the design thinking trifecta of desirability, feasibility and viability in the students’ applications.

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to solving complex problems, with empathy and collaboration at the heart of the process.

The five-step process starts by encouraging problem solvers to walk in the shoes of those experiencing the 'problem' to gain a deeper insight into the challenges and issues they face (empathy).

This knowledge is then used to develop a clear problem statement (define), work on solutions (ideate), turn these solutions into tangible products (prototype) and then see whether the solution will work (test).

The teams selected for the 2020 Game Changer Challenge will attend an intensive workshop in the semifinals from 27 October to 13 November where they will learn and apply the design thinking process to build on their video application.

They will be guided through the process by expert facilitators and a series of videos produced with thought leaders in technology and innovation.

The winners of the seven semifinals will be judged in a virtual grand final event for the title of 2020 Game Changer Challenge Champion on 1 December.

Visit the Game Changer Challenge webpage for the full list of semifinalists.

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