High school tech skills tested at inaugural Maker Challenge

They came ready to make their mark, just as their name would suggest.

And Team Impact, of Lakeshore Catholic High School, did just that, walking away with the top prize in the Faculty of Education’s inaugural Maker Challenge.

The Brock competition saw high school teams from Niagara and Hamilton come up with innovative creations meant to aid others and solve common problems.

The projects were presented and judged during the Faculty’s annual Teaching with Technology Showcase.

Team Impact created a fully accessible cafeteria table to win the competition at Brock’s Hamilton campus.

With the day’s big win came a $2,000 prize that will support the Port Colborne school’s technology program.

The students were focused on creating something that would help people in need, said Lakeshore teacher Tino Nuccitelli.

When it was realized the school was without accessible tables in its cafeteria, the team jumped into action.

The students created a table with a void in the attached bench that would allow someone in a wheelchair to sit with their peers to enjoy a meal.

Nuccitelli said the experience allowed his students to hone their creative skills, but it also opened their eyes to the challenges people with disabilities may face.

It caused them to grow emotionally, he added.

Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School in St. Catharines placed second in the competition with an innovative approach to community beautification, and Stratford Northwestern Secondary School, in Stratford, took home third place for their accessible tech education table.

Dan Lynch, manager of Brock University’s BioLinc, helped to judge the competition and was impressed by what the students brought to the table.

The challenge stressed teamwork, co-operation and resourcefulness, and provided technological education teachers and students the opportunity to demonstrate their creative abilities and community spirit by working on a public service technology class project.

“The Maker Challenge was a success. It showed off the students’ creativity and entrepreneurship as they created and built some very resourceful pieces,” said Challenge organizer Tony DiPetta.

“We hope that this is the beginning of a longstanding tradition in our Faculty and we look forward to what students and teams submit in years to come.”

A full list of Maker Challenge submissions is available at Brocku.ca/makerchallenge.

The competition was a highlight of Thursday’s Teaching with Technology Showcase, which drew about 150 teacher candidates.

The event was designed to inform future teachers about the latest technology and increase comfort with tools available for today’s technology-driven classrooms.

More than 20 workshops were held covering a variety of topics such as social media in the classroom and using SMART technology to promote collaboration.

The event offered a “wide range of topics for all teacher candidates regardless of their subject areas or divisions,” said teacher candidate Alyssa Berardocco.

“We could all take something away from today and put it to use in our future classrooms. It gives us tangible skills and resources as we begin teaching.”

Maker Challenge table

Team Impact, of Lakeshore Catholic High School in Port Colborne, won the Faculty of Education’s inaugural Maker Challenge by creating an accessible cafeteria table.

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