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T Level Digital Students Shine with AI Project

The FE Surrey Project Competition Event (20/03/2024), themed “FE Surrey Creative Digital, Creative Digital – AI for Positive Change”, showcased the exceptional talent and innovation of the T-Level 3 Computing student team from Brooklands College. Competing in the “Accessibility and Inclusivity” category, they developed an AI-Powered Image Description Generator, a project that not only impressed the judges but also earned them well-deserved Certificates for Achievement.

The students’ journey into the world of AI was both challenging and rewarding. Their project aimed to create a tool that could generate detailed descriptions of images, enhancing accessibility for visually impaired individuals. This innovative approach demonstrated not only their technical prowess but also a deep understanding of how technology can drive positive change in society.

Throughout the project development, the students adopted De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” methodology for generating creative ideas. With the facilitation of their teacher, Dr. Katya Toneva, the students explored different perspectives and thinking styles to enhance their creativity and problem-solving skills. This methodology encouraged them to think broadly and critically, considering all aspects of their project from emotional, analytical, and creative angles. By engaging in this collaborative approach, they not only enhanced their project outcomes but also built strong bonds and friendships among the team members, fostering a sense of belonging and mutual support.

Additionally, the team embraced Agile project methodology, which significantly influenced their project management and execution. Through Agile, they learned to work in iterative cycles, allowing for continuous feedback and improvement. This approach not only kept the project on track but also fostered adaptability and responsiveness to challenges.

The students greatly enhanced their technical skills during the project. They delved into AI, gaining a solid understanding of these cutting-edge technologies. Using resources such as Google Colab, they honed their programming skills, particularly in Python, and became proficient in various AI libraries. This hands-on experience was invaluable in preparing them for future endeavours in the tech industry.

Presentation skills were another area where the students showed remarkable growth. The competition required them to present their project to a panel of judges, which helped them develop the ability to communicate complex technical concepts clearly and effectively. They learned to use visual aids to support their narrative, making their presentations more engaging and informative. This experience was crucial in building their confidence in public speaking and pitching ideas.

The collaborative nature of the project fostered strong teamwork and interpersonal skills among the students. By using De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” methodology, they learned to appreciate and integrate diverse viewpoints, leading to more robust and innovative solutions. This collaborative framework encouraged them to work together seamlessly, dividing tasks based on individual strengths and brainstorming solutions to challenges as a team. This cooperative environment not only enhanced the students’ problem-solving abilities but also taught them the importance of clear communication and mutual support.

An essential element of the student team’s success was the enormous project support from the Head of Department, Haley Lawson. Her unwavering encouragement and provision of necessary resources were pivotal in empowering the students to pursue their ambitious project. Her leadership and dedication significantly contributed to creating an environment where students felt supported and motivated to excel.

Understanding the importance of branding, the team also created an inspirational project logo and slogan. This branding effort helped to encapsulate their mission and vision, making their project more memorable and impactful. It also provided them with a practical lesson in marketing and the power of a cohesive brand identity.

Winning Certificates for Achievement was a significant confidence booster for the students. It validated their hard work and dedication, proving that their innovative ideas could stand out in a competitive environment. This recognition also bolstered their self-assurance in their technical and presentation abilities, giving them the confidence to tackle future projects with even greater enthusiasm.

The student project team was invited by the Principal of the College and CEO to present the project outcomes in front of the Senior Management Team. The students impressed the College Senior Leaders not only with the project technical achievements but also with their project working approaches, particularly De Bono’s Thinking Hats methodology. The students were encouraged to make a proposal for further project developments during their second year of study in the college. They are considering this exciting opportunity that will allow them to further enhance their employability skills.The success of the student team had a positive impact on Brooklands College’s reputation. It highlighted the college’s commitment to nurturing talent and providing students with the resources and support needed to excel. The use of advanced tools like Google Colab showcased the college’s dedication to offering state-of-the-art learning environments. Additionally, the students’ achievement served as an inspiration to their peers, demonstrating the potential for excellence and innovation within the college.

In conclusion, the T-Level 3 Computing student team’s participation in the FE Surrey Project Competition Event was a transformative experience. Their AI-Powered Image Description Generator addressed a critical need for accessibility while providing them with invaluable skills and experiences.

The adoption of De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” methodology under the guidance of Dr. Katya Toneva played a crucial role in fostering their creativity and collaborative skills. Embracing Agile project methodology further enhanced their project management capabilities.

The enormous support from the Head of Department, Haley Lawson, ensured they had the resources and encouragement needed to succeed.

The students’ understanding of the importance of branding through the creation of a project logo and slogan added a professional touch to their project. This multifaceted approach not only contributed to their personal and professional growth but also enhanced the image of Brooklands College. The support from the Computing department and access to advanced resources played a crucial role in the student team’s success, paving the way for many more milestones in their journey towards success.

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