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2010 Microsoft Imagine Cup: Nigeria students lose out in semi finals

Students at Warsaw

By Emeka Aginam, in Warsaw, Poland

In a keenly contested software design competition between brightest technology students around the world, Nigeria   students on Sunday  lost out in the first round of software design in the on-going 2010 Imagine Cup software competition, in Warsaw, Poland.

With this development, the three technology wiz kids from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ileife, (OAU) who took made-in-Nigeria education software product to the global stage will not go to semi-finals that will produce the winners.

After  all day head-to-head competition by  the brightest students from around the world,  Rob Miles, a lecturer from the department of Computer Science, University of Hull, United Kingdom who is also among the panel of judges  announced the teams going on to the second round in the Software Design and Embedded Development competitions.

For Software Design, according to him, the judges picked 12 best teams from 68 teams that contested, even as 10 best team were picked from 15 teams that contested in Embedded Development.

“Everybody is a winner having come all the way from different countries of the world. The calibre of entries across the board was incredibly high so, while not everyone will continue in the competition, everyone deserves a huge congratulations for making it this far” he told the capacity audience that gathered Sunday night during announcement of the results.

With Morocco as the only African team in the semi- finals, there appears to be atmosphere of anxiety and expectations as to which country takes the prestigious cup, Thursdays this  week,  when the result of the winners will be announced.

Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Korea, Taiwan, United States, United Kingdom, among other countries have qualified for the semi - final stage.

Although the Nigerian team did not qualify for the semi-final, one thing certain is that the Nigerian students who took the software incubation to the world stage have what it takes to make the country globally competitive.

Watching their presentations Sunday night in Palace of Culture, Warsaw, Poland, it may not be an overstatement to say the  technology wizkids from Obafemi Awolowo University Ileife, (OAU) put in their best to make Nigeria proud in the global competition.

“I feel good. We are all winners. Everybody feels great but some people have to go to the next stage of the competition. However, we will package our products and use it to help teachers around the world” Akinbiyi Omle, one of the team member  told Vanguard  CyberLIFE in an interaction shortly after the announcement, adding that there is opportunity for another trial given the fact that Nigeria is making a mark in software development for global competitiveness.

According to him, the Ministry of education in  Nigeria  ca also make use of these applications to help Nigerian teachers. “We will like work with the education ministry to achieve better results in the nation’s educational system decaying by the day.

For Olaniran Abiola, who is also one of the team members that represented Nigeria in the global contest, competition of this kind ought to be organized by local agencies in the country so as to prepare the student for global competitiveness.

According to him, such local competitions will go a long way in sharpening Nigeria students’ minds toward creating real products and not just the usual theoretical knowledge.

“Also, the Nigeria schools need to change their orientation about who are the best students in school. The students with the practical knowledge should get more prestige from the school so as to  encourage them and increase the number of students running after the practical knowledge and this will make the country move forward in technology”

It would be recalled that, Brian Media is the name of the education software that the Nigerian team presented in the on-going 2010 Microsoft  Imagine Cup software competition.

The software application provides access to quality education for all. The product is an extensible platform that allows the development of computer educational applications.

The system includes a desktop application, a web application and a central XML Application Programming Interface (API). The System allows teachers and students around the world to collaborate and learn from each other.

The system also creates a symbiosis relationship with teachers around the world. Through this, a teacher gets as much as he or she gives to the world through this system. This System also includes a carefully designed web application which can be accessed with the common mobile phones.

The Web application has some great features like an Artificial intelligence (for guiding and counselling students), a search engine through which students can search for class materials (about the topics they specify) in other schools around the world and also students get series of quizzes in which they are graded upon, so weekly, or daily, the profile of the best students are shown on the web page.

It would be recalled that no  fewer than 400 software incubators from 69 countries and regions around the world who can use technology to  solve the world’s toughest challenges contested in  the first round at   on-going world’s premier student technology competition, the Imagine Cup 2010  initiated by the global software giant, Microsoft.

More than 325,000 high school, college, and university students in 113 countries and regions had entered the competition


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