Day Three: Family Day, The Autism Reality Experience, & More

A family enjoying the Game Arcade.

Saturday proved to be a day that was filled with fun for all ages. Every year, Digifest opens its doors to the public in the hopes of educating and sparking new conversations about the future. Families were given the opportunity to experience the expo floor of the Interactive Zone, play several games in our arcade, or sit in on talks from leading educators or young creators.

Arushi and Artash Nath holding their creations from the STEAMLabs workshop.

Notably, Arushi and Artash Nath of HotPopRobot gave a talk on what they believe is the best way to learn science and how to teach others to do it. They recounted their achievements and accomplishments in robotics and rocket science, citing that the best way to grow is to become passionate about solving difficult challenges and using technology to our advantage.

Arik Pipestem presenting the Discovering Hoop Dance workshop.

Along with our talks, there were several workshops for youth to enjoy, such as Discovering Hoop Dance, which was led by dance artist Arik Pipestem. First Nations’ hoop dance is older than the grass but younger than the mountains. The workshop led kids and parents together through the meaning and context of hoop dance, learning the basics and various steps.

 

A creation from the Robotic Dreams Future Cities workshop by STEAMLabs.

Another favourable workshop was Robotic Dreams Future Cities by STEAMLabs, which taught kids how to use robotic components such as a servo motor and controller in order to create a future device of their own making.

The Autism Reality Experience truck and team braving the windy weather.

Despite the windy weather, many people attending were able to go outside and try out one of demos on Family Day. The Autism Reality Experience is an innovative and inspirational training session designed to give participants a virtual experience of living with autism. It’s a very practical and hands on experience that sets out to give participants a greater understanding and insight into autism.

Participants of the Autism Reality Experience discussing their experiences.

The goal of the experience is to introduce a virtual experience of autism and then receive feedback and reflection on one’s own responses and feelings during the experience. More than anything, this demo served as an educational tool for those who might be unfamiliar with autism and is curious to learn more. The experience opened up discussion, prompting empathy from participants as they were able to get a small peek on what it was like to live differently than they’re used to.

Berta Pavlov presenting the research behind her Decoding Dior exhibition at the Educators Forum.

Family Day proved to be an interactive and vibrant day filled with learning opportunities and fun. Our curated talks proved that education and technology are developing to be mutually beneficial. Activities featured in workshops were able to help families bond and encourage learning in children who attended. Digifest 2019 wrapped on a fun and lively note, with fun and learning for the whole family.

Participants having fun playing Trail Mix in the Game Arcade.

Over the past few days, we’ve gotten to experience all aspects of creative growth from discussions on new technologies to performances that incorporate traditional First Nations dance. Creative growth might mean something different for everyone, but it’s clear that it’s something we can develop as a community, because when we do it opens up new opportunities for everyone to have a better future.

– Araceli Ferrara, Guest Blogger
Find her on IG here.

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