Several innovative high school students recently received awards in Codeworx, a coding competition organised by eHealth provider, Orion Health. From reducing driveway accidents to helping the blind and making your supermarket shopping easier – coding secondary school students across New Zealand have come up with some innovative solutions to make the world a better place in the 2014 Orion Health Codeworx competition.
Codeworx is an initiative that aims to change the perception of computer science in schools and build a pool of talent so desperately needed in the industry. Secondary school students are required to create a project using a Raspberry Pi computer that either solve a real world problem or could be useful in someone's everyday life.
Fourteen year old, Dylan Townsend from Mission Heights Junior College in Auckland, took out the top Individual prize for his project titled ‘Caution, Child on Driveway’, which alerts drivers to children, pets or other objects in the driveway.
The winning team entry was also from Mission Heights, with their project titled ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ , in which they developed an ultrasound device to help blind people move about.
CEO of Orion Health, Ian McCrae, commented: “We started The Codeworx Challenge to bring coding into classrooms due to the huge shortage of students taking Computer Science both in schools and universities. This is the reason New Zealand is currently experiencing a disappointing shortage of IT professionals at a time when there is huge demand from the burgeoning IT sector.
“Our aim has always been to show high school students that Digital Technology is a highly sophisticated subject where they will learn how to write code, create programs and build applications through the innovative use of maths and science.
“In this, our second year running the CodeWorx Challenge, we have been hugely impressed with the wide ranging entries. I have been amazed that we could have 14 year old students coming up with great projects which, with a little further development, could easily be products that can go to market and go on to save lives.”
Orion Health developed the Codeworx competition, now in its second-year, as one of many innovative initiatives to meet the workforce challenge in the fast growing tech sector. Technology is now well cemented as New Zealand’s third largest export sector, and valued at an estimated $6.1 billion in exports. However, with the fast growth has come a bigger challenge – the recruitment and retention of skilled employees.