2020 Game Changer Challenge

In 2020, our game changers answered the question 'How might we use technology to bring everyone in our community closer together?'

Our 2020 junior champions were Maroubra Junction Public School and Yagoona Public School named People's Choice winner.

Our 2020 senior champions were Bossley Park High School and Young High school named People's Choice winner.

Read more about the winners in our news story.

Video - Grand final announcement

Duration: 13:43

Watch the Game Changer Challenge 2020 grand final announcement to find out more about our winning teams.

Watch the Game Changer Challenge Grand final video.

Students in unison

Game changing idea!

Murray Hurps


April Morley

Sometimes I would sit on the beach in my school holidays...

Professor Sarah Johnson

It's a very big problem, help people recover from stroke.

Matt Thomas

Congratulations to all of the 2020 Game Changer contestants.

Eddie Woo

I heard your voices, I was so excited about what you're doing today.

Brian Dargan

Go, go, go! Let's start unboxing.

On-screen text

Game Changer Challenge 2020

Grand Final!

Joachim Cohen

Hello everyone and welcome to the Game Changer Challenge 2020 grand final.

My name is Joachim Cohen and I work for the Technology For Learning team right here at the NSW Department of Education.

We're coming to you today, live from Game Changer Challenge judging headquarters here in Sydney.

And to begin I'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land from which I'm broadcasting today, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and pay my respect to elders past, present and emerging.

Today is the culmination of a long journey for hundreds of students and teachers across the state who have been part of this year's Game Changer Challenge. In one of the most unprecedented years in the history of New South Wales public education. At the beginning of 2020, when we set our schools the wicked problem to solve this year's challenge, nearly one in ten schools had been affected by bush fires and floods. Then followed the COVID-19 pandemic. And we all had to learn new ways of working and learning.

So too, with the Game Changer Challenge as we had to rethink this exciting opportunity in an era of social distancing. But with the support of schools, teachers, students and our amazing partners in the community we reinvented Game Changer Challenge as a colossal virtual design thinking programme. And 10 months later, here we are, just moments from the finish line.

With everything we have faced this year it turns out our wicked problem was rather on point: “How can we use technology to bring our communities closer together?” A very good question.

Who solved it best? We're here to find out.

But first, what is the Game Changer Challenge and how does it work? Let's hear from the challenge supremos, Summer and Brian.

Summer Howarth

Hi Game Changers. Can you believe that we're here at the grand final? I'm so proud of the way that you took this challenge on board, how you really looked at the pace of it how you came together to come up with all sorts of solutions that could absolutely change the world for people in our community.

I think one of my most memorable moments though was how we got into our dance challenges together, how we had a lip sync battle, and of course, how we just grew together in having that shared experience and lots of fun.

Make sure you keep up that joy, make sure you keep up that energy and keep looking for opportunities to make the world a better place. Over to you, Brian.

Brian Dargan

Thank you Summer, and I hope you all recognise and realise that you're awesome at innovation; that you understand design is form and function; that you have to hold your ideas lightly; how to walk in somebody else's shoes to get empathy; that you may travel faster alone, but you get there further together and, last but not least, perfection is the enemy of done.

Joachim Cohen

What a colossal virtual event this year's challenge has been.

Two hundred and sixty-nine applications from schools all across New South Wales, telling us how they might use technology to bring their community closer together.

Our expert judging panel had the difficult task of selecting eighty four teams to complete in our first-ever semifinal event.

Four hundred and twenty students competed in seven semifinal events generating an impressive three and a half thousand ideas. Wow!

We had seventeen judges watch the eighty-four live pitches to select our fourteen grand finalists. And soon we'll announce our Champions and People's Choice award winners.

And now the moment you've all been waiting for! Drum roll, please.

There are two categories of award winners today. First, the People's Choice award or popular vote and second, the judge's choice. One junior, one senior team. Who will be crowned the Game Changer Challenge 2020 Champions?

In addition to the kudos you will receive plus your magnificent trophies, our teams will be taking home some fantastic prizes that are being provided by our wonderful Game Changer 2020 partners.

All our award winning teams will receive a Forbo interactive floor mat that draws on technology to trigger augmented reality. Wow!

And a prize pack from Lumination valued at $450 which includes an Astrobot Robot Kit, a Merge Cube to manipulate and inspect digital 3D objects plus a Lumination VR headset. So you can travel the world without having to leave the classroom.

And our junior Game Changer Challenge champions will also receive a Makerspace Trolley from IntraSpace, a customizable trolley that comes complete with different tray combinations, hooks, and bins to collaborate, invent, design, build, and prototype and use all those amazing skills you already have.

Our senior champions will also receive a tailored package from our very own Catalyst Lab.

There are some great prizes there which I'm sure our winners will love. Not only that, for the first time in Game Changer history we'll be talking to our partners to see how we can turn the winning ideas into a reality. Stay tuned.

Now it's time to introduce you to our Game Changer Challenge 2020 grand finalists.

Starting with our grand finalists in the junior category, Cudgegong Valley Public School with their virtual artificial intelligence for families. Is it smart enough?

Tamworth Public School with Technoframe. Have they built the best solution?

Maroubra Public School with the Social Web. Are they going to catch the judges?

Sturt Public School with their Stress Chip, has it chilled the judges?

Yagoona Public School with MediMate, an awesome solution for kids in hospital.

Gresford Public School with the Digital Transport Friend, does the Yellow Brick Road lead to them?

Alstonville Public School with Emala the empathy koala. That name sure is catchy.

And now our senior grand finalists.

Menindee Central School with their Kids Connect app. Will it keep the judges company?

Armidale Secondary College with Smart Navigation Scooter and H.E.L.P. device. Will it carry our judges away?

Rose Bay Secondary College with Dementia Earbuds. Wow! Such a needed solution.

Young High School with their Shareskill app. Did they build for success?

Bossley Park High School with their community garden and interactive screen. Are they a perfect combination?

Tuggerah Lake Secondary College Tumbi Umbi campus with Life as One Festival. Will it surprise the judges?

And finally, Murwillumbah High School with their health app. Will an Apple a day send the judges their way?

Mark Scott

Hello, Game Changers, and can I say straight up, well done. This is my third year on the Game Changer judging panel, and every year I feel like the job gets a little bit harder.

We all know this has been a tough year but being part of events like this inspires me because I see our teachers, students and staff working together and making a conscious decision that nothing will stand in the way of learning.

And given what we've all experienced this year I can't think of a better problem to examine than how we can use technology to bring everyone in our community closer together.

I'm astonished by the creative and innovative solutions you've all designed and send my congratulations not only to our grand finalists, but to all of those who participated in this year's challenge.

You have taken on board, the essence of design thinking and I know you'll be able to use the skills you learned as you continue on your educational journey.

Importantly, I'd like to also urge everyone involved in this year's challenge to not see this as the end of the process. Instead, I challenge you and your teams to continue on your design thinking journey and convert your ideas into a tangible solution that will bring your communities closer together.

Joachim Cohen

Thanks Mark.

Now, without further ado, let's get down to announcing our first award.

For the first time in Game Changer history, we asked the general public to vote for their favourite idea and we received thousands of votes for our People's Choice awards. It's been a strong competition but the winner of the Junior People's Choice award is – envelope please, here we are – the winner of the Junior People's Choice award is: The Yagoona Einsteins from Yagoona Public School.

Student 1

MediMate is an AI robot that looks human in every aspect of her design. The built in AI technology allows MediMate to recognise human emotion and behave accordingly.

Joachim Cohen

Congratulations! Clearly a crowd favourite give them a round of applause. But quiet, quiet, it's time for our second award. The winner of the Senior People's Choice award is – envelope please, here we go – the winner of the Senior People's Choice award for Game Changer Challenge 2020 is: the Young Designers from Young High School.

Student 2

We, the Young Designers propose an app that allows for interconnectivity, between diverse members of the community, youth and elderly. The app is aimed to promote learning through the contribution of the users of the app.

Joachim Cohen

Congratulations! Give them a round of applause. Yet another crowd favourite.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for. Who has taken out the ultimate title of Game Changer Champions for 2020?

But first let's thank our judges, they had the most impossible task of selecting this year's winners.

The junior Game Changer Champions are – drum roll please and envelope please – the winners of the Game Changer Challenge for 2020 in the junior category are Team Phoenix from Maroubra Junction Public School. Give them a round of applause.

Student 3

SocialWeb allows students to meet their peers, meet the teachers and stroll the hallways of their future school in a supportive engaging and interesting way.

Student 4

So when you're feeling anxious and nervous about the unknowns of high school come down to SocialWeb, we're here to help.

Students together

Fly into year 7 with us.

Joachim Cohen

Quiet please, quiet please we still have one more award to announce.

Drum roll please and envelope please – here we go – our Senior Game Changer Champions for 2020 are: the Team Daily Specials from Bossley Park High School. Congratulations!

Student 5

We came up with the idea of that residents should be able to create, find and share recipes from their culture on the interactive screen, which establishes a sense of diversity. Implementing this screen will aim to remove the barrier between English speakers and refugees. This utilises technology to bring up community closer together.

Joachim Cohen

Congratulations, congratulations again not only to our winners, but to all of our Game Changers an extra special thanks to all of our teachers too.

Thank you also to everyone involved in making the Game Changer Challenge possible. To our facilitators Summer and Brian, they were awesome. To all of our amazing judges and a big thanks. To our partners and collaborators without you this wouldn't have been possible. Thanks Game Changers. See you at next year's challenge it's going to be even bigger and better.

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'Our partners' and partner logos

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NSW Government logo

End of transcript


Our fantastic judging panel for the 2020 Game Changer Challenge was comprised of industry experts and senior department representatives:

Mark Scott, Secretary
Murat Dizdar, Deputy Secretary
Cathy Brennan, A/Deputy Secretary
Murray Hurps, Director Entrepreneurship, UTS
Sarah Johnson, Professor of Engineering, University of Newcastle

2020 grand finalists

Primary schools

  • Cudgegong Valley Public School
  • Tamworth Public School
  • Maroubra Junction Public School
  • Sturt Public School
  • Yagoona Public School
  • Gresford Public School
  • Alstonille Public School

High schools

  • Menindee Central School
  • Armidale Secondary College
  • Rose Bay Secondary College
  • Young High School
  • Bossley Park High School
  • Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Tumbi Umbi Campus
  • Murwillumbah High School
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