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Fujistu has launched a competition encouraging young people to solve real-world challenges using internet of things (IoT) technology.
Operation Innovation is open to students attending university technical colleges (UTCs) to encourage them to use technology to create commercial resolutions to solve real-world problems that may not exist yet.
The winners will be given a trip to Fujitsu Labs HQ in Germany to present their ideas to Fujitsu chief technical officer (CTO) Joseph Reger. Their idea may also be implemented.
“There’s lots of technology out there, but is it relevant? This technology has so many applications, how will it help them in their everyday lives, and how will it help society?” said Ash Merchant, Fujitsu’s director of education for the UK and Ireland.
“Young people have the best creative minds. Innovation needs to come from young people.”
Fujitsu also added 20 education providers to its digital Education Ambassador Programme for 2016.
The tech firm aims to use the Education Ambassador Programme to provide schools and colleges with digital technology to enable learning.
Schools, colleges and universities signed up to the programme are provided with digital classroom technology by Fujitsu and Intel to create Innovation Hubs where children are encouraged to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) through project-based learning.
Swansea University, the National Museum of Computing, London Design Engineering UTC and National Autistic Society Anderson School, are among those who will be receiving technology for Innovation Hubs from Fujitsu, alongside partners Intel, Brocade and Kyocera.
Read more about Stem
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“Education needs collaboration and support from the industry to support the right skills development for young people and to lead to future employment opportunity. That’s what the Education Ambassador Programme is all about,” said Merchant.
“As big industry employers, we need to make sure we’re giving encouragement and investment for young people to come and work in our organisations.”
The development of these hubs is designed to support the Department for Education’s Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (Feltag), which investigates barriers to technology being used for education in schools.
Technology skills support for teachers
As part of the Education Ambassador Programme, Fujitsu also hopes to offer support to teachers to use technology to deliver the curriculum.
“You remember the first teacher who inspired you, so how do we provide that continuing professional development and support?” said Merchant.
“Let’s look at engaging and creative lessons and put technology in the heart of that. We also help develop those skills for those teachers.”
In 2015, Fujitsu had 12 education institutes sign up for the initiative, including Brunel University, which announced the development of its custom-built Stem learning centre designed to provide children in the local area with Stem education and inspiration.
“We’re on the edge of a digital revolution that’s going to change everything,” said UTC co-founder Kenneth Baker at the launch of the 2016 Education Ambassador Programme and Operation Innovation. “The industry has got to become more involved in the education system.”