Monday, 4 April 2011

Bright Sparks @ Matapu School

Today students from Matapu School got to explore some electronics with Andrew Hornblow from Bright Sparks. It was a very quick introduction for them, as the main purpose of Andrew’s visit was to show me how he works with kids and what Bright Sparks is all about. Never the less, though the sessions weren’t linked to any integrated learning objectives, they were very engaging, lots of fun and we learnt a lot about circuits, electronic components, control & programming. In fact it was very cool, creating preprogrammed ‘robots’ or cars, with a garish array of LED lights, having burn off competitions, developing sensors for measuring light and temperature and seeing how the data can be logged into the computer.

My focus was to look at how we could take this into an online environment through the VLN Primary initiative and extend this type of learning to students around the country – particularly to those who would not otherwise get this opportunity (that is the big picture philosophy behind the VLN Primary). Bright Sparks has a website and a club for students who are keen on electronics where they can earn points and access free electronic equipment, project ideas, mentoring support and enter Bright Sparks competition.

This is definitely a programme that could be adapted to the online environment, through real time tutorial support in our Adobe Connect classrooms and one that would have benefit younger students by introducing them to electronics and bringing those keen ones into the Bright Sparks fold. The challenge now is to find someone with the time and expertise to work with us to develop and deliver and online introductory electronics class for our kids….. I will keep knocking on doors.

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