The Lions Scholarship Fund
Two years ago, Hayden was a shy, introverted student, whose confidence and passions in life were limited. However, since being part of Techspace Learning, Hayden discovered a new confidence and love for electronics and robotics.
A year 7 student at East Marden Primary School, Hayden was diagnosed with Autism and ADHD at a young age, and had always struggled to concentrate and socialise throughout school life. Hayden’s Mother Stacey, noticed Hayden’s ability to focus well on science and technology-based activities, and started searching engaging out-of-school activities in this area. It was then that Stacey came across a scholarship program offered by Techspace Learning, in partnership with the Adelaide City Lions Club. After applying for the program, Hayden was successful in his application, and began attending the Arduino based robotics workshops each week.
Educator and Founder of Techspace Learning, Don Eickhoff commented “Hayden’s concentration and focus has improved immensely while programming the microprocessors, and building gadgets. His confidence levels have improved, and he has found a group of people we like to call his ‘tribe’ that he can relate to.” Don said “All programs allow students to take ownership and learn while having fun, plus they are not limited by age. We also have Mum’s, Dad’s and Grandparents’ register for workshops.” Workshops are designed to allow individuals to have hands-on experiences in an informal and supported environment, while still allowing them to take ownership of their creations.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Hayden completed the last few weeks of the program online, along with the other participants. Even in this online environment, the program proved beneficial for him, as he was still able to interact with other participants and the educator, while continuing to share his joy for his new-found love for Arduino Robotics, an open-sourced and affordable electronics platform.
Hayden enjoyed the program so much, he went on to complete the Beginners 2.0 workshops and then moved into the Intermediate group, where he learnt how to code by typing out each command in full, rather than using the beginners drag and drop software.
Techspace Learning also offers several foundation programs in schools as well as participating in countless public science events with interactive displays, such as Science Alive, Brick-a-laide, and Maker Fairs. They are often asked to create programs for special events including SA Museum School holiday programs, Special projects for Libraries and OSHC school programs.
The weekly robotics clubs, provides a platform for people of all ages, to come along and work on their own projects or work on group projects, seek help from others and be with like-minded individuals. The clubs have expanded to two locations at Hallett Cove and the City, to allow more people to attend and join in the fun.
As a registered learning destination for ‘Children’s University Australia’, an organisation providing extra-curricular learning opportunities for children aged between 7 – 14 years, and volunteer opportunities for those aged between 15 – 18 years of age, more children are encouraged to join in the fun.
Don and his team also provide training for teachers and other professionals in the basics of Arduino programming, so that schools can introduce their students to this platform, expanding their creativity, troubleshooting skills and shifting their thinking about how technology may solve problems for the future.