Enjoying three awesome days at INTERFACEXpo 2021

After the disappointment of missing last year, INTERFACEXpo was back with a bang in 2021! Lincoln, Lower Hutt (for the first time) and Auckland played host to our three events. Each day was amazing.

Once again, we enjoyed three incredible days at this year’s INTERFACEXpo. It was great to see everyone and catch up with the digital education community.

More than 600 delegates joined us and 21 sponsors for a mix of presentations, workshops, exhibition, giveaways and prizes, and a spot of networking with like-minded educators. We had a great time but what did delegates think? Here’s a snapshot of the feedback we received.

What was best about the day?

Clearly, it was good to simply get out and catch up with other teachers and sponsors. And, as always, the fact the day is free to attend (plus, we feed and water everyone) remains a huge positive. However, the highlight for many was Sir Ian Taylor – and on that we’d have to agree.

One of the country’s leading digital innovators and thinkers, Ian’s unique style left its mark on the day. While updating us on the latest from ARL (the company responsible for the America’s Cup graphics, among other things), the theme of his presentation was Mãtauranga, a new and free resource he’s helped to set up that aims to help teachers tell the story of the migration across the Pacific Ocean 1000s of years ago.

“The stories are designed to inspire further discussions around STEM and Mãtauranga,” he explained. “Polynesian navigators on state-of-the-art waka crossed the Pacific Ocean guided only by their kinship with the natural world. These extraordinary engineers, scientists, and mathematicians created the paving stones upon which we stand today.”

It looks like a fantastic resource. You can jump aboard at maatauranga.co.nz

What ideas and inspiration did delegates take away with them?

There’s so much you identified it’s hard to know where to start. Learning more about Minecraft: Education Edition, especially Ngã Motu, featured prominently in people’s feedback. The variety of information available was also a big hit, with a lot of ground (and ideas) being able to be covered in a short space of time. Specifically, seeing the laser cutter in action and MOTAT’s Arduino workshop were both popular.

Overall, how did we do?

Ninety-two per cent of survey respondents rated the day ‘Excellent’ or ‘Very Good’. Ninety-seven per cent would attend again; ninety-eight per cent would recommend INTERFACEXpo to others.

Did the day benefit your school’s DT planning and purchasing?

This was a resounding ‘yes’. Fifty-nine per cent will be making decisions as a direct result of attending the conferences. More than one-fifth will be making purchases, with a further 46 per cent considering making purchases.

What would you change?

Having more time was a wish from a few. Unfortunately, there’s only so many hours in the schedule. Yes, we do pack a lot in but the day’s only meant to provide a taster of some of the solutions and services available. Hopefully, delegates saw enough to pique their interest and know what they’d like to follow up.

Where would you like us to go in 2022?

All three venues received the thumbs up and will definitely feature in future planning. Among alternative destinations suggested are Hamilton, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Taupo, Porirua, Timaru, Whangarei, and Queenstown. Plenty of food for thought – we’ll take these into consideration.

That just leaves us with a few last words of appreciation. Thanks to our presenters, sponsors and venues for your support. Thanks to our student helpers for their sterling work. And thanks to everyone who came along and made the days such a success. We look forward to next year.