Funding to help literacy in cutting-edge technologies

Digital Dunedin Fab Lab business partners Josh Smith (left) and Keir Russell, along with science club participants Matthew Gibbens (11) and Gabriel Vink (12), watch a 3D model of Mr Smith being printed at Kavanagh College yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richar
Digital Dunedin Fab Lab business partners Josh Smith (left) and Keir Russell, along with science club participants Matthew Gibbens (11) and Gabriel Vink (12), watch a 3D model of Mr Smith being printed at Kavanagh College yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The creators of a digital technology organisation say 3D printing could be taught to hundreds of Dunedin young people, thanks to $20,000 of Gigatown funding.

The Digital Dunedin Fab Lab was one of four Dunedin projects to receive funding from an $80,000 GigCity Community Fund pool.

Fab Lab business partners Josh Smith and Keir Russell said the funding meant Dunedin children would become literate in using cutting-edge technology, including laser cutters and drones.

Interest in the Fab Lab had been huge, Mr Russell said.

''There has been so much support and people are keen to make digital literacy happen so the project has exponentially excelled.''

The funding would enable the 3D printing and design course to be taught in Dunedin schools, clubs and community spaces, he said.

Fab Lab would collaborate with as many community groups and low-decile schools as possible to ''lower the playing field'' around the use of modern technology.

For the past two years, they had run a free science club at Kavanagh College, which was attended by children from schools throughout Dunedin, Mr Russell said.

Children in the club, who were like ''guinea pigs'' for Fab Lab, had already started drawing plans for 3D models after being told of the GigCity funding.

The business partners would also work with Kavanagh teachers to start a drone project for six pupils at the school who would earn credits towards NCEA level 2 for programming drones.

Other funding recipients were: Malcam Charitable Trust - $20,000 for Hive Dunedin; Urban Dream Brokerage Dunedin - $20,000; Landscape Connections Trust - $20,000 for the Halo Project.

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