Cudgegong Valley Public School team 'The Agency' was a grand finalist in the Department of Education's 2020 Game Changer Challenge, and while the local students may not have claimed the top prize, they've maintained the record of a CVPS team making it all the way to the decider in every year of the NSW-wide competition.
The annual design-thinking competition challenges the teams of students to develop ideas to solve the real-world problem of "how might we use technology to bring everyone in our community closer together?" And while such a solution would be the perfect remedy for the separation resulting from lockdown, the challenge was actually issued prior to the COVID pandemic.
A total of 84 teams participated in seven virtual semifinals held throughout October and November. Which was whittled down to 14 grand finalist teams across the junior and senior categories vying for the coveted title of Game Changer Challenge 2020 champions.
'The Agency' - CVPS Year 6 students Phoebe Warton, Eve Baldiston, George Kelly, Lance Speakman, and Toby Turner - booked their spot for the big day in the Junior category by taking out the West and Far West regional semi-final. A feat that put them into the top-seven of the state.
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Their idea to use technology to bring people together was Virtual Artificial Intelligence for Families (VAIFF). The concept was to create a way to experience family memories and traditions through a virtual reality headset, by using AI technology to convert photos, videos, family members' story recounts, and voice recordings.
For this year each team delivered a video pitch, due to this year's competition being held virtually in response to COVID-19 restrictions. A judging panel of industry and education experts selected the winners, which were announced during Tuesday's live stream.
The Agency relished the opportunities that came from taking part in the challenge and the workshops to build on their video pitches, which included getting expert advice on their ideas, friendly rivalry, and making new friends. And while Eve jokingly referred to the final result as "devastating", it was never said without a smile, such was the buzz still surrounding the team even after the event had wrapped-up.
Cudgegong Valley Public School also had the team The Valleys, whose idea was a mobile phone app that helped you find social groups in your area.
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