Tag Archives: Blackberry

Junior Achievement South Africa launches Innovation Camps with support from BlackBerry

South Africa, 17 May 2013: Junior Achievement South Africa today announced it is working with BlackBerry® to kick off the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Innovation Camps, with 1,000 high-school learners from 14 countries expected to compete. Supported by volunteer mentors from BlackBerry, the learners will be tasked to come up with solutions to a variety of STEM related business challenges.

Aiming to motivate learners aged 15-18 to consider STEM oriented careers, the Innovation Camps are an initiative developed through a collaboration between BlackBerry and JA-YE Europe.

The Innovation Camps help raise awareness among secondary school learners of STEM related business challenges, showcase industry role models, and lead the way to showing that skills-based Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes have a vital role to play in the future of education and aligning curriculums with business needs.

During the Innovation Camps, the learners can develop practical business skills and are encouraged to adopt entrepreneurial thinking. The events focus on fostering young people’s problem solving and innovation skills. Learners are given a specific challenge to solve within a set period of time. The link between business and education helps students to develop skills that are relevant to the workplace and allows them to apply their academic learning to real life situations.

“Recently the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report ranked South Africa’s Maths and Science education second last in the world. This embarrassing position clearly demonstrates the need for us to promote and provide support for subjects such as Maths, Science, Technology and Engineering,” noted Linda McClure, Managing Director of Junior Achievement South Africa. “The Blackberry Innovation camps are a prime example of an inventive way for corporates to aid the Basic Education Department in improving the level of Maths and Science skills in our learners.”

“BlackBerry was built on innovation and is a strong supporter of science, engineering, technology and math in education. We are proud to support Junior Achievement as they engage young people and encourage them to think outside of the box,” said Renata Rusiniak, Manager, Citizenship at BlackBerry.

Learners, mentored by volunteers from BlackBerry, may enter in teams to develop solutions related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The winning team from South Africa will compete globally in an online final against the other national winning teams worldwide on June 13, 2013.

In South Africa, the STEM Innovation Camp will take place on 17 May 2013 at Gold Reef City Theme Park.

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About the STEM Innovation Camps

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Innovation Camps is an initiative developed through a collaboration between BlackBerry and Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Europe – Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes. Fourteen JA-YE organizations from Italy, Spain, Sweden, United Arabic Emirates, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India and China are organizing STEM Innovation Camps.

About Junior Achievement South Africa

Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) provides engaging entrepreneurial programmes which foster confident, empowered young people who are possibility seekers and creators of opportunities. Through these programmes JASA aims to contribute to meaningful economic participation by nurturing entrepreneurial thinking among young people. For the past 33 years, Junior Achievement South Africa, a non-governmental organisation supported by Junior Achievement Worldwide, has been providing these essential business and entrepreneurial skills to young people of all ages, across the country, in both rural and urban environments. Children as young as 10 years of age are exposed to entrepreneurial and business activities in a fun and interactive manner. The core programme is one for young people between the ages of 16 to 25, where under the guidance of highly trained facilitators, participants are introduced to key business concepts, after which they launch and manage a real small business. Supported by Junior Achievement Worldwide, JASA is a nationwide, autonomous, non-profit association. Subject to the governance of an independent Board of Directors, JASA provides its stakeholders with responsible, effective management. http://www.jasa.org.za

First South African RIM BlackBerry® Innovation Challenge – A Huge Success

Junior Achievement South Africa launched the first Research In Motion (RIM), Innovation Challenge on Friday, 24 February 2012 at the University of Johannesburg’s Intellilab.  40 Grade 11 learners from McCauley House, Dawnview High School, Sunward Park High School and Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School participated in the day long challenge, funded by RIM.  Learners were taught how to think innovatively through a series of exciting challenges, designed in partnership with the University of Johannesburg’s Intellilab staff.

At the start of the day, learners were split into teams of four, comprising one learner from each school.  The teams were provided with clues which lead them to five Market Points around University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway campus.  The teams were required to purchase a box of robot parts at each Market Point whilst keeping an eye on the fluctuating exchange rate of their BlackBerry® Bucks – capitalising on purchasing the parts at the most profitable moment.  The Market Points were manned by enthusiastic RIM South Africa volunteers who helped the teams decide when the best time was to purchase their parts.  The RIM volunteers were headed by Karina Gibson – RIM Community Relations Manager for the EMEA region, who travelled from the U.K. to attend the event.

To add to the challenge, each box purchased contained a different number of robot parts, resulting in teams having to trade amongst themselves to ensure that they each had sufficient parts to build their robot.  The balance of the afternoon saw the learners build their robots and programme them – an exciting challenge that none of them had experienced before.  The robots then had to be calibrated to travel along a straight line, pick up a cold drink can and return to the starting line as quickly as possible.  The evening culminated in a head to head race to determine whose robot could complete the task most successfully.  To watch the head to head race click here.

Teams collected points throughout the day for the completion of various tasks, be it budgeting or programming their robots.  Each team was also provided with a BlackBerry® PlayBook™ with which to document their experiences. The BlackBerry® PlayBook™ could also be used to snap photos of the teams at strategic points to increase their scores. The Duiker team won the overall challenge and were awarded various BlackBerry® branded prizes as well as R300 airtime for each team member.   The learners all felt the experience was invaluable and the RIM team was surprised at how innovative the teams were during the day.  The exhausted learners were all sent home at 9pm on Friday evening, having spent the entire day thinking innovatively.