School holiday activities have come a long way from consulting a copy of 80 Things To Make With Cardboard as a group of primary and lower secondary school children discovered recently in a two-day computer coding workshop at UTS.
As part of a series of Bright Futures Week holiday workshops, 13 participants as young as eight worked with Apple Distinguished Educator Jonathon Mascorella to unlock the mysteries of coding in the Arduino language.
Their objective was to program the electronics for a three-speed oscillating fan, with parts for the fan 3D printed right there in the workshop… and not one piece of cardboard in sight.
Each student took home their own Arduino kit, complete with all the components needed for hours of fun beyond the workshop.
An initiative of UTS's International Research Centre for Youth Futures in partnership with the School of Education, the Bright Futures workshops provide a unique glimpse into university life according to centre director Professor Rosemary Johnston.
She said that aside from the world of technology, another 23 school students had attended a creative writing workshop led by prizewinning author of books for young people, John Larkin.
"The workshops have been designed to spark students' curiosity and to challenge thinking in ways that help young learners develop their identities as innovative and future-focused global citizens," Professor Johnston said.
"They come away making connections between subjects studied at school, topics which enrich and inspire, and pathways offered by tertiary study."
The International Research Centre for Youth Futures has developed several academic enrichment programs for schools and professional learning opportunities for teachers. All programs aim to expand and deepen horizons of thinking, grow senses of personal worth and inspire ideas about options for the future.