Teachers and students from Taupaki School talk about how their Make Club helped to connect their school with whānau and technology experts. “We have our community sharing their knowledge, and everybody learns with and from each other.”
Stephen: One thing that we decided that we wanted to do is look at developing a make club outside of school and our board chair stood up and said that she would readily be involved in that. And, you know, forming that partnership with the parents and the board members has been instrumental in making sure that we’ve got a groundswell of maker culture starting to happen from a community level.
Paula: Everything we do is linked back and tied to our vision and maker culture, and making is no exception to this. Our vision talks about all our stakeholders as being vital contributors of the work that we do here at our school. This aligns really well with maker culture because makers are communities of people that get together, they share their knowledge and their expertise, and they’re continually building knowledge capacity. This is something that we value at our school where we have our community sharing their knowledge, and where everybody learns with and from each other. So we have students going home and telling mum and dad about this really cool game that they learnt in Scratch. And mum and dad might not have heard about this before. Or mum and dad coming into school and teaching parents, and students, and fellow community members about how to build a robot, how to wire them up, or learning how to build an arcade machine.
Student: My Dad, when he goes to make club he normally brings some work sheets. Normally, we’re trying to make an angry birds game to put in the app store in the make club and we’re also building a robot.
Stephen: Social media has been instrumental in making sure that we get some really cool people coming along to help us out at school. Whenever we tweet about something we’re doing at school, so at the moment some kids are putting some Nbots together. Now if I tweeted that, I’d have about four or five people saying, “Can I come along and build with you?” So opening up those opportunities for other people who might not be related to the school in any other way but they might have a closet passion for building robots means that other people can come in and we can learn from them. We’ve unearthed electrical engineers. We’ve unearthed a huge number of coders who would just love coming into school and talking about what they’re doing and working alongside kids. I think the message there is though that those people are around in every community, we just have to unearth those people and provide them with a place or a permission to actually come in and share what they do.
It’s really important for the students because in a traditional school sense, they would see one teacher a day and that’s their sole role model for learning, then they have their parents, but if they see other people that are coming in, who are successful, “Hi I’m a game designer and I make heaps of mistakes everyday”, then we’re going to get this attitude in our kids that we need to make mistakes, we need to make them quickly, and then we need to learn from those and move on quickly. The next step for us in that area is to turn our tech centre into a 24 hour a day, seven day a week makerspace where people from the community can come in and they can use the tools and use the equipment. We’ve even toyed with the idea of developing workers or artists in residence where we’ll provide you with the tools, all you have to do is be able to talk with kids about what you’re doing.