Spark, Genesis partner to close education gap on STEM learning

Spark New Zealand Logo

Genesis and Spark are helping to prepare Kiwi kids from low decile schools for careers of the future, with over 900 Auckland students taking part in a technology-focused, Emirates Team New Zealand-themed learning experience.

Students get to see and experience the latest in digital innovation, computational thinking, and robotics – learning opportunities falling under the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths
(STEM) umbrella. They’re also growing their knowledge of both Emirates Team New Zealand and the America’s Cup. Dawson School from Otara is the latest to participate, with 57 students visiting on the 22nd of March.

Mobile Apps

Spark 5G Lead, Michelle Baguley, says that as the next generation of mobile technology, 5G, rolls out, it will start to revolutionise the way we work, learn and connect – supporting things like artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things.

“It is estimated that around 85% of the jobs that today’s learners will be doing in 2030 haven’t been invented yet, so it’s crucial that we’re preparing and inspiring our future generation to lead in a digital world. This programme has enabled students to take part in interactive experiences that boost awareness and interest in not just technology but all STEM subjects.”

“The Genesis School-gen programme has been energising young minds around STEM for over 15 years with the aim of helping them prepare for the future of work,” says Jenny Burke, Genesis Community Investment & School-gen manager.

“We support young New Zealanders and in particular Maori and Pasifika children who are disproportionately underrepresented in STEM roles to get a feel for what possibilities there might be for them. Partnering with Spark allows us to give even more students an opportunity to problem-solve through technology.”

Dawson School Associate Principal, Nic Hennephof has been looking forward to giving the students some real-world context to their in-class learning.

“What excites me about this initiative is that our students are getting the opportunity to connect the STEM learning we strive to deliver in class to fun, real-life experiences that showcase how these skills are used in the real world to solve problems. Our students are intelligent and resilient, and if we can expose them as much as we can to careers they can aspire to and strive for, I know they will succeed.”

Sixty students take part in the programme each week, where they are split into two groups; one at the Spark 5G Race Zone at the Emirates Team New Zealand base at Wynyard Quarter, while the other takes part in the Genesis Sphero Bolt Racing at the ASB Theatre on Halsey Street before swapping over.

Learning experiences:

The Genesis Sphero Bolt Racing sees students work together, learning coding languages to drive a Sphero Bolt around an America’s Cup racecourse map. They learn about the powers of wind and water and need to avoid hurdles such as buoys and lay-lines.

The Spark 5G Race Zone has students moving around seven different immersive zones that highlight the intersection of technology and sailing. Students can see how Emirates Team New Zealand have used Spark 5G to train, practice, refine and develop Te Aihe, the first AC75 sailboat in the world, discovering how everything from weather conditions to engineering refinements come together to create a cutting-edge racing team.

The partnership between Spark and Genesis demonstrates the companies’ shared vision to encourage and enable young New Zealanders to access and engage with STEM learning, to better arm them with skills for their futures.