EXPERIENCE is the best teacher as 10 SMK Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi, Sepang students learnt recently. All it took were a wristwatch and a mosquito trap as well as overcoming challenges to gain a far-reaching experience outside their classroom.
The students, divided into two teams, competed at the recent Young Inventors Challenge 2018 ─ an international innovation and invention competition ─ organised by the Association of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Nurul Ira Hasmieza Hasli, one of the 10 students, said: “We first got to know about the Young Inventors Challenge through our participation in DNeX CampBijak. We were selected to represent our school in this competition.
“Of course, we were happy to be chosen but at the same time we were really scared, and we knew we must give our best.”
A programme by Dagang NeXchange Berhad (DNeX), DNeX CampBijak aimed to improve access to education for underprivileged students through experiential learning of science and technology. The programme leverages on tools and the Education Ministry’s science and mathematics syllabi, facilitated by certified educators, teachers and social entrepreneurs.
DNeX executive deputy chairman Datuk Samsul Husin said: “DNeX believes that everyone can achieve excellence, given the right opportunity.
“And DNeX CampBijak is meant to provide such an opportunity for children to excel. It also strives to instil self-confidence into participants. The programme is designed with continuous guidance so that participants can become successful and contribute to their families, communities and country.”
NURUL Ira, a member of the Megachrome team at DNeX CampBijak, said the group presented an innovation that can detect emergency situations through its heartbeat rate detector.
Named Watch Our Soul, it is a safety monitoring device worn as a wristwatch that uses GPS technology to provide the location of its users in emergency situations.
The other team named The Usurpation Galaxy invented Mozterminator, a mosquito trap made from biodegradable and environmental-friendly material.
The Usurpation Galaxy member Nur Arisha Abd Rahman said: "We were competing against some of the high performing schools in the country and the region. We knew our responsibilities and the importance of preparing mentally for the challenges. The pressure was high and we knew that we cannot mess up this opportunity."
The competition aimed to encourage secondary school students aged 13 to 17 years old to cooperate as a team of four or five members and find innovative solutions to current day problems. To prepare for the competition, the students first had to brainstorm ideas as a group.
Team Megachrome member Muhammad Akmal Mohd Khaizal said: "We started by listing problems and challenges we face in our daily lives and came up with possible solutions. The process was fun but from the list of ideas, we had to pick one for each group."
Based on the chosen idea, each group researched into the problem and solution before developing a working prototype. Written proposals on the inventions were sent to the Young Inventors Challenge organiser.
"It took two months to prepare everything before we submitted our proposals. We had to make changes to our schedule as we needed to make time for studies too. At the same time, we had to sacrifice our leisure time. However, our parents were very supportive as long as we prioritised our commitment," added Muhammad Akmal.
The students did not have high hopes for their proposals to be accepted as they felt that the experience of developing invention ideas was rewarding enough. So, they were shocked when the proposals were accepted. They also realised that they were faced with another challenge.
Nurul Ira said: "We were daunted at presenting our invention in English. The thought of speaking in public is already scary and doing it in English made it scarier."
However, the students knew what had to be done. They needed to practise, practise and practise.
"The best time to practise our presentation was in the evening but our parents did not like the idea at first. So, our school counsellor convinced our parents to let us practise in the evening."
The competition, which took place at CIDB Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, included a public viewing for visitors to visit the booths. Although the SMK Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi students did not win, their involvement in the challenge was rewarding enough in its own way.
"We made many friends at the competition. Although we were disappointed that our teams did not win in any of the categories, the experience is priceless. Our deepest appreciation to our families, teachers, facilitators and DNeX for making this journey possible for us."
SMK Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi counselling and guidance teacher Aida Wahid said DNeX CampBijak has helped participants to improve their scholarly performance, namely in science, mathematics and English.
"I also see improvements in their communication and soft skills as they have gained self-confidence in facing challenges at the contest. Communicating in English throughout the programme has also helped the students to be more fluent and confident in the language.
"Students selected to compete in the challenge were very excited and they gave their best because this was their first opportunity to be part of an international event. On behalf of the school, I would like to extend our appreciation to DNeX for giving our students this chance."