Rewarding ORT students’ talent in communicating science and technology ideas

How does a touch screen phone really work? Is it true that women see better than men? How can a rugby team prevent a Formula 1 car from moving?

From probability paradoxes and game theory to microprocessors and algae biofuels, teenagers at ORT schools have displayed impressive understanding of scientific and technological matters in their entries to the World ORT STEM Communication Awards.

Language no barrier to explaining complexities

More than 60 students in 10 countries submitted videos to this, the first competition of its kind held by World ORT.

“The overall quality of entries was very high, particularly when you consider that this was the first production for many students,” said the Head of World ORT’s Education Department, Daniel Tysman.

“We were delighted by the range of topics addressed, entrants’ creativity in explaining them, and their skill in expressing some complicated ideas in a second language.”

Students aged between 14 and 19 produced videos of between five and 10 minutes in length demonstrating their ability to convey a deep understanding of a specific STEM concept or to clearly explain a complex current issue related to this field to a non-specialist audience.

The competition is one way in which World ORT nurtures students’ development of so-called soft skills, including the ability to work in teams and creative thinking. Such skills are often undervalued, yet a survey conducted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Business School found that, “Good communication skills, including written and oral presentations, as well as an ability to work with others, are the main factor contributing to job success.”

The best way to learn is to teach.

Entries to World ORT’s competition were divided into two age categories, 14 to 16 and 17 to 19, and judged according to the quality of information, the choice of topic, engagement and creativity.

“The best way to learn is to teach and this is a fun way for students to do that. It’s technically quite easy now to produce a video and upload it to YouTube and seeing the number of views increase is a great motivation,” said Mr Tysman.


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