I had an interesting glimpse into the world of young people and technology this week as a judge for an education awards program in Ottawa.

The Aga Khan Foundation operates this awards program in six Canadian cities covering things such as sports, volunteering, arts, culture, leadership, science and technology, and involves students from Grade 7 to post-secondary.

Faiza Hirji, a professor at Carleton University, is chair of the Ottawa program. I asked her why there were only two entrants in science and tech category.

She said, “I don’t think there is a lack of interest but perhaps a lack of confidence.” Tam Matthews, headmaster of Ashbury College, told me they are having problems getting entries largely because “students are simply so busy that they can’t afford the time to submit an entry.”

Case in point: As a Grade 8 student last year, Adil Abdulla was tops in his grade for academic marks. He created the school’s top science fair entry, participated in three sports teams, was on the school band and choir plus debating team, raised $25,000 in a charity walk, is active in his religion and mentions the likes of former Ontario premier, Mike Harris, as an acquaintance. It’s no wonder he won a total of five awards, including in my area for judging, science and tech. Afterwards, he told me he gets five to six hours of sleep each night and uses six calendars to keep his life straight. He plans to be a doctor and then his ultimate goal is to be a politician. The well-spoken young man gives a gentle shake of the head, no, when asked if tech was a career possibility.

The other science and tech winner was Carleton University third-year industrial design student Rahim Bhimani. He likes the challenge of designing products for use by consumers. In high school he won first place in two national design contests.

There are many in tech that see proper design as a key part of producing a product that’s a winner in the marketplace. Take a look at the Apple iPhone and its user-friendly design.

Bhimani also takes business courses and sees himself as a businessman first with skills in industrial design. He says tech will only grow in the future and he wants to be a part of that growth.

Website of the week: www.qik.com

For the video junkies out there, Qik offers taped video and also lots of live video.

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