Over 1,700 teachers descended upon the tourist hotspot of Rotorua to enjoy mineral pools, the notorious ‘Eat street’ restaurants, fancy dress up parties...oh yes, and attend the ULearn education conference! As you’re hopefully aware, ULearn is New Zealand's premier conference for educators, organised by the talented folk at Core Education. It is a wonderful blend of inspiring talks, high quality professional learning experiences, animated educational conversation platforms, cutting edge exhibits and breakout sessions.

This conference was Banqer’s second time exhibiting at a ULearn (with last year’s in Hamilton), and it was better than ever for three main reasons:

  1. The Facility
  2. ULearn’s selection and use of the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua was a success. Using the ‘Show Gizmo’ event app, teachers were inspired to scan QR codes found in exhibitor stands in a manner similar to that of Pokemon Go, spurred on by the chance to win a $1,000 Orbit travel voucher. This acted as a great interface between teachers and exhibitors, allowing for natural conversation to start, and to be able to share with teachers about Banqer without the feeling of a used-car-salesman. The food was also spectacular, with salmon playing a leading role on many of the dishes (they’ve done their research on teacher palates!)

  3. Our Breakout Session
  4. This year, we were fortunate enough to get the chance to lead a breakout session entitled ‘How to transform your classroom using Financial Literacy’. To our delight, over 40 teachers registered to attend (a great sign for teacher’s interest in financial education), and presenters Micah (Banqer cofounder) and Colin (from Linwood School) did a great job of showing how financial literacy has helped in a myriad of ways in their classroom, and allowed the participants to be included in a simulated Banqer classroom. Core Ed did a particularly great job of organising these breakouts, having it clearly laid out and organised online, and the attendance at each was a testament to this.

  5. The Teachers
  6. The teachers, of course, are the central part to any educational conference. It was fantastic to have so many come and visit the stall saying “I’ve heard of Banqer before!” and “So and so has told me about this”, as well as multiple Banqer teachers dropping in to say thanks or get some hot tips for their classroom. The energy around our stall and from exhibitors nearby was quite humbling, it’s great to know that financial literacy is being progressed and celebrated in New Zealand schools. The fact we can now offer Banqer at no cost thanks to Kiwibank’s sponsorship only made the excitement of teachers even greater, many were looking forward to getting it started in Term Four. While teachers were at the stall, we also gave them the chance to win two $100 restaurant gift cards, as long as they got a picture beside our ‘declaration’ poster. A big congratulations is in order for Charlotte from Rangikura School and Suzanne from Parnell District School - our two winners! Here are some of our favourite pictures, shared with us on social media:

All in all, it was a great experience on both sides of the conference. A special thank you to Core Education for working so hard to make it all work so well together. The whole team at Banqer is grateful for the opportunity and platform to share what we are so passionate about in such a great environment. We’ll see you next year!

Insights from Cam Richardson; first time ULearner and Banqer team member