Students are enhancing their own User Experience with Innovation, AI and IBM volunteers

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Covid-19 has moved our case program from the classroom to behind webcams. But that certainly does not mean that our level of ambition has lowered. This year, we are again collaborating with the boarding school for Entrepreneurship and Design; New Nordic Youth in Halsnæs municipality.

New Nordic Youth (NNY) is an independent boarding school for lower secondary students and ​​consist of around 100 talented young people, where students are divided into three competency tracks:

  1. a tech track,
  2. a design track and
  3. a business track.

As part of the curriculum, the students are required to solve a case in collaboration with IBM.

The students should as well focus on one or more of these selective sustainable development goals in their case.

Synergy and collaboration creates value to all; students, teachers and IBM’ers

The students are divided into groups, where each of the three competence tracks are represented. The students are given a case to develop a product or solution that can improve boarding school-life. The solution must include a technical component that includes an IBM technology, a business plan, and a communication strategy. Students must also include the Sustainable Development Goals in their solution. Volunteers at IBM (and experts in their respective fields) provide and present the tools to solve the case. More than that, they provide ongoing feedback to the students’ work. Finally, they assess their finished solutions in close collaboration with NNY’s teachers.

At IBM, we continuously look forward to being truly inspired by the creativity and innovation of the students.

Adoption to the new COVID-19 reality required flexibility and re-thinking

In the first years of the collaboration’s lifetime, we have alternated between visits to IBM and the school. But this year, due to Covid-19 we had to rethink the format. This means that the big intro day, where we previously had visits from all the school’s students at IBM’s head office in Brøndby, has now moved home in the teen rooms and at the home workplace.

Last year (2020), where students and IBM volunteers met at IBM and at the school
Last year (2020), where students and IBM volunteers met at IBM and at the school

On Wednesday the 27th of January 2021, the school activated a link, through which Gry Nejtsgaard, Channel Manager, IBM Technical Solutions Services, gave the students a general presentation of what is happening in the tech industry, and then digging deeper in on IBM and IBM Denmark. After Gry’s presentation, the students were divided into virtual rooms. In the comms room, Thomas Bay Pedersen, Nordic Social Media Strategist, gave the students tools to develop a strong communication plan. This is how students would reach the desired target group. In the tech room, Peter Lange, CTO at Maersk account & Leader, Member of IBM Academy of Technology, explained how students best can use Unity, Watson or other IBM technology in their product. Gry Nejtsgaard conjured herself into the business room, where she then introduced the students to the Business Model ’Canvas’ so they can make the optimal sales plan for the product.

Design Thinking, for optimal product development

When all the new knowledge has been digested by the students, they will meet again the forthcoming week for ’the great idea generation’ session. Here, Amanda Brogaard Senior Consulant DSiX, introduces them to IBM Design Thinking. This was the method the students need to use for the development of the optimal product they need to create. Thereafter, the hard work of developing the technical solution, the sales plan and the communication plan begin. The work progresses for a month before the students receive midway-feedback from the IBMers involved, which happens around mid-March. Before that, IBM provides a pitch training session to prepare the students. In mid-April, students will finish their product. Afterwards, they will present this in a Dragon’s den format, with a jury of IBMers ready to give the students both praise and constructive feedback to their solutions.

Online Learning Platform Helps to Upskill Students in AI

Open P-TECH is a free digital learning platform that helps students and teachers learn about AI, Cloud, Cybersecurity, Quantum and more tech

Year by year, we have expanded the collaboration, so the case process becomes sharper and more relevant. 2021 is – despite the circumstances – no exception. IBM launched the new online learning platform Open P-Tech in May 2020. NNY boarding school became the first official Danish partner.

Open P-Tech has since been implemented in teaching at the boarding school. This has proven to be a useful tool in home-schooling. The students on the tech track have completed the course ’AI foundations’. They have been introduced to machine learning, AI and how AI is applied. Ricki Hogaard, Tech Teacher at NNY, who has used Open P-Tech in his teaching at NNY, affirms:

“We have benefited greatly from the P-Tech platform which is now regularly included in the daily teaching with good feedback from the students.”

Now the teaching must stand the test. Students have to implement their knowledge in a concrete solution that is judged by competent professionals.

IBM is providing free open learning platforms to both children, youth, college and university students, to entrepreneurs and also to adult learners in need of re-and upskill in technical competences. Open P-TECH is for youth where IBM Skills Build if for the adult learners audience, that is already a part of the workforce.

Also, IBM helps job seekers and business owners gain and develop more digital talent and skills with IBM SkillsBuild Reignite program. Read more:

IBM brings the power of its technology, resources, and people to help with initiatives around the world, from education & skills to conservation of our environment and climate.

CSR Manager, IBM Denmark

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