Hearos Team Prepare to Connect
On Wednesday 8th May 2019, five Upper Third pupils - Ibby W, Zak E, Charlie G, Amy P and Millie A - entered, and won, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Get | IT competition at the AWS Summit in London. Now in the 4th Form, the pupils have been working hard to develop their Connect Hearo app, which assists pupils with hearing impairments, and, on Wednesday 13th November, they introduced it to teachers in the Senior School staff meeting. After demonstrating how the app will work, the pupils asked for volunteers to test the prototype in lessons. Feedback will then be gathered and provided to the AWS Development Team to inform the next round of development.
The pupils have been invited by AWS to attend the Re-Invent Summit in Las Vegas in early December and they are all looking forward to this exciting trip.
The original competition brief, launched in the Autumn Term of 2018 when the pupils were in the Upper Third, was to develop an app that could help solve a real-life problem in their school or local community. 130 schools took part in the Get | IT competition, which was launched by AWS to fill the digital skills gap in the UK, improve communication and inspire young people, (particularly girls) to consider a career in technology.
Following a bootcamp at the London offices of AWS in December, the team returned to develop their ideas and their presentation, which was formally submitted to the competition at the end of March. Just a couple of weeks later, the team heard their idea was one of the final 10 to go through to the annual AWS Summit.
At the Summit, the teams were split into two groups of five, with each team presenting their ideas to their group panel. Each panel then selected one team to go through to the Grand Final. The day was both exciting, tense and challenging but the final test was the Grand Final for which the Prep School team was incredibly proud to have been selected.
Presenting in a 1200 seat theatre, whose occupants included the other school team finalists and members of the ‘tech community’, the team explained how their app, ‘Connect Hearo’ could help to solve the problems of up to 45,000 moderately to severely deaf school children in the UK through the use of speech to text technology. The Grand Final judging panel included top tech personnel from AWS, Cancer Research UK, the Ministry of Justice and Deloitte. The app will now be developed and marketed by AWS.
Wendy Sharman, Director of Studies in the Prep School commented, “This has been an interesting and exciting challenge for the children. They have had to identify a problem and think carefully about how they might solve it using technology. They have learned an incredible amount and we are particularly proud of their achievements. We look forward to seeing the app available to those who will benefit.”