Brody Paton drills a hole in a partially finished birdhouse while Linden Reynolds watches during South Canoe Elementary’s visit to the Salmon Arm Innovation Centre Makerspace wood shop in February. (File photo) Brody Paton drills a hole in a partially finished birdhouse while Linden Reynolds watches during South Canoe Elementary’s visit to the Salmon Arm Innovation Centre Makerspace wood shop in February. (File photo)

Lego robotics to woodworking 101 at Salmon Arm’s Innovation Centre

Experienced Shuswap instructors share their passions through educational programs

With the help of local instructors, the Salmon Arm Innovation Centre is rolling out a series of new courses exploring a myriad of subjects with a hands-on approach.

Some new courses are supplementary to courses the centre has offered previously. Woodworking 101, where students learn how to make either a stool or cutting board, is followed up by a class where students learn to make their own folding Adirondack chair. Other courses like digital photography and computer coding are new to the course roster.

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Each course is taught by instructors who have strong passions for either their respective crafts or education as a whole.

One such instructor is Molly Cooperman. Cooperman will teach the Youth Robotics course using Lego Mindstorm Robots. The course is best suited for ages nine to 13 and runs Mondays, beginning Sept. 30 to Nov. 11 from 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Cooperman, who has a degree in education and has led robotics workshops with the Innovation Centre in the past, believes robotics is a good learning resource.

“I think it’s a great learning tool, that’s kind of the draw,” Cooperman said. “I think the Innovation Centre has a lot of opportunities for learning; that’s also why I was quite interested in being a part of it.”

Using Lego Mindstorm kits, students will use Lego blocks, motors and sensors to learn about the different techniques of programming and the components of robots.

Ed Campbell will teach the previously mentioned folding Adirondack chair course. Campbell also teaches the Woodworking 101 course and has worked at the Innovation Centre guiding classes of school children through small woodworking projects. “I’m 81 years old,” Campbell said. “I want to share what I’ve learned over these 80 years with other people. Kids in particular.”

Campbell was a log home builder for 25 years and learned his craft alongside his father when he was 10 years old. Students of the course will learn how to use most of the tools available in the makerspace. The two-day course runs on Oct. 12 and 13.

If you have ever felt intimidated by the many settings on your digital camera, Victoria Rowbottom may be able to help. Rowbottom will teach both digital photography as well as the digital photography editing course.

Although she does not make her living from photography, Rowbottom still considers herself a professional. She has taken several digital design courses at Thompson Rivers University and has taught photography workshops in Salmon Arm for several years.

“It’s something that I just really enjoy doing and I find that I just love inspiring others to pick up their cameras and see the world differently,” Rowbottom said.

Each course covers basic photography and photo editing rules and techniques.

Courses that teach students how to use basic programming computers called Raspberry Pis are also offered in the fall.

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As a whole, the courses are important to Thomas Briginshaw, executive director of the Innovation Centre.

“They mean a lot, they continue the tradition of really high-quality instructors teaching really high-quality content for a great price,” Briginshaw said. “That’s what our Innovation Centre courses have always been about.”

More information on the rest of the courses can be found on the Innovation Centres website.


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The Salmon Arm Innovation Centre. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

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