On 28th September 2016, Roedean hosted the sixth IT Showcase, the second time that it has been held at our school. Matric IT students spend much of the year planning and developing individual IT projects, and the showcase affords the top students an opportunity to demonstrate their PATs, and compete for exciting prizes. This year, we had 27 competitors. Interestingly, the majority of the projects this year were games, ranging from new takes on traditional games such as Chess and Hangman, to fighter and Arcade games, and a farming simulation. Real world applications included a sports activity tracker, a stable management system, a 3D modeller and a medical database.
The 2016 Prize Winners
An important objective of the Showcase is to generate excitement about IT as a subject and as a career. Visitors, parents, staff and pupils from many schools in the area were able to interact with the competitors and view their projects. Once again, we were overwhelmed by the fantastic support given us by the Roedean community, both from private donations and from our suppliers and partners. Telkom, as well as providing extremely generous sponsorship, set up their Bolt stand, which showcased both their internet offering and the rAge gaming show which they sponsor, as well as providing popcorn and slushies - a big hit with the students! Mediro sponsored the competitor t-shirts which read “Home is where the wifi connects automatically”, while their partners Canon and PalmSecure displayed interesting and extremely relevant products such as state-of-the-art printers, tablet solutions and a biometric scanner that reads the veins of one’s palm. Gentron sponsored a tablet and Canon a digital camera as prizes, while Toshiba provided gift bags for our judges. Microsoft, Google, Think Ahead, Dariel and SchoolNet South Africa each contributed to the competitors’ goody bags and to spot prizes which visitors could win by entering a fun logic quiz run on iPads by our IT Students. We were delighted by the significant number of female students from other schools that visited the Showcase, and look forward to seeing an increase in female competitors in the next few years.
The projects were judged by six judges from top academic and professional IT institutions. Chief judge Tony Parry is the CEO of the Institute of IT Professionals SA; Warren Larken is on the leadership team for Microsoft South Africa’s BizSpark initiative for entrepreneurs; Leslie Price is the manager of the Microsoft AppFactory; Gavin Potgieter is a senior software architect and partner at Dariel; Kevin Ortlepp is an Electrical engineer, presently lecturing on software development at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Jane Buisson-Street, is a Fellow of the IITPSA and of the South Africa Institute of Electrical Engineers (not to mention being a Roedean old girl!). In addition to the judges, we were delighted to welcome Ulani Exner, president of the IITPSA and currently involved in projects to promote and drive Women in IT programmes and initiatives, who addressed the students while the judges were deliberating on the finalists.
We were delighted that Raeesa Cachalia from Roedean, was among the top 10 finalists, and won the category prize for the Best Real World Application. Best Documentation was won by Jared O'Reilly, from St Benedict's College. Ivan Kahl, from St Reddam House Bedfordview, won the Third prize overall. Sam Hindson, from Hyde Park High School, won Second prize overall, as well as the Best Gaming Application Category prize, with his project Space Race! The Category prize for Most Advanced Code, and First prize overall, was won by Blake Denham, also from Hyde Park High School, with his 3D Modelling application.
Technology continues to have a significant impact on the world in which we all live, and IT is a wonderful subject to equip students with both programming and creative thinking and problem solving skills. The IT Showcase has enabled us to promote these skills, and we thank everyone who contributed to its success.