Newswise — A four-member team from the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) 2017 program, a Masdar Institute outreach initiative, won first place and a AED20,000 prize for their ‘Learning, Innovation, Fun and Technology’ (LIFT) concept during the Mohamed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations, which was held on 7-8 March in Abu Dhabi.

The majlis was held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center, where around 3,000 Emirati university students participated in discussions, breakout sessions, and competitive workshops around topics such as cyber security, smart cities, urban development, and entrepreneurship.

The YFEL team was composed of University of Sharjah students Hessa Alzaabi, Aysha Alrumaithi, and Ameera Almarzouqi, and Petroleum Institute student Bodor Alkendi. They competed against five other teams in the ‘Minds on a Mission’ workshop to win first place and a cash prize of AED20,000.

Dr. Lamya N. Fawwaz, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Public Affairs, Masdar Institute, said: “The success of the YFEL team at the MBZ Majlis for Future Generations shows the talent and creativity of the youth Masdar Institute mentors and develops through YFEL. We are proud of these young women for presenting an innovative concept that utilizes cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence, to make the classroom environment more engaging and exciting. I congratulate the team and hope to hear of more creative solutions from this group of young female innovators.”

The ‘Minds on a Mission’ workshop was organized in collaboration with Cognitive Technology Solutions, which is a joint project with the Mubadala Development Company and IBM to bring IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence (AI) computing system to companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As such, the workshop was aimed at encouraging participants to develop new and innovative solutions to challenges facing the UAE in the transport and education sectors.

The LIFT concept presented by the YFEL team sought to enrich the learning experience in a conventional mathematics class to make it more personalized and exciting. They suggested a system where students would first be tested using Watson AI technology to determine their preferred learning method -- seeing, doing or listening. The students would then be placed in groups where they would be taught according to the best methods for the individual learning preferences. The classroom would also integrate visual activities using advanced technologies, like touchscreens, thereby proving the effectiveness of ‘learning, innovation, fun and technology’.

YFEL member Alzaabi said: “We are extremely proud of our accomplishment, as it shows the benefit of teamwork and innovation. Conventional educational tools are very theoretical in nature and as such, do not fully engage kids in the classroom environment, which can lead to low student performance. My team members were able to conceptualize an idea to respond to this challenge, which we developed over the course of two days of hard work.”

The YFEL team’s project was assessed for several criteria including teamwork, collaboration, innovation in identifying solutions to tackle the challenge from its root, use of advance technology, and economic feasibility to serve the market.

Clarence MichaelNews Writer9 March 2017

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