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Science and technology pilot delivers – Rotorua Daily Post

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Digital innovation starts with Lego, at least in an Eruera St classroom. On Friday, the Digital Natives Academy (DNA) held its fifth and final workshop in its Inspiring Curious Minds pilot.

Using Lego Mindstorm EV3s around 50 rangitahi (children) aged 13 to 16 have learned how to build, program and create robots.

The pilot was designed to inspire them to get involved in science and technology at school and perhaps contemplate a career in the industry.

We’ve sensed that it’s opened up a new perspective that science, maths, technology and engineering can be fun,” said DNA’s Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule, one of the programme’s tutors.

“We’re trying to change perceptions; it’s about preparing our next generation to have opportunities. We need people to make machines, program and fix them. If we know technology can help change the world imagine what our rangatahi might create.”

The four-hour workshops have also focused on working collaboratively, thinking creatively, as well as applying culture to their work.

“We talk about artificial intelligence and the importance of maintaining tikanga within their culture and bringing that to the spaces they are working in.”

Ms Biasiny-Tule said the classes had been such a hit that they’ve had students wanting to stay behind the 8pm finish.

The pilot is going to continue, she said.

Rotorua Lakes High School student Glen George, 14, said he’d enjoyed learning how to program.

“The coolest thing was playing with the robots. You start with Lego pieces and it turns into a robot. We recorded sounds, moved it around and played what we had recorded.”

He said he was now keen to venture into engineering as a career.

“This has helped me make up my mind.”

One of the next things the academy wants to do is take a group of students to Auckland to the First Lego League competition.

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