Inspiring digital natives through ICT competitions

(This content was originally posted by Emma Clemens on

The students that we teach are digital natives. They live in a media-saturated world where they are surrounded by computers, videogames, digital music players, cell phones and other tools of the digital age. Digital natives are adept at multi tasking, rapidly receive information, favour graphics over text and function best when networked with others. As teacher of digital natives, I am always seeking opportunities to inspire and ignite their passion for technology. The Young ICT Explores Competition is a fantastic means of engaging digital natives. This post describes the competition process and provides examples of student projects.

Young ICT Explorers

The Young ICT Explorers Competition began in 2010. Today the competition involves thousands of Primary and Secondary students in every state across Australia. The aim of the event is to encourage school students to create high quality Information and Communication Technology (ICT) projects. Students are required to submit an extensive report documenting the process to developing their project. The event is judged on the creativity, uniqueness, quality and level of difficulty for each project.


  1. Project Development: Students create a project of their choice. They can work individually or in a group of up to four students. I support the process of project development through a lunch or after school ICT Club. It generally takes students about two terms to complete their projects.
  2. Registration: Teachers or parents can register their students. I prefer to register the students so that I can keep track of when projects are ready for submission. Students must provide an abstract and project report as a ZIP file. In the resource section of this post I have included a number of templates for the project report.
  3. Presentation Preparation: Students who are accepted into the competition finals must present their project to a panel of judges. I encourage my students to prepare answers to questions such as Why did you choose the topic for your project? Why did you choose the platform/technology for your project? What were the steps for creating your project? Did you have any difficulties? How did you solve them? How will your project be used?
  4. Competition Final: On the competition day students set up a booth with display about their project. This may include posters, screen shots, photos, balloons and other props. They must also present their project to the judges. Once students have presented their project they have the opportunity to visit the other finalists booths. This facilitates collaborative learning, as students are inspired by the creativity and technological skill of others.
  5. School Celebration: It is critical to celebrate the success of students through an additional showcase at school. I run a lunchtime showcase where students set up their booths and present to their peers. In addition I ensure that the finalists are acknowledged in assembly and the school newsletter.

Finalist Projects:

Websites (Weebly, Google Sites, WordPress)

iBooks (iBooks Author)

Web Apps (iBuild App)


Question for you: What opportunities have you embraced to encourage the digital natives that you teach to explore their passion for technology?