Nelson Inspire – an annual 2 day maker workshop in South Island NZ. 

This annual event is hosted by Ministry of Inspiration, an educational company based in the south island of New Zealand. The two day event brings over 500 students from all over the northern part of the south island. Nayland College, Nelson plays host by observing no classes for students (teacher only days) and neighboring boys college as well as Garin College provide senior students as helpers for the event which is attended by primary students.  

MOI make this fantastic STEAM Kit ( https://ministryofinspiration.org/product/steams-kit/ ) which provides atleast 10 hours worth of lessons in circuit design and programming using the Arduino. A class set is $1000 ( 20 packs) which is reasonable I thought. 

On 6 September, we (Victoria Outreach) were one of the 40 providers running sessions for the kids. We did a simple Augmented Reality activity where the students were coloring in a range of different pre-loaded sheets by QuiverVision, a company based out of Christchurch. Their support service is excellent and their website has a range of free AR activities ( http://www.quivervision.com/coloring-packs/ ) which will provide a lot of classroom opportunities to discuss AR and compare with VR. Bring in the topic of Pokemon Go, a popular AR game and students enjoy the discussion. The Educational version has a  fixed price (11.99) but comes with a large range of sheets made for the classroom. I highly recommend it. 

Since we had a 3 hour block on the second day, we decided to build a Microbit buggy and learn to program it. The construction took about an hour and a bit. The build quality is good except for calibrating the servos which can be a pain. As they come with a servo driver which also has LED lights you can program to sequence them as a separate activity. Link to the kit is here: https://learningdevelopments.co.nz/products/move-mini-buggy-kit  We managed to get the kits put together as the students worked in pairs and then towards the end, had to do a series of challenges which included automating a certain route in the classroom. Prizes were kindly donated by Victoria University Engineering. 

On our way back to the ferry at Picton, we stopped at a rural school called Canvastown school. It had two classrooms and about 25 students. We decided to run with the Augmented reality workshop for them. They kids loved the PowerRangers coloring activity. 

Augmented Reality has a big space to fill in primary education. If we can provide the right content and scaffolding, I can see AR transforming the classroom. I have already thought of a Treasure Hunt activity which I will create for a holiday programme using Unity. Using the Microbit is awesome because its durable and sturdy, and at $22 for a programming chip which has sensors and LED’s its a great buy. Email if you have any thoughts or would like ideas to use them in your 

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