Abu Dhabi: Over 250 high school students across 50 private and public schools in the emirate participated in the first ‘Microsoft Imagine Us' competition, by using computer applications to help solve modern-day problems.

The competition was launched last March by the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and Microsoft Gulf, with the aim of developing the skills, imagination and creativity of students from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Gharbia.

Teams of three and four students in three different categories took part in web design, digital video, and graphic design. The top five teams from each category presented their projects on diverse topics such as obesity, global warming, poverty, and the environment to a panel of judges comprising creative, graphic, and education professionals.Four Emirati female students from a school in Al Ain known as Institute of Applied Technology based their project on how their imaginary foundation, called ICT, would help defeat poverty.

They presented their ideas on tackling hunger worldwide through a virtual donation blog, videos, and graphic design.

Another group of students from Al Ruwaid Model School demonstrated how they would tackle obesity. "Our aim is to create public awareness regarding the rapidly growing sedentary lifestyle, bad eating habits, and increase in weight among students, which is also hereditary. We included a calculator in our website, which detects a persons body mass index (BMI)," said Husain Al Saadi, a student involved with the project.

Fresh thinking

Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, ADEC director general, said: "Competitions such as Imagine Us are great ways to challenge our students, while allowing them to explore their abilities and passion. Competitions are great ways to prepare a new generation of future leaders by improving their skills in problem-solving, creative thinking, scientific research, teamwork; getting away from the conventional method of education."