Dunedin Maker Party

After a fairly tough week, it was a massive effort to get up this morning and head to the Dunedin Maker party hosted by Hive Dunedin at Port Chalmers School. But I am soooo glad I did. It was an amazing day – mostly because I didn’t really have a set job so just got to cruise round talking to kids and learning new stuff.

So first for the stuff that I learned and/or really enjoyed.

  1. Mozilla X-ray goggles.

This is an add on for web browsers that lets you alter the html code behind the page. For example, Grumpy cat has something to say about the NZQA home page

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 6.35.51

It is (of course…) not real or permanent. But I learned more about HTML coding in the few minutes tinkering today (and watching the kids tinker) than I did in several concentrated efforts previously. And had a rad time doing it.

You simply click it open, click on a feature on the web page and the code pops up, and you can change it to whatever you like 🙂

2. Holograms

I have seen these super cool holograms on my facebook and twitter feed and always gone Man, I need to try that – and then never had.

Today I did, and it was AWESOME. So simple, so fun and so effective. I even got a pic on my phone.

2016-06-18 13.52.28.jpg

If you are looking to do this in class – I’d recommend putting the whole tablet/phone and acetate projector into a cardboard box lined with black paper – that is how it was done today and it made it really stand out well.


So these super cute little robots rock. Like really rock. They were a bit fiddly and I know the helpers running them had a few issues with them dropping their connections, but they were so simple and cool. My wee man Ollie had a go and LOVED them.

while the robots themselves were cool – I really liked how they were being used. The robot was a bit of a hook to get the kids thinking about how to problem solve around a maze they designed themselves – even down to getting the robot to do some little jumps. This required a run up, and changing the speed of the sphero made it easier to navigate the jump, but then made it harder to steer round the rest of the course.


This was just good timing. Great in fact as we are leading up into our fun physics topic for yr 10 and I want to build lots of catapults and trebuchets and other things that make stuff fly through the air.

The cardboard models will be perfect for making on mass in class – I’ll consider building  a wooden one…. but we are also looking at modelling some on minecraft…

All the other things

There was soldering, stop go animation, nerves, drones, lie detectors, potato batteries, explosions, a steam engine and kids climbing trees. It was soooooooo awesomely awesome.

So awesome in fact it is making me a bit down about what I will go back to on Monday.

Today I saw 60 kids all engaged, learning, having fun and not a single kid acting out.

On Monday, I go back to reviewing a test sat on friday and kicking off an internal that we will be rushing through to try and finish before the end of term, revising for a test on Tuesday, some calorimetry and (thank goodness for both my soul and for my enjoyment of the day) some more setting up minecraft servers and inquiries with my yr 10 class. I have a couple of unit plans to update this weekend.

Why am I putting myself through that? Why am I putting my students through it? Why does secondary education seem so immovably entrenched  that despite best efforts I struggle to move away from the content delivery model. Worse for the mood is I know I am one of the ones trying to at least explore and employ different teaching and learning strategies (even if I do still use the odd worksheet of practice questions). How can we shift our education system so that I can see my students having as much fun as school as they kids did today? How can we stop the flow of teachers away from our profession? How can we strengthen teachers and students voices to get positive change in our system?

So today was a great day, with amazingly dedicated and passionate people, some great learning for the students and for me. It was filled with hope that change can happen and change is coming. There were some amazing teachers there it was awesome to meet and connect with to keep growing my PLN and the circle of people I can bounce ideas off.

If only it wasn’t just a day….. but it will come.





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