What is Bright Sparks
Bright Sparks is three things:
The Bright Sparks Club: An online forum with over 2500 members, the Bright Sparks Club is where students from around the country share their growing knowledge in electronics and technology. Students receive points for contributing to the discussion which they can trade for great discounts on electronics components.
Older Bright Sparks who are working in industry or studying at university will sometimes stop-by online to give advice and encouragement to those who are still in school or are just starting out. The Bright Sparks Club is a community of technology-minded individuals and inventors.
- The Bright Sparks Competition: The annual Bright Sparks Competition sees school students develop a prototype using electronics, electrical engineering or programming elements over the course of a year, and send it in to be judged by our panel of industry experts. Finalists have their profiles featured on the website, and winners receive great prizes and can go on to achieve further success with their projects.
- The National Certificate in Electronics Technology (NCET): Getting electronics teaching into our schools, so students can have practical experience with technology through a project-based approach is important. The NCET programme is a subject that can be taught in schools, and counts towards NCEA. NCET is currently taught in over 200 schools around the country at Years 11, 12 and 13.
The Skills Organisation created Bright Sparks in 2000 to nurture those students who will be our nation's future engineers, electricians and programmers. At its core, Bright Sparks is about bringing together people with an interest in technology so they can exchange ideas and information, and give encouragement to those who are just starting out. It's also about getting young people to experience electronics directly through a project-based approach.
A winning Bright Sparks project can open doors to a whole new world.
(Above) Ross Petersen explains the Bright Sparks Competition
As Bright Sparks Manager Ross has been the man behind Bright Sparks since 1997. Despite being extremely talented and enthusiastic when it comes to all sorts of technology, Ross has not always been the electronics guru that he is today. Ross actually got into electronics after he had promised his raucous class of 4th form boys they could listen to the radio in class, but only if they built one from scratch.
With no background in electronics and therefore not knowing how hard it would be, Ross was forced to do some serious research. Since then, Ross has developed a collection of electronics educational resources [such as TechHouse] that are being used in schools.
He frequently mentors and communicates with electronics teachers all across New Zealand to help them successfully deliver the National Certificate in Electronics Technology, and of course, he spends hours on the Bright Sparks forum motivating young hi-tech enthusiasts and moderating their posts.