The winners of the seventh Generation NOW, a national program for educating children and youth conducted by Hrvatski Telekom in cooperation with the Institute for Youth Development and Innovation (IRIM), have been selected. This year, 142 educational institutions from across Croatia participated in the program, and teams of elementary and high school students demonstrated great creativity, originality, critical thinking, and impressive use of their technical knowledge beyond their age.
The theme of this year's program was 'Green technologies' and how to connect technology with ecology and sustainability. The finale consisted of the 18 best teams who presented their projects to the jury and other event participants.
The expert jury decided that the best work in the category of the first to fourth grade of elementary school is 'Smart Rain Wings' (Frana Krste Frankopana Elementary School, Zagreb), with a project for smart garden irrigation. In the fifth to eighth grade category, the best project is 'Smart Household Water Management System' (Rude Elementary School, Samobor), which designed a functional system for more conscientious and efficient water management.
The best work in the high school category is 'Klicomat' (Technical School Daruvar, Daruvar).
'Smart Rain Wings' operate autonomously and are activated only when necessary to ensure optimal growing conditions while conserving water and energy. Artificial Intelligence helps determine the ideal growing conditions for specific agricultural crops. The system comprises three parts: a measuring base station, a water pump, and rain wings that spray water.
The 'Smart Household Water Management System' project aims to create systems for households using water rationally. The model simulates a home installation connected to drinking water, with tanks for rainwater and grey water entering from the washing machine, dishwasher, and sink, which is then used for flushing the toilet. The control system monitors the tank levels and automatically decides which water to use for each purpose.
The 'Klicomat' project is a device that allows individuals to quickly, economically, and automatedly grow sprouts at home, which have a rich nutritional composition. Klicomat has various sensors and pressure regulators that ensure efficient growth by providing precise data on important conditions - humidity, temperature, and time required for complete growth.
"Seeing what today's elementary and high school students can design is phenomenal and inspiring. Even more importantly, they successfully turn their ideas into concrete, functional projects with clear purposes and applications. This year's projects under the 'Green Technologies' theme provided excellent solutions that connect advanced technologies with ecology and sustainability. We are always delighted to see the innovative thinking of young STEM talents and are proud that our Generation NOW program enables them to acquire practical know-how that will help them realize their potential," said Igor Vukasović, Corporate Communications Director at Hrvatski Telekom and jury president.
"In the seven years of cooperation with Hrvatski Telekom, we have shown that Generation NOW is the most extensive Internet of Things technology application in education in Croatia. In this school year alone, we have involved more than 140 schools, other educational institutions, and more than 1,400 students who could use modern technologies to enhance their competencies in the Internet of Things, digital technologies, problem-solving, teamwork, and presentation skills. Through the project, we have trained over 150 mentors this year who have passed on their knowledge to students on how to use technology to turn their ideas into device prototypes, making the students creators of their own solutions, not just consumers of technology. The final projects students created are fascinating, creative, and complex, and we are thrilled to see what the application of technology and the education of motivated mentors and their students can achieve," said Paolo Zenzerović, Director of IRIM.
The other members this year's jury brought together were prominent members from the business and education sectors, entrepreneurs, and scientists: Dejan Donev, Digital Business Sector Director at Erste Bank; Boris Drilo, Member of the Management Board and Chief Technical and Chief Information Technology Officer at Hrvatski Telekom; Gordan Gledec, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing; Josipa Majić, co-founder of fintech company Revuto; Mislav Malenica, Founder and CEO of AI startup Mindsmiths and President of the CroAI Association; and Mato Njavro, Dean of the Zagreb School of Economics and Management.
Since its inception, over 4,000 children and young people across Croatia, and over 360 educational institutions have participated in the Generation NOW program. HT has invested nearly EUR 650,000 (HRK 5 million) in developing digital skills of students and mentors in Croatia, aiming to enable the most advanced forms of education that contribute to the development of creativity and innovation among young people.