Stemettes Women Shift Digital / Keynote by Anne-Marie Imafidon

Great Keynote talk by Anne-Marie Imafidon* @WomenShiftDigi featuring my little girls computing groups as a great example on how to engage young girls in STEM @aimafidon

Women Shift Digital / Keynote by Anne-Marie Imafidon from body>data>space on Vimeo.

*Anne-Marie Imafidon (born 1990) is a British computing, mathematics and language child prodigy.[1] She is one of the youngest to pass two GCSEs in two different subjects while in primary school. She passed two GCSE Examinations (in Mathematics and Information technology) at the age of 11.

Video Game in a Cardboard Box – using a Teagueduino board

It’s a Video Game in a Cardboard Box – using a Teagueduino board

Adam Kumpf made it using a Teagueduino and a few inputs and outputs to put together a physical side-scrolling video game. To control it, there’s a knob on the side. As time advances the game gets faster and faster

The complete source code is available on teagueduino.org

Zac and The Neverland Pi-rates – Part 1

This is Zac. He loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I gave him a Raspberry Pi today and we’re going to mash them up!

 

Zac and the Pi - part 1
Zac and the Pi – part 1

He’s almost 4 and we’re going to turn his room into a treasure Island adventure with his Raspberry Pi.

Zac loves Jake and the Neverland pirates so I thought it would be fun to use the Pi in his room to create an interactive treasure map on his wall – one that changes the location of the treasure each time he plays!

Jake Neverland Pirates Treasure Map
Jake Neverland Pirates Treasure Map

I’ll document what we’re building over the next few weeks, the how to diagrams and of course any source code we write.

In the meantime feel free to ask any questions on twitter @danfbridge

 

Raspberry Pi – The Girls Takeover the Pi Shop (in pictures!)

Today I took our group of 20 girls to see how the Raspberry Pi is made at the Sony Pencoed facility in South Wales. Which, luckily for us is literally down the road. Must to say that Sony and the team that showed us around were absolutely fantastic!

Quick stat: They make 30,000 Pi’s a week – and when demand is high have gone up to 60,000!

Ian the Sony guide
Ian the Sony guide

This was the youngest group of visitors they’d had and were really excited to see such an enthusiastic all girl group. After the past 5 weeks of working with them, it was a real treat to hear them talking about CPU’s, Memory and Programs as I pointed out bits of circuitry to them!

I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking:

Mum, I Want To Build A Computer – take away from GameCity

GameCity Craft Computer
GameCity Craft Computer

Something unexpected happened during our week at GameCity running the Craft Computer workshops. We didn’t stop!

I want to build a computer!

was the surprising response most children had when they saw us.

I was expecting a curious few to attend but we had a lot of very happy excited children sat with us building computers, learning about pixels and art for pretty much the whole time we were there.

In fact, during the first day I was literally hidden away in closed off room on the fifth (top) floor of Waterstones and we still had a continuous stream of visitors. Every single one had come specifically as the children wanted to build a computer after seeing a write up in the event programme.

One parent had a long conversation with Russell about how she’d been reading our blog posts “with interest” – and now we know where our other reader is from now 🙂

Joking aside, it’s clear that there is a growing and real interest in this area from people that might ordinarily see this material as out of reach but craft makes it accessible. And it’s more than just code clubs too. Craft approaches and the Internet of things promises to provide tangible and fun material to play/learn with.

Hackable Games, MicroTowns and the Craft Computer at GameCity

Hackable Games, MicroTowns and the Craft Computer at GameCity.

MicroTowns
MicroTowns

Very Exciting!

We’ll be running kids coding workshops at the forthcoming GameCity 8 in Nottingham from October 23rd to 26th.

But even more exciting, we’ll be showing of our Hackable game MicroTowns for the very first time. I know! I can barely type for the all the hoopla.

What’s a hackable game you ask?

A hackable game is one that allows you to hack on the ‘code’ of the game while you’re playing it or running it.

Aimed at children at Key Stage 1 and 2 (KS1 / KS2) ages we’ll be making Craft Computers to learn about the main components inside and some Computing fundamentals such as files and programs.

After they’ve mastered their hardware we’ll let them loose on our MicroTowns prototype which will teach them the basics of Computational thinking and programming.

MicroTown Logo
MicroTown Logo

The schedule, locations, times, nitty gritty, 411 and the lowdown are all here:

MicroTowns and the Craft Computer at GameCity

For the Craft Computer sessons we’ll be using a craft based approach, lots of card, glue and colouring in to teach your little computer whizz-kids the fundamentals. We’ve been running it for the past four weeks in a local primary school with a girls only group and the results are pretty astonishing. Best of all, they love it 🙂

Here’s a pic of them yesterday with their Craft Computer cubes

Mynydd Cynffig Infants - Craft Computer Club
Mynydd Cynffig Infants – Craft Computer Club
The Craft Computer Cube
The Craft Computer Cube

Key Stage 1 Computing with the Craft Computer – Post Lesson Notes Week 2 & 3

All you need is love
All you need is love (and some pixels)

Imagine having to write everything down on paper before you go to sleep otherwise you’d forget it, even your name…and then you have to read it as soon as you wake up otherwise your mind is empty

This is how we started to talk about memory and the file storage of a computer. I asked our group of 6 year olds to pretend that unless they had something written down they wouldn’t remember it. This, of course, was a source of much amusement to them. By the way, it still amazes me, that they’re only 6 years old. They don’t perceive things by varying levels of difficulty, just varying levels of interest/fun.

Mynydd Cynffig Infants - Craft Computer Club
Mynydd Cynffig Infants – Craft Computer Club

This approach serves as a really fun way to talk about computers, have them role play and learn some high level concepts around the way computers ‘bootstrap’.

The pixel heart picture above is from the Craft Computer Kit (download link below) and it’s a black and white numbered grid. Each number corresponds to a colour e.g. 1 = Red and the children spend around 15 minutes colouring them in.

They love this as a) they love colouring in and b) they’ve no idea what the picture is until about a 2/3 of the way through. They think it’s magic – which is a great jumping off point to explain, it’s not magic, but the way Computers work which is ultimately more exciting.

Weeks 2 and 3 merged and overlapped due to the role play, Q&A and the craft items which some of children were slower at. So my advice at this point on using the Craft Computer approach is to allocate more time than you think or be happy to have one week overlap with the next.

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