Junior Robotics at the Learning Centre at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

The Learning Centre at Te Hāpua:  Halswell Centre recently staged the first ever junior computer science competition in Canterbury, called The Buzz Off. Students from year 1 to 3 came from a number of schools to compete in Beebot robot challenges.

beebot-city

This event was organised with the support from Professor Tim Bell, University of Canterbury – Computer Science guru. MTA (Modern Teaching Aids) donated a first prize of $300 to a well deserving Ladbrookes school. You would have thought we had given them a million dollars by the looks on their faces!

Two ladies from Google Australia kindly made the trip to support this venture and donated gifts for all children who participated.

The great thing about this competition was that it was run by students for students. St Margaret’s, Casebrook, St Peter’s and Kaiapoi North student helpers supported, guided and celebrated the younger students learning.

For many of the teacher/adult helpers this was their first visit to the Te Hāpua Halswell Library. They expressed lots of enthusiasm and many expressions of “This library is fabulous and we will definitely be back”.

You can experience BeeBots at the Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough and see more robotics related classes.

In our Learning Centre, students experience eLearning programmes aligned with the New Zealand Curriculum document. These programmes provide learning in a technology-rich environment and the teaching within these programmes keep abreast with the latest teaching philosophies and strategies.

If you are interested in working with us to tailor an existing programme or work alongside us  please contact us Tel: 941 5140 or  Learningcentre@ccc.govt.nz

Te Rerenga Kōrero – Eke panuku!

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori – The Māori Language Commission publish weekly Māori phrases that can be used to support or cheer someone on.

Eke panuku!
Win! Made it!

akina te reo rugby

Monster Making 101

Recently I braved the heaviest rain of winter to attend the WORD Writer’s Workshop “Teaching the Monster to Speak” hosted by the energetic Tracy Farr.

Tracy-Farr-2015-creditMattBialostocki-131
Tracy Farr (image credit, Matt Bialostocki)

Cover of The life and loves of Lena GauntTracy, who was born across the ditch but who we’ll claim as a Kiwi as she’s lived in Wellington for the past 20 years, wrote The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt in 2013 and received accolades for creating characters so real they could walk off the page. Tracy started her second novel and was determined to achieve the same rich characterization. She investigated her writing process so she could replicate it. The twenty or so other workshop attendees and I were fortunate enough to be able to share her wisdom.

To make truly original, realistic characters, Tracy advises authors to stitch them together, physically and psychologically. To extend the Frankenstein metaphor further, she suggests splicing character traits and collecting body parts. Take your mother’s dark eyes, your cousin’s dress sense (or lack of), your colleague’s habit of giving you compliment sandwiches and your dentist’s squint, and you’re on the way to making your Monster. Tuck away images or sayings specific to your Monster into a real or virtual folder via Pinterest or Scrivener. Make mood boards and observe, collect and record “whatever buzzes”. Place your Monster into a setting and move it around so it can start to take on a life of its own.

The idea is to transform/invent/disguise people you know to create your characters. Tracy says “be aware of when you’re copying and when you’re creating” and encouraged us to do a writing exercise every day. She assured us that, if we do this, something (or someone) will turn up.

Cover of WriteTracy based her workshop on four main writer’s resources: Sarah Quigley, Write; Linda Barry’s nearsightedmonkey Tumblr; Jason Steger, It’s fiction and that’s a fact (on Helen Garner’s The Spare Room); and The Exercise Book: Creative Exercises from Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters (see also modernlettuce.wordpress.com/tag/the-exercise-book)

Tracy Farr’s new novel, The Hope Fault, is due for release by the Freemantle Press next year. Make sure you keep an eye out for it – an eye, his ear, your brother’s obsession with drones, the butcher’s stutter, the purple coat you saw at Farmers… Make it real then make it strange. Happy stitching!

More WORD Christchurch

Te Rerenga Kōrero – Ka mau te wehi!

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori – The Māori Language Commission publish weekly Māori phrases that can be used to support or cheer someone on.

Ka mau te wehi!
That’s outstanding!

akina te reo rugby

School holidays – 24 September to 9 October 2016

Here’s what is on this school holidays for Christchurch children – we list holiday programmes and activities at our libraries and learning centres, and shows and performances for kids.

School holidays

Library and Learning Centre holiday programmes and activities

Our libraries and learning centres offer a variety of accessible, safe and affordable activities for children during their school holidays. Programmes and activities are aimed at children between the ages of five and 15 years:

Activities include spinning tops, Minecraft, paper doll making, hacky sacks, storytimes for kids and grandparents,  and board games.

Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough

Celebrate art, science and creativity at this year’s Fun Palaces festival! All activities are fun, free and suitable for all ages. Central Library Peterborough will be a Fun Palace from 10am to 2pm on the weekend of Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October (it’s the middle weekend of the school holidays).

Nao Robots - Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough

Children’s book sale

There’s a book sale on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 September at Fendalton Library. Stop in for some school hol bargain book buys – all books are $1!

kidsbooksale

Christchurch holiday programmes

The following organisations are running holiday programmes for kids in the September and October 2016 school holidays:

Search CINCH, our Community Information Christchurch database, for more Canterbury holiday programmes.

Find an OSCAR programme (Out of School Care and Recreation) and view this map of OSCAR programmes in Christchurch.

Shows, movies, and performances

Kid friendly movies on in the holidays include: The secret life of pets, Pete’s Dragon, Storks, The Railway Children, and Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children.

Margaret Mahy Playground - new slide and towers

Things to do, and places to go in Christchurch

Margaret Mahy playground

For more events and activities, search Be There and Eventfinder.

If you have any holiday tips or activities to recommend, share away!

Fun Palaces – Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October 2016

Celebrate art, science and creativity at this year’s Fun Palaces festival! All activities are fun, free and suitable for all ages. Central Library Peterborough will be a Fun Palace from 10am to 2pm on the weekend of Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October (it’s the middle weekend of the school holidays).

Fun Palaces

Here’s the schedule for Fun Palaces 2016:

Saturday 1 October

Fabriko Electronic Sticker Fun Palace

Make a card, paper critter or a fan that will light up with a special electronic circuit you make with stickers, batteries and LEDs! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Spider Phobia Demonstration

Who’s afraid of spiders? Don’t miss out on this experience to have Virtual Spiders creep and crawl all over a desk and up your arms! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Nao Robots

A HUGE success last year! Swing by and interact with these incredible humanoid robots! Both days, 10am – 12pm

Nao Robots - Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough

Interactive Trampoline Gaming

Come alone and have a try of the world’s first interactive, digital gaming system designed for a trampoline. Saturday 10am – 2pm

Springfree

Quiver Augmented Reality

Experience the exciting world of Augmented Reality! Colour in images the ‘old school’ way and then watch them come to life using Quiver! This is a magical and engaging 3D experience. Saturday 10am – 12pm

MineCraft

Get imaginative and create your own Fun Palace through MineCraft. Work on your own or with friends to create the MOST fun environment you can think of! Only 20 computers available. Saturday 10 – 11.15am and 11.30am – 12.45pm

HTC VIVE

Experience a 360-degree virtual world! This is the very latest in augmented reality technology. Both days, 12 – 2pm

Sunday 2 October

Fabriko Electronic Sticker Fun Palace

Make a card, paper critter or a fan that will light up with a special electronic circuit you make with stickers, batteries and LEDs! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Spider Phobia Demonstration

Who’s afraid of spiders? Don’t miss out on this experience to have Virtual Spiders creep and crawl all over a desk and up your arms! Both days, 10am – 2pm

Virtual spiders - Fun Palaces, Central Library Peterborough

Nao Robots

A HUGE success last year! Swing by and interact with these incredible humanoid robots! Both days, 10am – 12pm

HTC VIVE

Experience a 360-degree virtual world! This is the very latest in augmented reality technology. Both days, 12 – 2pm

Bee-Bots!

Come and learn about Robot technology by having a play with these cute little guys! Sunday 10.30 – 11.30am and 1 – 2pm

3D Printing Demonstration

What’s all the hype about 3D printing? Come in and see yourself during a live demonstration. Learn a little about how these cool machines work, what we use and other facts about this exciting technology. Sunday 11am – 1pm
Fun Palaces at Central Library Peterborough

Kitchen Science Lab – Solar Oven

Build your very own solar oven and harness the power of the sun to cook yourself a wee treat. Sunday 12 – 2pm

Te Rerenga Kōrero – Kāore i tua atu i a koe!

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori – The Māori Language Commission publish weekly Māori phrases that can be used to support or cheer someone on.

 Kāore i tua atu i a koe!
There’s no one better than you!

akina te reo rugby

Celebrating New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2016 新西兰中文周

The Chinese language has a reputation for being one of the most difficult languages in the world to master. If you have learned Chinese, you can literally talk to nearly 1.2 billion people, which is around 16% of the world’s population.

To prepare you for New Zealand Chinese Language Week 2016 next week (12-18 September), I thought these words and phrases might guide you into the wonderful and rather complex world of Mandarin Chinese.

About the Chinese language

Cover of My first Mandarin Chinese phrasesPinyin is the official phonetic system for transcribing the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet.

Four tones of Mandarin Chinese – each Pinyin has four tones and each tone often represents one or more characters, this is probably one of the hardest parts of learning Mandarin Chinese.

Basic words and phrases

English Character Pinyin Tones
Hello 你好 nǐ hǎo Both 3rd  – falling then rising
Thank you 谢谢 xiè xiè Both 4th tone – falling
Goodbye 再见 zài jiàn Both 4th tone- falling
Free (no charge) 免费 miǎn fèi 3rd+4th – Falling rising + falling
One 1st tone – high & level
Two èr 4th tone – falling
Three sān 1st tone – high & level
Okay 好的 hǎo de 3rd + no tone – falling then rising + no tone (short sound)
Christchurch 基督城 jī dū chéng 1st+1st+2nd – high & level + high & level + rising
Library/Libraries 图书馆 tú shū guǎn 2nd +1st+3rd – rising + high & level + falling then rising
Useful phrases
Hen gao xing ren shi ni!    很高兴认识你!  Nice to meet/know you!
Xin nian kuai le!         新年快乐!     Happy New Year!
Wo hen xi huan!         我很喜欢!     I really like it!
Yi lu ping an!            一路平安!     Have a safe journey!
Shen ti jian kang!        身体健康!            Wish you good health!
Wan shi ru yi!           万事如意!     Everything goes well as your wish!

Traditional and Simplified Chinese

Traditional and Simplified Chinese refer to the written text of Chinese characters. Traditional characters, as the name suggests, had traditionally been used for many years since ancient China. Nowadays they are most commonly used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Simplified characters evolved and were adopted after the establishment of today’s P. R. China in 1949, so you could call it a relatively “modern form”.  They are mainly used in mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia. Here is a quick comparisons of both forms:

Traditional Simplified
  (happy)
  (horse)
 (grandpa)

The debate on the use of traditional and simplified Chinese characters is ongoing. Supporters from both sides would argue over the political and cultural implications, as well as practicality and personal preferences.

Chinese language resources at Christchurch City Libraries:

New Zealand Chinese Language Week events at Christchurch City Libraries

Tai chi
Head along to a Tai Chi demonstration at Papanui Library during NZ Chinese Language Week

There are a number of Chinese-themed events taking place at our libraries during New Zealand Chinese Language Week, including bilingual storytimes, a tai chi demonstration and fun craft activities.

See our online calendar for New Zealand Chinese Language Week events

读书破万卷, 下笔如有神 (Ample reading produces fluent writing)杜甫

Yang Song
Māori and Cultural Services

Adult Learners go mad on 3D

My colleague Katie and I learnt something new this Adult Learners Week – how to make stuff and 3D print it! We visited the learning centre at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre. Thanks to excellent training from Danny McNeil, Learning Specialist (and 3D wiz), we went through the whole process of creating an object and printing it. We learned how to design stuff using 123D (software now on library computers) and Inkscape.

Words like extrude and chamfer are now in my vocabulary. I saw how a background in gaming – particularly Minecraft – can help kids (and adults) design. It gets you familiar with working in a three dimensional space –  orbiting, rotating, and viewing objects from all angles can be tricksy and new when you are not used to it.

3D printing
Designing a cat toy in 123D – involves some maths!

Danny took us through the process from woah to go – you can watch his how-to videos 3D modelling a step by step guide and have a try. People who’ve done his class have gone on to make all sorts of interesting things – new bits for their tools, flying vehicles, and more.

3D printing
Ready, set, 3D print!

I highly recommend getting out of your comfort zone and learning something new – this week or any time!

3D printing
3D printed cat toy

3D printing
3D printing

More photos from our training.

More

Adult Learners’ Week – a time to learn something new

If you think that learning is for children or for university students, then think again. Learning is for everyone and it is possible to teach ‘an old 0dog a new trick’.

If you don’t believe me, then think about this: I’m writing a blog on a computer. Computers were around when I was at school, but they were very big, very expensive and not very fast. Blogs hadn’t been invented and if you made a typing mistake, then you either had to start all-over again, or use correction tape. Thank goodness I continued to learn new things.

For those of you who would like to learn something new, Then Adult Learners’ Week / He Tangata Mātauranga is for you. It is supported by UNESCO, the Tertiary Education Commission, and adult education course providers. It takes place from Monday 5 September to Sunday 11 September. It includes International Literacy Day which is held on 8 September.

Lifelong learning not only teaches you new skills, it helps keep the “little grey cells” active and is a way of meeting new people. Our website can connect you with e-resources, books and courses. There will be something just right for you.

International Literacy Day celebrates the fact that literacy is a human right. The library has many tools which can help you improve literacy skills and those aimed at both students and tutors.

To get yourself  started, You will find English language skills collection material in our libraries. This collection includes resources for both people with literacy difficulties and their tutors. We also have Simplified readers. These books are popular titles that have been re-written to cater for people with different levels of reading ability.

When you can’t get to the library to borrow books, try our eResources. You can access these from home with your library card and password / PIN

  • Road to IELTS: General  Access a self-study preparation course to help candidates prepare for the globally recognised IELTS exam. It tests English use at a general level.
  • World Book Discover  World Book Discover offers access to reference resources for reluctant readers, students with learning difficulties, adult literacy students or those who are learning English as a second language.

For more handy hints, check the following, which you’ll also find on our Adult Learners’ Week page –