The 2021 Digital Technologies Roadshow is a part of the Computer Science course offered at Greymouth High School and is a way for the students to step out of their own comfort zone and explore the opportunities and pathways available to them. In the first two terms the Level 1, 2 & 3 Digital Technologies students propose a digital outcome and with user and stakeholder feedback, design and develop a working prototype for their project in a learning team or with a peer programmer. Term 3 is an iterative journey of refining and accommodating new knowledge and change as they continue to design their project keeping hardware  and software in mind from an ethical perspective.

Our focus for the roadshow was to look at innovative and creative work spaces that students were beginning to use to make the use of Digital Technologies the norm. Our final port of call was the Computer Science Lab at the University of Canterbury, where the students had an opportunity to present their ideas to professor Tim Bell and get his feedback and thoughts to incorporate in their own projects. Byron Howard, Matt Mann, Cam Dickey and Liam Belcher elaborated on the Ground Rover Project and explained how the Raspberry Pi would work with the Microbit to control the movement. Joel Dumelow, Caleb Wanstall and Daniel Smith presented their VR project for designing an interactive game on Unity for Year 7 & 8 students in the Kahui Ako and received some invaluable feedback about keeping the focus group small for metacognitive thinking processes. Designing games around computer science concepts, Yotam Perchig, Isaac Negri and Finn Elford explored trackability with professor Bell and enjoyed trying to solve the CS Unplugged problem for ice cream trucks. Mackenzie Hallberg is passionate about his music and he shared his website which hosts his podcast and his aim to run a concert to showcase his work. Tim Bell said that it was definitely “inspiring” to hear the project ideas and he looked forward to the iterative designs.

Visiting Tu Tūranga was definitely a highlight and we loved making our way up to the top floor to observe some innovative projects being made by some Year 7 & 8 students using the design labs. We were welcomed into Burnside High and discovered that similar software and processes were used, albeit with many more students, to design and develop some awesome projects. It was wonderful to share some of our ideas which generated great conversations.

The Christchurch museum was awe-inspiring and I could have easily spent a few more hours there. Graham Benett’s inspiring play on materials and objects using the Laser Cutter and CNC machine was fascinating as he used ‘Axis and Axes’ to balance and display Pacifica motifs.  The students and the parents volunteers managed to forge some wonderful bonds and I hope that the pathways ahead are influenced by the new ideas and knowledge we acquired on the Digital Technologies Roadshow to Christchurch.