How can dance improve your health? What are the effects of social media on the human brain? Is Artificial Intelligence really intelligent? How does genome editing work?
These are just a few of the questions addressed by ORT students from around the world at this year’s STEM Communications Awards. The awards are given annually, with ORT students from around the world competing to produce short videos on a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) topics. The videos are judged on a range of criteria including level of engagement, scientific quality, depth of explanation, choice of topic, creativity and display of communication skills.
This year there were a total of 34 entries from ORT schools in Mexico, Italy, Bulgaria, South Africa, Argentina and Panama. Entries were divided into two age categories: 17-19 and 14-16. Students receive cash awards totaling $3,000 divided amongst the winners.
The winners of the 2020 competition were announced on July 13th. First prize in the 17-19 age category was won by two students from ORT Argentina, whose video, entitled “The Selfish Gene”, explains kin selection and the survival value of altruism, using real life examples to illustrate these evolutionary concepts.
First prize in the 14-16 age category was awarded to an ORT Argentina student for his video discussing the advantages and disadvantages of cultured meat as an alternative to conventional meat raised on a farm.
All of the winning entries demonstrated an ability to convey a deep understanding of STEM concepts and to clearly explain complex scientific issues to non-specialist audiences. In addition to helping students develop a greater appreciation of the subject matter, the competition is one of the many ways in which ORT nurtures the development of skills such as teamwork, problem-solving and creative thinking among its students.
“In this current situation where our lives seem paused, the opportunity to participate in this competition have been really valuable. Creating the video and undertaking the research was such a positive escape from reality, its allowed me to expand my knowledge about an issue (addiction to social media) that has grown since quarantine started and affecting many teenagers. I also learnt to use an animated video creator, reinforced my communication skills in English to present the topic and transmit an important message to this generation. I am very thankful for this experience because I became more curious about how the brain works and I know now that I want to follow this path in university.“ Hannah, ORT Student at Colegio Isaac Rabin School, Panama.
“We had a strong response this year, both in quality and quantity, from students all over the world” said Daniel Tysman, Head of World ORT’s Education Department. “Despite all the challenges they were facing, the range of topics was broad, with many presenters addressing new trends and applications of technology in addition to clear explanations of complex scientific topics. Often what distinguishes the winners is the level of planning that goes into building the structure of the presentation and the communication skills the students use to engage with their viewers.”
This year’s winners were:
- 1st Place – Antonella Macoretta & Nazareno Cabrera, ORT Argentina
- 2nd Place – Valeria Hirsch, Colegio Isaac Rabin, Panama
- Joint 3rd Place – Hannah Levy, Colegio Isaac Rabin, Panama
- Joint 3rd Place – Andrés Kaminker & Charo Colina, ORT Argentina
- 1st Place – Tomás Santillán, ORT Argentina
- 2nd Place – Lisandro Acuña, ORT Argentina
- 3rd Place – Camila Ruiz, Colegio Isaac Rabin, Panama
- Joint Runners Up – Matías Rapoport & Tobías Perel, ORT Argentina
- Joint Runners Up – Lola Schverdfinger, Colegio Isaac Rabin, Panama
- Joint Runners Up – Gregorio Jaca, ORT Argentina
ORT wishes congratulations to this year’s winners and is looking forward to next year’s competition!