Cross-curricular extravaganza brings pūrākau to life

Issue: Volume 102, Number 9

Posted: 13 July 2023
Reference #: 1HAahu

Ākonga from Aupaki Kāhui Ako are still buzzing from Aupaki Tech Fest – a two-day event encouraging hands-on experience with a huge variety of creative technologies to retell special pūrākau significant to the local area.

Sumner School principal Anna Granger overlooks some students working on GIF animations.

Sumner School principal Anna Granger overlooks some students working on GIF animations.

Under the theme of ‘Exploring the past, Creating the future,’ 150 ākonga from six primary schools in Ōtautahi discovered new technologies and delved into their local pūrākau (stories and legends) in a special festival at Tūranga (Christchurch Central Library) in June. 

Aupaki Tech Fest involved ākonga from Te Kura o Matuku Takotako Sumner School, Te Raekura Redcliffs Primary School, Te Kura O Paeraki Mt Pleasant School, Te Kura Tuatahi o Ōhinehou Lyttelton Primary School, Te Tihi o Kahukura Heathcote Valley Primary School, and Our Lady Star of the Sea School.

The kāhui ako has held a tech fest for the last decade using the hall at Sumner School. 

A refresh of the concept for tech fest led to a cross-curricular, off-site event to utilise the skills and technology available in collaboration with the Christchurch City Libraries | Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi.

Aupaki Tech Fest co-organisers Anna Granger and Emma Planicka.

Aupaki Tech Fest co-organisers Anna Granger and Emma Planicka.

In partnership with the kāhui ako, the revitalised Aupaki Tech Fest 2023 was developed alongside Emma Planicka, managing director of Digital Learning PLD – an approved Ministry of Education professional learning development provider that supports schools to build digital fluency and creatively integrate the digital technologies curriculum.

After last year’s tech fest, kaiako got together to talk about next steps and brainstorm ideas to link the tech fest to the Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum. 

“We wanted to ensure the event was meaningful, while also bringing to life the PLD kaiako were undertaking. It was a real team effort! We also really wanted the connections with designing and developing digital outcomes and computational thinking to be stronger,” says Emma.

An ideal venue

The choice of Tūranga as a venue was simple. The wifi supports hundreds of devices, with many different technologies available to the public. It also provided PLD for kaiako on the specialist technological equipment, such as laser cutters, 3D printers, the labs, sticker makers, badge making, podcasting, and sound lab, to name a few. 

Plus, getting the ākonga to experience what’s available at the library is a great way to encourage them to use the resources after school and in holidays, says co-organiser Anna Granger, principal of Sumner School.

“We want our ākonga to know the full potential that libraries can offer and have an understanding of all of the amazing resources available,” adds Anna.

A collaborative ethos

The event was developed in collaboration with Ngāti Wheke and the Rāpaki Education Team. 

There are three core Ngāti Wheke pūrākau at the centre of tech fest teaching. The storytelling strands connect with re-telling parts of each pūrākau, weaving through elements of navigation, habitation, and innovation. 

Learning how to navigate the various historical records held at the library.

Learning how to navigate the various historical records held at the library.

“Our kāhui ako is continuing to develop a really meaningful and reciprocal relationship with Ngāti Wheke at Rāpaki,” says Anna. 

The kāhui ako team also worked closely with Christchurch City Libraries | Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi kaiwhakahaere ngā ratonga Māori manager, Māia Abraham. 

Māia’s support ensured library-led workshops involved culturally responsive practice and he assisted the library team to connect their technology workshops to the pūrākau.

Once ākonga had absorbed the pūrākau in a storytelling workshop on day one, they then participated in four varying technology workshops, where each of the stories shaped their creative content and the digital outcomes.

Some of the workshops were led by kaiako, others by librarians.

“Our idea is to provide access to many different elements of technology, so each child will inevitably find something they love, igniting a new passion or interest,” says Emma.

Day two of the festival began with an inspirational guest speaker, Avonhead Primary School principal Micah Hocquard, who motivated ākonga with his innovation. Micah talked about Banqer, the online tool he co-founded to teach primary ākonga about financial literacy.

“Through this experience ākonga can see how they can be creators of digital tools, rather than just consumers,” says Emma.

The kāhui ako received funding to subsidise the event for whānau, from the Ministry of Education Canterbury team, Te Mahau | Te Tai Runga, the Linwood-Woolston Rotary Club, and sponsorship from Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network and the Serious Food Co.

Aupaki Tech Fest is an opt-in event, which the kāhui ako intends to future proof, with fundraising already underway for next year’s event.  

A student awaits the signal to record a podcast.

A student awaits the signal to record a podcast.

Excitement and engagement for ākonga

“I loved Tech Fest! I really enjoyed learning the pūrākau and the really relevant link to our learning at school at the moment – I feel really confident now in being able to retell the story and understand it because of the links that it made to my technology workshops.” Scarlett

“Tech Fest was epic ... I really loved it and if anything we would love it to be longer so that we could experience more technology!” Marshall

“I did Tech Fest last year and enjoyed it but loved this year. It was so great having a variety of experiences of both activities and people. I loved learning more about early Māori history and being able to combine my learning at school.” Finlay

Using Lego for Stop Motion Animation.

Using Lego for Stop Motion Animation.

Aupaki Tech Fest Technology Workshops

Te Pūrākau ō Tamatea Pōkai Whenua shares elements of navigation. Tech workshops aligned with Minecraft creation, exploring the past with history resources, programming Sphero across Aotearoa, and coding a micro:bit to make a compass.

Te Pūrākau ō Tūterakiwhanoa connects with habitation, where tech workshops involved badge-making artwork, stop motion with Lego, creating digital art with Procreate and using GarageBand to create Soundscapes to match the moods and feelings within the pūrākau. 

Te Pūrākau ō Te Rākaihautū linked to innovation, with ākonga using map data to create laser cut artwork, exploring how to make a podcast, creating GIF animations in Procreate, and exploring iMovie utilising green screen. Students were keen to create laser cut artwork using online resources and map data. 

Students were keen to create laser cut artwork using online resources and map data. 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:27 am, 13 July 2023

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