Students from GEMS schools across the UAE participated the 2nd annual UAE Week of Innovation. Future technology entrepreneurs, social innovators, and global problem solvers enjoyed classes, workshops, assemblies, competitions, leadership trainings, and panels focused on applying innovation to bring new ideas to life.
Over 5,000 GEMS students participated in Global Innovation Challenge hackathons focused on using design thinking to generate solutions using exponential technologies to solve the world’s most pressing challenges ranging from disaster resilience to food and shelter shortages. The Global Innovation Challenge is a world-wide competition focused on large scale social innovation and run by GEMS Education and Singularity University in Silicon Valley, USA. Global Innovation Challenge participants from first through twelfth grade developed ideas, prototypes and pitches and will spend the next two months further refining their prototypes for the Global Innovation Challenge finals to be held on February 4th at Maker Day at GEMS Wellington Academy Silicon Oasis.
James Rostron, Innovation Leader at GEMS Wellington International School and a lead Global Innovation Challenge hackathon organizer shared, “Our students are geared up and ready to take on the world’s greatest challenges. Students are faced with five big questions including; How to do we feed 10 billion people by 2050? And how can we power a plant using renewable energy? Thursday will see the culmination of the week and the chance for students to bring together all of their interdisciplinary knowledge and experiences to generate and prototype a solution. Students will be working in teams over the course of the day using bespoke critical thinking skills developed by a team of GEMS Wellington teachers in collaboration with Harvard’s Project Zero team.
From coding and robotics to creative thinking and leadership, students had a choice of classes and workshops at their schools. GEMS American Academy in Abu Dhabi hosted “Make It, Break It, Build It, Take It, Try It, Code It,” a daily series of STEAM education activities for elementary students and parents.
GEMS FirstPoint School offered workshops in robotics for good, modern textiles, sustainable products, fashion, the design process, and photography. Stephen Sharples, Principal of GEMS FirstPoint School comments, “At FirstPoint, we take every opportunity to promote innovative practice across the school. Through established links with the GEMS Innovation and Research Development Team, the Harvard School of Education and Singularity University in California, our students and staff are involved in a number of projects to promote “future thinking” skills. The UAE Week of Innovation is an opportunity for our school to showcase and celebrate our commitment to creative problem-solving and application of technology.”
Other students enjoyed developing and showcasing their creative businesses and products at a multi-school pitching competition held at The Winchester School, Oud Metha with the support of Creative Zone, in physics classes at The Westminster School, Dubai, and in a cafeteria innovation challenge at the GEMS World Academy, Abu Dhabi.
GEMS Education Innovation Leader, Christine Nasserghodsi, shared, “We’re delighted to join forces with UAE innovation ecosystem leaders in celebrating and showcasing innovation and entrepreneurship. The work our schools do during the UAE Week of Innovation reflects our overall approach to teaching and learning – whether it is through using design thinking or through teaching students to think creatively and access the technology to shape the future and improve the world around them.”