As part of the Innovation to Impact roundtable held at KAUST, we hosted parallel ‘super’ one-day version of the STEAM Innovation Challenge: Reimaging Education in the Digital Age. Over 85 students from 8 Saudi universities participated including King Abdul-Aziz University, the University of Jeddah, Effat University, Umm al-Qura University, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences and Dar AL-Hekma University in addition to KAUST students and participants of the KAUST Gifted Students Program.
The STEAM Innovation Challenges help students engage in mixed interdisciplinary teams to find creative solutions to real world problems– in this case, re-imagining education in the digital age. By bringing together the students inside of KAUST and local Saudi universities together, the STEAM Innovation Challenge offers a unique opportunity to showcase and support student-led innovation. Over 500 participants from Saudi universities have taken part in STEAM Innovation Challenges over the last year, with partners including Dow Chemical and Islamic Development Bank.
Part of the uniqueness of the STEAM Challenge is how it is developed to bring creative collaboration between different Universities. The top 3 winning teams for this STEAM event alone had 24 students from 7 different universities involved. The overall prize winning team was the VR Labs (Virtual Reality) team. These eight students proposed to help keep students interested in science education by using new technologies to transform how they learn. VR labs wants to recreate the labs in schools using virtual reality, reducing costs and ensuring all students in schools are getting a real-like experience of actual labs.