Abu Dhabi: A total of 52 projects were selected from 631 submitted by a panel of educational and industry experts for the 8th UAE Educational IT Challenge 2008.

The UAE Educational IT Challenge is a national bi-annual event under the patronage of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT).

The highest number of entries came from students with a total of 526. Categories for this year's competition included special needs, organisational/business, e-commerce and mobile applications.

"This year's IT Challenge has built on its own rich history as an innovative and internationally recognised platform for identifying, sharing and rewarding the best practices in information communication technology (ICT). Students, teachers and organisations from across the GCC have accepted the challenge to create projects promoting the education use of IT," said Dr Bradley Cook, Executive Committee, Abu Dhabi Women's College.

The event aims to share new ideas, facilitate closer relationships between the educational sectors and showcase UAE'S information technology talent nationally and internationally.

"The IT Challenge is an indication of the vibrancy of our educational institutions in today's knowledge-based economy. It presents an excellent opportunity for all participants to share experiences and gain useful skills and insights," said Nahyan.

A total of 631 projects were submitted by teachers, students, secondary schools, tertiary institutions and businesses. Projects submitted covered topics, including teaching applications, communication tools, teaching people with special needs, road safety, tourism, environment, history of the UAE, mobile applications and online courses.

More countries were represented in this year's IT Challenge than in previous years, with a total of 58 entries from countries such as Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. Over 500 entries were from the UAE.

In his speech on Sunday evening, Mohammad Nasser Al Ghanim, Chairman of the Jury Panel, 2008 UAE Educational IT Challenge, announced that some of the projects in this year's competition are of such high quality that he will be sponsoring them and take their efforts forward.

Dr Willy Chiu, Vice President of High Performance on Demand Solutions (HiPODS) at IBM Software Group Strategy, spoke to the audience about a new project under way.

HiPODS is a technology group which delivers end-to-end integrated solutions using technologies from the entire IBM portfolio.

Chiu's group is currently working on the ‘Blue Cloud' project, a leading cloud computing solution based on joint work with Google.

Cloud computing is an emerging approach to shared infrastructure in which large pools of systems are linked together to provide IT services.

The winners of the UAE Educational IT Challenge 2008 are:

Best UAE National Teacher Project
Qurtas v2.2 (Banknotes Database) -- Al Maarif Secondary School, Sharjah
Mohammed Ali Alhousani

Best UAE National Student Project
A Man-in-the-Middle Attack Tool for Switched Networks -- College of Information Technology, UAE University, Al Ain
Muna Muneer Otaibi
Wadha Rashid Tamimi

Best Organizational Project
Enhanced Learning and Training Center, HP Advanced Technology Lab -- Abu Dhabi Men's College, Abu Dhabi
Mohammed Arif Amin
Nafith Salama
Farrukh Zaheer
Sanjeev Ananth
Mohamed Ali Mohamed Eid Aldahham Al Mansoori
Imran Abdulla Hasan Abdulla Al Marzoogi
Naser Mohamed Ahmed Sultan Al Sheikh

Best E-Commerce Project
Oman Government Portal -- Majan College, Oman
Maha Mohammed Abdallah Al Bulushi

Best Mobile Applications Project
Smart Office System with Mobile Phone Control -- Preston University, Ajman
Zainab Raheed

Best College or University Teacher Project
Learning 2.0 -- Zayed University, Dubai
Janet Martin

Best Secondary Teacher Project
Qurtas v2.2 (Banknotes Database) -- Al Maarif Secondary School, Dubai
Mohammed Ali Alhousani

Al Reem & That Al Salassel Web Cam Community Link
That Al Salassel, Al Ain
Aisha Kamis Salem Aldhari

Best College or University Student Project
i-College (An Online College System) -- Higher College of Technology, Muscat, Oman
Jafer Abdul Rahman
Jafer Batcho Al Zidjali

A Man-in-the-Middle Attack Tool for Switched Networks College of Information Technology, UAE University, Al Ain
Muna Muneer Otaibi
Wadha Rashid Tamimi

Best Secondary Student Project
Personal Website to Teach Robotics, Photography and Karate, Aswath -- Indian School Al Ghubra (ISG), Oman
Aswath Sridhar

Windows Forums, Benna and Hadi
Al Majd Indian School, Dubai
Benna Iqbal
Hadi Mohammed

Mind Map
Sukainah Bint Al Husain Secondary School, Dubai
Hajar Abdul Rahman Al Ansari
Abeer Mohammad Al Janahi