Robotics Prototyping and Programming Tournament
Inspiring young Palestinians to discover the fun in science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
More than 150 Palestinian elementary and middle school students from 20 different schools in the West Bank participated in the annual robotics tournament organized by and hosted at the Najjad Zeenni IT Center of Excellence @ Birzeit University. This year, teams used LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots to complete biomedical engineering-related missions and also present a research report sharing their research findings.
By participating in this competition, 9-14 year olds build electromechanical devices, explore the cutting-edge world of biomedical engineering and discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the human body's potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives.
Design, programming, and teamwork
The competition is comprised of 4 main sections: programming and design, teamwork, technical research, and field challenge. Student teams are interviewed by a panel of judges which is comprised of university professors and engineering professionals. Teams are evaluated on innovative robot design, teamwork, research design, and performance of the robot in the competition field. In addition, teams are interviewed by the judges to discuss the design and operation of their robot.
Judges look for teams whose work stands out because of its innovation and/or navigational consistency. To assess innovation, the judges watch the robots work, looking for actions that impress them. They also interview team members to reveal the less obvious unique and inventive ideas. To assess navigational consistency, the judges interview the teams to learn what solid principles and best practices were used to reduce variability and errors.
The tournament is meant to ignite students' interest in science and technology by teaching them how to design, program, and prototype fully-functional and autonomous robots.
Seeking Startup Advice? Look no further than BSC
Everything you need to know about starting your own business in Arabic
To enhance its business startup mentoring and training program, the IT Center of Excellence established an Arabic website (http://home.birzeit.edu/nzitce/bsc/) packed with expert advice, information, tools, and resources for individuals wishing to develop their entrepreneurial skills or wishing to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit buried within them.
Pinpointing target market
The website introduces the user/learner to the meaning and significance of entrepreneurship in the context of discovering, evaluating, and exploiting opportunities to introduce innovative business products and services into the local and international markets.
Uncovering creative financing for startup and growth
The user can also find facilitated access to information on choices of and differences between various startup support systems (i.e. venture capital funds, angel investors, micro-financing, incubators, etc..) for first time Palestinian entrepreneurs.
Strategies for idea generation
The website offers TRIZ-based idea-generation techniques. The website attempts to motivate the user to develop critical entrepreneurial skills primarily observation, critical thinking, communication, resource mobilization and management, risk assessment, and team-building skills.
Worksheets and checklists
Individuals can find forms, worksheets, and checklists to assess their entrepreneurial abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
Streamlining the business plan
Future entrepreneurs can learn the intricacies of business plan writing and they can find sample business plans for fictitious companies that illustrate the type of information that is essential to the creation of an effective business plan. The easy-to-follow guide takes the user step-by-step through the business plan writing process.
|Official launch of the BSC website | Bazinga Ramallah
||Watch the official launch on YouTube|
Read more about the event on Bazinga's website
Business Plan Competition
Armed with a good idea & a robust business plan, Palestinian university students are on their way to achieve financial independence.
On Saturday 28 of August 2010, the finals for the business plan competition were held at the Najjad Zeenni IT Center of Excellence.
A group of 10 most distinguished business plans were chosen to be pre-incubated at the Business Startup Center at Birzeit University. In addition, the top 3 business plans were awarded cash prizes as follows:
- Click & Pick - by Sireen Saba': 1,000 USD
- eVent - by Mohammad Mbayyed, Mohmmad Hamdan, Hayya Johari, Ahmad Nijem: 800 USD
- iAds - by Amal Nazzal, Hasan Joudeh, Maram Nazzal: 500 USD
Jury panel reviewing submitted business plans
Business plan competition: winners and runners-up
About the business plan competition:
PUTTING THE THEORIES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP INTO PRACTICE
In addition to promoting a culture of entrepreneurship, the competition aims to provide participants with a unique learning opportunity: the new venture creation process. The contest is part of a project funded by SPARK that aims to empower young Palestinian entrepreneurs and transforms job seekers into job creators - allowing them to become active contributors to the Palestinian national economy.
The program is comprised of multiple stages:
Entrepreneurship training: Generating and refining business ideas
Workshops: Meeting and interacting with experienced entrepreneurs
Team Building: Participants create their team
Business Plan Writing Training: Participants learn the intricacies of business plan writing
Developing a robust business plan: Participants develop business plans for their business idea
Participate in the "best business plan" competition
Winners get to receive pre-incubation services at the Business Startup Center - Ramallah
Empowering Female Entrepreneurs
Recognizing Palestinian female entrepreneurship as an engine of innovation & employment creation
Fewer Palestinian women than men are able to create successful businesses that able to grow beyond modest limits.
The collaboration between the IT Center and the Business Women Forum - Palestine serves to empower female entrepreneurs, enabling them to nurture, exploit, and profit from capitalizing on the proven roles of ICT in business development.
Through this joint initiative, BWF and NZITCE are working to cater to Palestinian female entrepreneurs as well as to find new ways to support them and help them develop their business ideas. The initiative calls on Palestinian women to step up and start leading the way in business to increase their contribution to the Palestinian economy.
The focus of the joint efforts and parternership of NZITCE-BWF is to encourage young, talented, women and female college students to pursue entrepreneurship and consider self-employment as well as to give them the opportunities and necessary coaching and training to help them refine their business ideas and successfully launch and manage their business ventures.
Encouraging New IT Business Startups in Underserved Palestinian Communities
TRANSFORMING JOB SEEKERS INTO JOB PROVIDERS
Empowering young Palestinians to think like entrepreneurs and to become active participants and major positive contributors to the Palestinian national economy.
The IT Center of Excellence established a Business Startup Center (BSC) at Birzeit University campus. BSC works to provide talented Palestinian youth with the necessary skills and knowlege so that they can become technology innovators and successful entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurial skills can be acquired by actually confronting the problems that challenge every entrepreneur. Among the services that the BSC offers is a training program designed to provide tools, methodologies, and strategies that help individuals avoid the many common pitfalls facing business start-ups. The curriculum utilizes experiential learning methodologies by which the participants are immersed in highly interactive, fun hands-on activities that help build their entreprenurial skills and assist them in assessing their business abilities and needs.
In 2010, in excess of 350 university students benefited from the services that BSC offered. Among the universities that participated in the program are Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron and Palestine Technical University in Tulkarem.
In addition to entrepreneurship training, the curriculum includes the following topics:
Human Resource Management
How to Start Your Own Company
Accounting & Finance
Marketing & Sales
Empowering Palestinian School Students in Underserved Areas
What if you can afford to provide a handheld computer device to every K2 student that would differentiate instruction, align to core math curriculum and engage even the hardest-to-reach students?
The teachermate hand-held computer system is a tool that provides individualized lesson plans for students and delivers up-to-the-minute student progress reports based on data automatically uploaded from the handhelp devices.
The IT Center of Excellence is working with Stanford University on developing a large body of age-appropriate, subject-specific content in Arabic. The purpose is to emphasize the development of critical thinking, basic literacy in Arabic and English, and problem-solving skills for school students.
Technology Summer Camps Program 2010
Combining technology with fun and challenges
Palestinian teens and kids are keeping busy this summer of 2010 by participating in any of the 13 fun and challenging summer programs organized by the IT Center of Excellence and the Palestinian National Committee for Summer Camps spanning 11 Palestinian governorates.
The summer program was conducted in 11 West Bank locations: Ramallah - Toulkram - Nablus - Jericho - Jenin - Qlaqelia -Toubas - Jerusalem - Salfeet - Hebron - Bethlehem
The implementation of the program took place in three main phases:
I. Training of Trainers
IT Security Awareness for Youngsters
Learn about cryptography, encryption, and much more.
Palestinian teens are increasingly using digital and online communication channels such as facebook, twitter, chat, bluetooth devices, and email. Intended for young people aged between 13 and 17, the training program provides the teen participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to help them protect themselves against online fraud, identity theft, privacy leaks, and other e-attacks made against them when using these new communication channels.
Among the topics that students explore during the one month-long training are:
- Latest Encryption Technologies
- Protection Against Malware (Viruses, Trojans, Worms, etc...)
- Firewalls & Ports
- Attack Analysis
- Digital Forensics
- E-mail Security & Privacy
- Web Security & Privacy
- Internet Legalities & Ethics
Open-Source Literacy to Harness School Students' Creativity
Helping increase middle and high school students' interest in Information & Communication Technologies in an environment free from the pressures of a typical classroom
The Student Technology Excellence Program is a 3-year community outreach initiative that is designed to help Palestinian children and youth make a quantum leap from from learning old things in old ways to learning new things in new ways.
The initiative is designed to increase student interest in the field of information technology while having fun at the same time, in an environment free from the pressures of a typical classroom.
The program utilizes robotics, electronics, and innovative programming tools so that the technology becomes a transparent and integral tool to facilitate and enhance the teaching of core subjects in schools. The effective integration of robotics, electronics, and programming as an after-school program culminates a natural byproduct of 21st century skills that enable our school students to think critically, analyze information, collaborate, solve problems, and make decisions.
Ignites the participants' interest in science and technology by teaching them how to design, program, and prototype fully functional robots.
Promotes open-source computer literacy to harness the students' creativity and allow them to utilize higher-order thinking
CHANGING LIVES | TRANSFORMING COMMUNITIES using ICT