As the new year kicks off and people return from their summer holidays, the iTnews team is pleased to announce the first tranche of finalists for the highly respected Benchmark Awards for 2020.
A large and diverse array of entries from the education sector secured this category pole position, with projects spanning from innovative use of digital education tools, to apps based on groundbreaking research and strategies to leverage new technology to streamline and strengthen business processes.
Time to shine
To let finalists deservedly shine in their own right, we’ll be announcing finalists on a category by category basis over the coming days and weeks accompanied by more detailed profiles on each project in the run-up to the formal Benchmark Awards gala dinner in Sydney on March 5th, 2020.
Of course, as the announcements are made, we’ll be updating a dedicated page listing all finalists as they come in.
iTnews Benchmark Awards 2020 Education Finalists
Department of Education and Training Victoria: ‘Mini Melbourne and the Archaeology Adventure’
Building on kids’ love on Minecraft, the Department first secured Minecraft: Education Edition (M:EE) as a safe version for use in every government classroom, becoming the largest global provider of the platform.
A dedicated ‘Minecraft guru’ used data from the Melbourne Metro Tunnel projet to build and animate a 600,000m2 section of the city, complete with its subterranean environment.
The Mini Melbourne in the game comes with historically significant sites for students to explore as part of the Archaeology Adventure lesson plan.
Students can also build their own interpretations of some of Melbourne’s key alleyways, arcades and lanes for possible inclusion in future updates.
Monash University: ‘aMigo’
One of the most daunting aspects of students starting university, especially for those who move from other towns or even other countries, is whether they’ll meet people and make friends, so Monash University got ahead of the game and built an app so students could meet before O-week even started.
The aMigo app is a social platform for students with similar interests in the same area to meet up, join groups or events and share their experiences and stories to help smooth the transition.
After arriving at Monash, students continue to use the app to engage with the campus community, which has resulted in greater attendance at orientation events and strengthened students’ relationship with the university - indicators which have been shown to deliver better academic outcomes and reduce attrition rates.
University of Adelaide: ‘International Eligibility Assessment Digital Assistant’
International students have long been big business for Australian universities, but checking their eligibility, qualifications and English language proficiency is a complex and time consuming task.
The University of Adelaide decided to automate much of the process with a chatbot that pops up automatically on the international students’ page on its website.
The bot offers a series of simple questions tailored to each student’s home country to pre-assess suitability for entry, powered by data on each country’s academic qualifications system and language analysis to gauge English language skills.
Aside from offering more assistance to international students than has ever been available, the chatbot has lowered the university’s cost to serve each potential student, increased the volume of pre-qualified leads and delivered a scalable solution to augment the Prospect Management team’s limited resources.