Students use artificial intelligence for good

Two Werribee Secondary College students are the Victorian state winners in Microsoft’s AI for Good Challenge.

Shahriah and Arun
Werribee Secondary College students Arun and Shahriah presenting at the AI For Good Challenge

Coordinated by Microsoft and Education Changemakers, the AI for Good Challenge inspires students from across Australia to learn about AI and think about how they can use it to solve real-world problems. 

 Werribee Secondary College Year 11 students Arun and Shahriar won the Senior Division for their ‘eChair’ design. The AI-powered wheelchair helps users find the best route to take to their destination. The wheelchair features voice activation and a Braille so it is accessible for all users. 

'Wacky' ideas are winners

Arun and Shahriah’s teacher Jayanti teaches digital technology, programming and software development. She says she was ‘excited’ when she saw a flyer for the AI for Good Challenge. ‘I was now able to tell the students that they do not need to know “programming” to come up with ideas,’ Jayanti says. 

Jayanti used Education Changemakers’s teaching resources in her computing class, helping her students brainstorm ideas. ‘Most were jokes, but we saw potential in some of them,’ Shahriar says. ‘Our teacher was encouraging us to participate in this, and we were like "why not?" So we submitted the eChair and it turned out good.’ 

‘I had to constantly tell them to think out of the box – “any wacky idea” for a problem,’ Jayanti says. 

Learning experience

Shahriah and Arun

Arun and Shahria submitted their idea to the AI for Good website, where they were selected to go to the state finals. They won, and came fourth overall in the national competition. ‘I felt really happy,’ Arun says. ‘I felt that my hard work had paid off. Being selected as top four out of 600+ entries was unbelievable.’ 

Jayanti says she was happy for the students’ achievements. ‘More than the competition, I was happy that students got an opportunity to understand AI and for the winning teams to see other schools, go to Microsoft office and hear some of the industry leaders speak,’ Jayanti says.

‘We need to have more such opportunities for students if we want them to be 21st century ready.’ 

The experience gave Arun and Shahria new skills. ‘It taught me valuable presentation, brainstorming and teamwork skills along the way,’ Arun says. ‘AI for Good has also taught me how important AI is now and how beneficial it can be for the future.’

‘Some things we learnt was definitely some presentation skills and that we should be trying new things as it can take us far in life,’ Shahria says. 

Digital learning in school

Digital learning in Victorian schools ensures that education prepares students for the future. Rapid technological, economic and social change is making an impact on students’ learning. The Digital Technologies in the Victorian Curriculum equips students with the skills to think creatively and critically, and to solve problems by designing and developing digital solutions that consider future needs. Information and resources on our digital learning services for schools can be found at Digital Learning.