Digital Sparks is a student technology design challenge and expo for public school students in regional northern NSW. 150 students took part in almost 50 teams. They spent months designing and building a project to respond to a need that they had identified in their community.

The kids had a great day showcasing their fabulous designs to the public. There were hands on activities for everyone including augmented reality, the Robogals, a virtual reality rollercoaster, RoboCup robots and more. Digital Sparks has legs and I’m pretty sure it will only grow from here.

A humungous thank you must go to my principal Wendy Cheek for partnering with me on this project. She is an incredible asset to our students and community! Big thank yous as well to the teachers who took part in the day; you went above and beyond to get your students over the line! Many thanks also to The University of Newcastle, led by the magnanimous Bruce Cheek, and Microsoft’s human magnet Lawrence Crumpton (the kids loved you!), for supporting young people in our community. To Robogals, UoN’s Engineering team, and Laura Chaffey and Nathan MacGregor, thank you so much for giving the kids awesome, engaging activities!

The day was also featured in the Newcastle Herald.

About The Author

Primary Technologies Teacher

Rob McTaggart teaches Technologies from K-6 in Newcastle, Australia. He is co-founder of the Digital Sparks regional student technology design challenge & expo. Rob is a Google for Education Certified Innovator who loves to help students to engage and create with the world using technology. He developed the RAPID Design framework to support students and teachers in these aims. Rob is a moderator for #aussieED and plays a logistics role for the team, managing the website and various channels. He is an ambassador and teacher trainer for Code Club Australia and runs a local Code Club for his students. His main gig is teaching 550 amazing kids every week which makes him a very lucky teacher!

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