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Unleash Space inspires New Zealand’s top secondary school science students

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19 March 2020

A group of 168 secondary school science students from across New Zealand were brought together over summer for inspiration and education by the Rotary National Science and Technology Forum. Workshops were run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to help fulfil Rotary’s aim of providing students with a wide range of science and technology experiences to broaden their understanding of the scope of educational opportunity available to them in the future.

The large cohort of 15 – 16 year old students had the opportunity to experience the University of Auckland’s large state-of-the-art innovation hub and makerspace Unleash Space and use its award-winning facilities. Activities included Robot Battles, using vinyl cutters to make vinyl cut t-shirts and the laser cutter to make keychains and jewellery.

Unleash Space Manager Sean Kelly says that the activities chosen were purposefully simple to make the technology fun, relatable and to give the students something tangible to take home with them at the end of the workshops. “This is the same approach we use with University students where we help students transition from playing to experimenting to prototyping. Technology can sometimes be overwhelming. The opportunity to handle equipment through a simple exercise ignites people’s confidence and starts students thinking about what else they can do”.

The robot workshops involved small teams working together to learn block coding and apply teamwork strategies. A Creative Inspiration and Design workshop gave templates for students to navigate a personal design process, which they then applied in vinyl cut t-shirt  and jewellery design workshops.

The workshops were facilitated by staff from Unleash Space, including University of Auckland students who are employed as Creative Technologists.

Unleash Space Venue Coordinator Ariel Dannenbring says “Feedback was really positive. We  had students say that they had no idea that the University had facilities like ours and were amazed at the possibility and accessibility of the space. It is great to see young minds embrace the creative process and become empowered by new technologies. It has been a pleasure to host these students and show how their interests can be used to broaden the scope of their futures”.

James Hutchinson
James Hutchinson

social media

19 March 2020

A group of 168 secondary school science students from across New Zealand were brought together over summer for inspiration and education by the Rotary National Science and Technology Forum. Workshops were run by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to help fulfil Rotary’s aim of providing students with a wide range of science and technology experiences to broaden their understanding of the scope of educational opportunity available to them in the future.

The large cohort of 15 – 16 year old students had the opportunity to experience the University of Auckland’s large state-of-the-art innovation hub and makerspace Unleash Space and use its award-winning facilities. Activities included Robot Battles, using vinyl cutters to make vinyl cut t-shirts and the laser cutter to make keychains and jewellery.

Unleash Space Manager Sean Kelly says that the activities chosen were purposefully simple to make the technology fun, relatable and to give the students something tangible to take home with them at the end of the workshops. “This is the same approach we use with University students where we help students transition from playing to experimenting to prototyping. Technology can sometimes be overwhelming. The opportunity to handle equipment through a simple exercise ignites people’s confidence and starts students thinking about what else they can do”.

The robot workshops involved small teams working together to learn block coding and apply teamwork strategies. A Creative Inspiration and Design workshop gave templates for students to navigate a personal design process, which they then applied in vinyl cut t-shirt  and jewellery design workshops.

The workshops were facilitated by staff from Unleash Space, including University of Auckland students who are employed as Creative Technologists.

Unleash Space Venue Coordinator Ariel Dannenbring says “Feedback was really positive. We  had students say that they had no idea that the University had facilities like ours and were amazed at the possibility and accessibility of the space. It is great to see young minds embrace the creative process and become empowered by new technologies. It has been a pleasure to host these students and show how their interests can be used to broaden the scope of their futures”.


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