Techweek’17 is about inspiration – introducing New Zealanders to the incredible technology and innovation being developed in their own backyard, and it’s not just for adults. Techweek was created, in part, to capture the imagination of the younger generation, because they are our future tech leaders, CEOs, and engineers. The Techweek’17 Next Generation programme is filled with opportunities for youth to expand their minds and satisfy their curiosity – take a look.
In Christchurch, this year’s Techweek will benefit school-age kids for years to come thanks to ARA Institute of Canterbury’s schedule of courses for teachers of Years 9-10 kids, covering rocketry, designing tiny quake-proof homes at Quakecraft, and building habitats for life on Mars in the Mission to Mars programme, which is supported by NASA and Fablab. Students from Years 11-13 can engage with their own potential tech careers at Next Generation IT Talents – a series of motivational talks from successful tech professionals for high school kids. Voices on Ed Tech! includes a discussion about the impact of digital realities on the next generation, led by Singularity U’s Henry Lane.
In Wellington, all the cool kids will be at the Hutt STEMM Festival, where there’s an epic line-up of activities for youth. Everyday presents a hands-on opportunity: to try 3D printing and cool experiments, to learn about bioscience, rocketry, and the universe. On Tuesday 9 May, students can compete in teams in the Stemm Student Challenge – a full day of fascinating quizzes and experiments on science, tech, engineering, maths and medicine. To top it all off, Wellington’s Techweek ends with the magnificent Lux Light Festival, a free, family-friendly event during which the capital’s public spaces will come to life in a celebration of light, art, technology and design.
If you’re in the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga’s Techweek programme focuses on an initiative called DEP – the Digital Enablement Project – empowering people to use digital technologies. With youth in mind, the week begins with Mashup, an event for school-aged entrepreneurs. Teams of four students have 48 hours to mash tech and business skills in order to find a customer, develop a product idea, create a business plan, and build a prototype - all with the help of awesome mentors. The challenge culminates in a final team pitch to a panel of judges. We can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Over the hills in Rotorua, the programme is all about events for Māori youth. There’s a 48hr livestream animation hack for young wāhine, during which they’ll develop storylines and characters. Digital Native’s Academy is running Taniwha Tech – a series of hour-length workshops taking youth through the basics of coding, robotics, animation and more. There are also thought-provoking discussions about ways to encourage Māori to engage with NZ’s tech ecosystem, and ways to grow and shape the Māori Technoverse.
In Auckland, DIGMYIDEA returns, the Māori Innovation Challenge’s final weekend coincides with Techweek’17, and will sees teams develop business ideas with the guidance of industry mentors. It’s run by two Techweek partners: ATEED and Callaghan Innovation. In Manukau, Digigirlz will teach Māori and Pasifika young women about the opportunities that await them in tech, and The Idea Collective at MOTAT plays host to Robogals, a workshop that gives girls aged 10-14 a chance to work with Lego Mindstorm EV3 robots. Also at MOTAT, a collaboration with OMGTech! will see workshops on software and hardware designed for 8-12 year olds as part of a fun, inspiring Techweekend. Perhaps the most exciting event of all is AR/VR Garage’s Rubiks Speedcubing Competition, sanctioned by the World Cubing Association, and featuring current world record holder, Feliks Zemdegs, who has solved a rubiks cube in 4.73 seconds!
The amazing programme of Techweek events for the next generation wouldn’t be possible without our partners, so thanks in particular to the Ministry of Education, for working to make New Zealand’s future as bright as our young people’s minds are.