Project contests: what, why and why?


Typical KDPV

Outside the window is August, the school is behind us, soon a university. The feeling that an entire era is gone does not leave me. But you want to see in the article not the lyrics, but the information. So I will not pull it and I will talk about a rare topic for Habr - about school project contests . We’ll talk more specifically about IT projects, but all information will to one degree or another relate to all other areas.

What it is?

A very banal question, but I have to answer it. The feeling that many simply did not hear about them.

The project competition is a special event in which one person or team shows the public and the jury their project. And they ask speakers questions, put assessments and take stock. It sounds very boring (and taking into account some performances, then this is boring), but you can demonstrate your creativity and it is very easy to win. Yes, and earn experience in public speaking, which will be relevant at some professional presentations in the future.

Why is this needed?

Victories in competitions are often valued less than in olympiads. There is a whole register of olympiads, but there is no register of competitions. But this does not mean that a good diploma does not give anything at all. With it, you can go to some universities (which, for example, sponsored or held an event) or promote your project (do not underestimate this moment, I’ve gained an initial audience in some projects).

But who said it’s worth going to such events just for the sake of victory? On them you can remove the fear of the scene, gain experience of speaking, hear criticism of the project, learn how to answer smart (and stupid) questions from both competent and ordinary people. And this is often more important than any diploma in a simple "olympiad" at the municipal level.

It is also worth considering that in comparison with boring olympiads, not only pure knowledge and problem solving skills are needed here, but also the skill of presenting information, getting out of difficult situations. You need to have charisma (highly desirable) and pump eloquence on a hundred.

Now that I have brought you up to date, we begin.

How to find contests?

If everything is clear with the olympiads (especially school ones), then with competitions it is sometimes difficult to do. Where to find them?

In general, I had my own supplier at school. He was a computer science teacher, for which I am grateful to her. It was with her that an interesting era began, she helped us (my team) with this task. Yes, and with many others too (sometimes it is difficult to understand the situation or evaluate your speech from the outside). And it can be interesting to discuss with an experienced person the organization of the event, the participants ’presentations and how the jury allocated the seats. So, I advise you by all means to find such a person in school.

But even if you do not succeed, you should not despair: dealing with everything is not so difficult. You just have to cling to something. For example, my teacher’s e-mail was listed in a huge number of newsletters. And each time new positions just came to the post office, she filtered them and gave all the most interesting to us. And you, my reader, need to try to do the same. Just try to search for communities on this topic, look for both city and federal. Any. You need all the options. In summer, the organizers of not all competitions post information for the current academic year, but you can search for information for the old years.

By the way, the season begins around the fall, when the organizers publish the dates. Then the recession around the new year, and activity returns (and even gets higher) somewhere in March. The season ends around April-May.

So, let's say you already have something on the hook. After that, you must find the position of the competition. There you can find the following very important information:

  1. Date and place.
  2. Nominations (directions) of the competition - some competitions are purely specialized (for example, there may be something in school mathematics), some are wider (there may be something in biology, IT or physics). Then you have to choose what suits you as close as possible.
  3. What can be used for protection (pieces of paper with text, for example) and in general, how it goes. Specify what equipment will be provided. Sometimes you even need to bring your laptop. I even had one event where they gave only a table, a wall (it was necessary to hang a poster on it describing the project) and a socket. There you could not even give out WiFi! And is this an IT contest?
  4. Criteria for evaluation. Somewhere, to my surprise and shame, they give extra points for the fact that the project was completed as a team. Somewhere for the fact that the project has already been implemented. Well, this list goes on. But usually it looks like this:

Criterion and its descriptionImportance (as a percentage of the total score)
The novelty and relevance of the work The lack of similar projects or something fundamentally new in solving old problemsthirty%
Perspective - plans for the development of the project in the future. You can simply insert a list with 5-6 options for improving the project into the presentationten%
Implementation - everything is vague here. This includes points: complexity, reality, thoughtfulness of ideas and independence20%
Quality of project protection (more on this later)ten%*
Correspondence of the result to the goals, the scientific part of the work and all thatthirty%

Let's talk separately about the quality of protection. This item may not be in position, but it is very important. The point is the key difference between competitions and olympiads: here the evaluation of the work is more subjective. If the latter has strict criteria, then the jury may just like the fact that you tell everything positively and cheerfully, your diction and intonation, the quality of the presentation, the presence of handouts (brochures with links to where you can watch your project live) . And indeed a lot of parameters.

The jury should remember your project, your performance. You must clearly learn to answer the questions that you will be asked at the end of the defense (or simply agree with the minuses of the project and promise to fix everything, this also sometimes works). And learn to tell complex information in an accessible way. Look at other performances and understand that 80% of them are very boring. You don’t need to be like that, you need to stand out.

My friend, with whom we spoke in almost all such contests, said that it is important to be yourself, to joke a little and not to memorize the text. And yes, this is really important. If you simply write a complex text, learn it and tell it, it will be very boring (I will talk about this below). Do not be afraid to joke, make the jury smile. If they have good emotions during your performance, then this is already half the victory.

Reference room for performance. Large screen, speaker board and comfortable chairs in the configuration.

How to prepare for a performance?

The most interesting part. It is worth remembering that there are no such people who make their project specifically for any one competition, and then they score for it. You just need to make a presentation very high quality once, and then change it for different events. I am not an expert in this field, but I think that some of my presentations look very good. Here are some suggestions:

Example slide from my presentation

What should you be prepared for?

I already wrote about the key difference between competitions and olympiads - everything is more subjective here, there are no clear criteria for evaluating points. Absurd cases sometimes follow from this. Not all of them I am ready to share in this article, but if someone is interested, then write in the comments, I can make a separate article with the most interesting of them. Let's get down to business:
Be prepared for complete non-compliance. The fact is that it rarely changes from year to year, but the conditions for holding change more than that. So at one annual competition in my city they still ask for CDs with a copy of the project. What for? Why not send it, for example, by mail? Unknown

From the first paragraph follows one more. The rules of the competition can be written about the division of participants into groups by age. But at the very last moment it turns out that in your age group there are 5 people, or even less. What happens next? You are united with some other age group. And so it turns out that almost adults 16-18 years old participate with absolutely children, who are 10-12 years old. And so, here you need to somehow take into account the age difference in the assessment. As a rule, younger participants are in a winning position. In my memoirs, this most often led to the fact that for frankly stupid performances children were awarded diplomas, and adult participants were ignored.

Often, the jury is frankly unfair. I had a situation where the whole audience strongly supported the project and the performance of my team, but the jury gave the victory to the weak work. And not only they deprived us, there were a lot of other worthy projects. But no, the jury decided so. And you can not argue with them, they are the main ones. By the way, if anyone is interested, then it turned out to be geography, from my region there was already a younger medalist (immediately an example for the second point).

Of course, be prepared for criticism. To justified and to that which is caused by a misunderstanding of the topic. There were very unpleasant cases when participants in the course of the discussion turned to individuals. Hmm, it’s very unpleasant to see it. Remember that you are still in a scientific (pseudoscientific) society and you need to behave appropriately.


Do not underestimate contests of this kind. They are really interesting and make the brain work from a different, more creative angle. In the article I tried to show that project contests are a very relevant topic, which allows you to develop skills, charisma and the ability to find a way out in difficult situations. If this article seems interesting to the Habr community, then I can do another one in which I will tell you the most interesting cases that happened to me at such events. Well, in the comments you can ask me any questions about the topic, I will try to answer them in as much detail as possible.

And what stories do you have about contests?


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