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New Zealand Tech Alliance calls for event submissions for nationwide festival of tech

New Zealand Tech Alliance, a group of over 20 independent technology associations, is calling for submissions from organisations keen to take part in Techweek2020, a nationwide series of events showcasing and celebrating New Zealand tech innovation during the week 18 – 24 May. Tech Alliance Chief Strategy Officer Julie Gill says Techweek2020 is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved in New Zealand’s vibrant tech innovation ecosystem to meet, share ideas and find new ways to work together. “Techweek is when everyone in the tech sector can showcase the amazing innovation that is taking place in Aotearoa,” Gill says. “Techweek2020 marks the fifth year, with the first iteration of Techweek including 55 events attended by 10,000 people in Auckland. It has now grown to become a nationwide event that attracts over 46,000 attendees around the country. The theme this year is ‘Connecting our future’, which recognises that as we begin a new decade, we need to be thinking long-term about how new technology is impacting our nation.” There are three distinct pillars of activity during Techweek – community, education and business – and submissions are welcome from organisations with ideas for events that support one or more of these pillars. Events can vary from major conferences to small meetups on niche topics, hackathons, workshops and networking events. “Whether it is a two-day conference with multiple speakers or a 30-minute pitch session for fledgling start-ups, we’d love to hear from anyone interested in taking part,” Gill says. Gill says she is delighted that AUT and Callaghan Innovation have once again signed on as strategic partners, and that ANZ Bank and Chorus are Festival Partners for Techweek2020. For ongoing updates and information about Techweek2020, visit www.techweek.co.nz.

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Precision Driven Health announces sponsorship of Hack Aotearoa 2020

Precision Driven Health (PDH) is excited to return in 2020 as a major partner for Hack Aotearoa. Building on the success of the 2019 conference – the first of its kind in New Zealand – Hack Aotearoa 2020 continues to innovate and will include a health datathon in addition to the main Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare conference. This globally recognised Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Critical Data event aims to spark cross-disciplinary collaboration and learning of data science to improve healthcare. Hosted by the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Critical Data, the event will see local and international data scientists, academics and healthcare professionals come together to present opportunities for the use of data science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in health. The overarching theme for the 2020 event is ‘Advancing the Quadruple Aim’, while the ethical use of data, and the use of data for Māori health equity, are key event themes. Hack Aotearoa is an exciting opportunity to advance the digital health and data science landscape in Aotearoa. During the datathon, healthcare professionals and data scientists will have the chance to work with the MIT eICU Collaborative Care and MIMIC Critical Care datasets. The aim is to harness insights from these datasets and search for better ways to diagnose and treat critical care patients. Precision Driven Health returns as a major partner for the second year running. Chief Executive Dr Kevin Ross is looking forward to the event. “As New Zealand’s premier health data science collaboration, we are looking forward to another gathering that looks to unlock the value of data for our population. Hack Aotearoa combines local expertise and values with international know-how to bring a unique, hands-on experience over a few days,” says Dr Ross. Philips ANZ is another major partner of Hack Aotearoa. As a leading health technology company, Philips ANZ provides connected care solutions powered by advanced analytics in order to improve health outcomes and the delivery of care. At the crux of transitioning towards value-based healthcare, the measurement of system-wide health outcomes and the improvement of patient care delivery is based on a combination of multiple datasets. “As the owner of the largest translational ICU dataset in the world composed of 7.5 million ICU episodes, Philips is proud to contribute to events like Hack Aotearoa in order to drive academic and practical insights for New Zealand. We need to look at new, more efficient ways to increase access to care and improve care collaboration. Philips believes Hack Aotearoa is a great setting to start those conversations,” says Joe Cain, Business Manager Population Health, Philips ANZ. Hack Aotearoa will take place 17th to 19th January 2020 at the Owen G Glenn Building, University of Auckland. About MIT Critical Data MIT Critical Data is an affiliation of research labs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who are engaged in research in and around data that has a critical impact on people’s health. About Precision Driven Health The Precision Driven Health partnership (PDH), established in 2016, is one of the most ambitious data science research initiatives to be undertaken in New Zealand. The partnership unites the health IT sector with healthcare providers and universities to create health and commercial opportunities for New Zealanders. Research is focused on applying new data science techniques to understand the massive volume of data about an individual captured by health information systems, consumer devices, social networks, genetic testing and other sources. To date, PDH has supported more than 75 projects in health data science, including summer and postgraduate scholarships, a joint PDH-HRC Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme, and multi-million dollar discovery and transformation programmes in several areas, including de-identification and deep learning. PDH researchers are also exploring vital concepts such as bias in machine learning, the ethics of AI use, and consent paradigms for enabling the next wave of health data research. Find out more at www.precisiondrivenhealth.com.

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Regional and Rural Schools take out National Digital Titles

Smaller regional and rural schools from across New Zealand swept the National Finals for the Tahi Rua Toru Tech in-school challenge this year.

The 2019 National Winners were announced at a gala event at TSB Arena in Wellington, following 10 regional finals held across New Zealand in October. The National Finals were attended by the regional winning teams with students coming from around the country.

As part of the Tahi Rua Toru Tech Challenge, teams of 3-4 students find a problem in their local school or community and use digital technologies to solve it. Teams are paired up with tech industry mentors and given support and resources. Over 6500 students participated in the Challenge this year.

IT Professionals New Zealand CEO Paul Matthews said today that “Regional and Rural New Zealand were the winners this year, with winning teams coming from Hāwea Flat near Wanaka, Morrinsville, Rotorua and New Plymouth”.

At the Discovery level (years 0-5), Hāwea Flat School’s Team Happy Hawea took out the title, completing a set of challenges in the fastest time. It came down to split-seconds in the end and was hotly contested.

Morrinsville Intermediate’s Team Thunderbolts took out the First Challenge (years 6-8), creating an app game to encourage fitness by getting the user to move around Morrinsville to scan QR codes whilst seeing the ‘Herd of Cows’ (sculptures) on display within their town.

John Paul College, Rotorua’s Team ShumbaLeon won the Secondary level (years 9-10), created a website showcasing cultural diversity in their school and a platform for students to share their own stories and culture with other students.

And Sacred Heart Girls College, New Plymouth’s Team Red took out Senior Secondary (years 11-13), creating a medication box that sends bluetooth messages to your phone to remind you to take your medication, and has a motion sensor and lock and software designed to reduce under or overdosing.

The Ministry of Education’s Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement Ellen MacGregor-Reid helped announce the winners and was seriously impressed by the level of innovation. “A huge scale of learning has clearly gone on in the challenge. The majority of the students didn’t know how to write any code at the start – and yet that was such a stand-out feature of the innovations I’ve seen,” MacGregor-Reid said.

As part of the National Finals, the Digital Technologies Teachers Aotearoa (DTTA) and IT Professionals New Zealand recognised an influential teacher who has made a huge difference to digital tech. This year the Ali Chivers Teacher Influence Award went to Julie MacMahon from St Hilda’s Collegiate School in Dunedin.

“I’ve known Julie for several years, working with her on bringing about the changes to the Digital Technologies curriculum. She’s an inspiring and energetic teacher who contributes so much to her students and their profession,” Matthews said. “A very worthy choice.”

The Challenge will enter its third year in 2020 and is part of a suite of resources and tools to help teachers and schools implement changes to Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko in the Curriculum in a safe and supported way.

ENDS

About Tahi Rua Toru Tech

Partnering with the Ministry of Education, the IT industry is supporting the introduction of the new Digital Technologies & Hangarau Matihiko (DT&HM) curriculum into schools and Kura with the 123Tech Challenge.

In the challenge, small teams of 3-4 students complete a project-based challenge either in-class in schools, or through a local Code Club. Most will complete it as a classroom activity, but the model caters to both. The 123Tech Challenge is for everyone, not just tech geniuses (although they’re welcome too!). Schools are also partnered with an industry mentor, and the Challenge provides all the guidance and support students need to make a real difference.

Tahi Rua Toru Tech is being delivered by a partnership of not-for profit organisations led by IT Professionals NZ and started in its current form in 2018. 

The National Finals were held on Thursday 5th December 2019.

To learn more about Tahi Rua Toru Tech visit https://123tech.nz 

To learn more about Digital Tech/Hangarau Matihiko, http://education.govt.nz/digitech.

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