CELEBRATE MAKER WEEK!
Maker Week is here! What will you make? With over 130 international Maker Faires taking place during the week of June 12th-18th, thousands of people will be showcasing their individual and group maker projects; from simple jewelry design to larger-than-life robotic vehicles. Brilliant Labs is all about making and we want to help you bring your making ideas to creation!
Brilliant Labs aims to spark your creativity! By empowering students and supporting teachers across the Maritimes as they learn to code, work with robotics, work with electronics, 3D printers, wearable electronics, and much more through STEAM (science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship, arts and math) based makerEd throughout the province.
Following a very successful first year in New Brunswick, Brilliant Labs thanks to the support of the Government of Nova Scotia, ACOA, and some Private Sector partners started work in Nova Scotia to promote a platform to accelerate the integration of new technologies and project-based teaching practices. Sarah Ryan and Kim Desveaux, Program Directors for Nova Scotia, together with the Brilliant Labs team and supporters, are building the platform based on Brilliant Labs’ three pillars: Brilliant Labs (also referred to as makerspaces), Brilliant Projects and Brilliant Engagement. Modeling after Brilliant Labs’ success in New Brunswick, Brilliant Labs NS will see one makerspace in every school board, school based maker carts throughout the province, and support for hundreds of project based learning opportunities for students and teachers, as well as a platform for shared learning.
Ryan’s background includes over six years in science-enrichment and education. Ryan notes “the excitement around Brilliant Labs is growing. The teachers, administrators and students we have talked with are very excited to integrate the latest technology into their classrooms and build skills sets designed for the 21stCentury.”
Desveaux, a former entrepreneur and champion of technology education says “the focus of Brilliant Labs is on collective impact; the bringing together of communities, Government, industry, schools, NGOs, and more to support what is happening in the classroom. It is a total focus on the need for technology education and hands-on experience to foster a sense of innovation and entrepreneurship in our province.”
To empower youth and support educators, Brilliant Labs held their first Tech Integration Challenge, in recognition of Maker Week. Teachers from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick who were able to come up with creative ways of using the Makey Makey and tie it to curriculum outcomes received one for their classroom for free.
A province-wide Scratch coding competition was recently hosted by the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Brilliant Labs to help students in grades 4-8 exhibit their computer programming skills in a fun and educational way.
In October, Brilliant Labs will be partnering with T4G, CARET (Collaboration for Analytics Research, Education and Technology), The Dept of Education, CEED NS and others at the Big Data Congress to host the Student Super Power Challenge for Nova Scotia high school students. The Student Superpower Challenge is a contest that asks Nova Scotia high schoolers to dream big and come up with their own creative solution to a problem. The successful participants are provided support and mentorship as they bring their dream to reality.
Planning for the new Brilliant Labs (Makerspaces) has begun and plans are taking shape that will see these spaces up and running in the new school season.
With the burgeoning “maker movement” gaining more momentum in Atlantic Canada, the youth and communities of Nova Scotia will have opportunities to take part in projects with the support of the Brilliant Labs. Anyone interested in getting involved by volunteering to be a youth mentor or if you’re a company interested in setting up an Employer Supported Volunteerism program, sponsor a public school makerspace, or contribute to our Project Based Learning Fund for teachers, we need champions like you!
In April, Nova Scotia Premier, the Honourable Stephen McNeil, and Minister of Education, the Honourable Karen Casey announced the Nova Scotia Government’s official support of the Brilliant Labs initiative.
About Brilliant Labs
Brilliant Labs promotes project-based teaching methods and the integration of new technologies in Nova Scotia’s schools and communities. It is a part of a larger movement started by a coalition of industry and NGOs, which have an interest in growing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Arts and Mathematics) initiatives.
Brilliant Labs Nova Scotia
Sarah Ryan, Co-Program Director
Kim Desveaux, Co-Program Director
Jeff Willson, Executive Director