Air students get techy

STUDENTS: James McIntosh, 10, and Max Matheson, 11, travelled from Gum Creek and Wilgena Station for the school experience week.
STUDENTS: James McIntosh, 10, and Max Matheson, 11, travelled from Gum Creek and Wilgena Station for the school experience week.

School of the Air students touched down in Port Augusta and took the opportunity to become digital creators thanks to a donation by Telstra. The group of budding inventors spent a day racing robots and creating their own digital devices, honing their skills and interest in digital innovation.

The ‘Maker Party in a Box’ donation allows the students to learn about technology by playing with it. Interactive equipment included in the kit aims to boost the technology and digital abilities of young people living in regional areas.

Telstra Area General Manager for SA Mark Bolton said the tech equipment was about inspiring primary school students and helping develop the skills they will need for the jobs of the future.

“Telstra understands that our world is changing and that the jobs of 25 years ago – manufacturing, administration and labouring are in decline due to technology and changes in our society,” Mr Bolton said.

“Technology and innovation are a central part of Australia’s future, and this program is all about building these abilities in our local young people.

Contents of the Maker Party in a Box includes Little Bits digital inventor kits, Sphero robots, mBot robots and Makey Makey kits - which kids will use to create digital pianos out of bananas.

Lily Hatcher, 10 and Lachy Fels, 12, are two senior students who joined in on the robotics session.

Lachy spent the morning using the mBot while Lily got the hang of the Sphero robot.

“There’s one that’s a little ball and you’ve got an iPad and you can turn it and move it around everywhere,” Lily explained.

Itinerant Teacher Michael Kerin was impressed with how enthusiastic the students were during the session.

“The donation is very, very important. I’m not sure about the dollar value but it’s something that the school doesn’t have to spend money on and fundraise for,” he said.

The donation from Telstra comes in support of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Conference which was held in Port Augusta.