UC students help kids learn about digital world

05 August 2020

Children became ‘pixel maniacs’ at Tūranga Central Library when University of Canterbury (UC) students explained how photos are made on a digital device.

  • Computer science tech week

    UC’s Pixelmania event, held at Tūranga Central Library as part of TechWeek, was organised by staff and students from the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering. It featured fun activities and challenges designed to inform and entertain primary school-aged children. Photo credit: Christchurch City Council Libraries

UC’s Pixelmania event, held at the library on Sunday as part of TechWeek, was designed to entertain and inform primary school-aged children and their families.

It was organised by staff and students from UC’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, and featured fun activities and challenges livened up with regular prize draws.

The event was supported by Christchurch City Libraries and Digital Technologies Teachers Aotearoa (DTTA).

UC Engineering Professor Tim Bell says the goal was to introduce kids to computer science concepts in a fun, engaging way.

“Taking part in an event like this helps them see themselves as someone who can understand how digital devices work, instead of just playing games on them.

“We had all ages joining in, young children, teenagers, parents and grandparents and they were all engrossed with the activities, learning about pixels, hexadecimal numbers and ‘RGB’ (red, green, blue) values.”

The activities helped kids explore how computers store pictures using nothing but numbers, and demonstrated how photos are made up of digits that represent pixels.

They were encouraged to decode pictures by following a set of instructions. The material is available here and sets of printed worksheets and crayons can be given to interested schools.

TechWeek involves a nationwide series of events that showcase and celebrate New Zealand innovation.

It was postponed from May until last week because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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UC Communications

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