Monthly Archives: July 2015

“If I can do it, so can you” – Conference Keynote from Dr Sue Black

For those of you who couldn’t join us at yesterday’s conference, here’s a snippet from Sue’s keynote which was recorded using a Raspberry Pi mini computer.  And if you’d like even more info then try here : )

Throughout the Hackspace students were involved and talking about various projects using Raspberry Pi and this particular one had been set up and coded to take photographs for a time-lapse project.

There was also an opportunity for a little bit of mischief with Raspberry Pi when the students planned with us to add a motion sensor to a secret camera assembled on a table top.  All part of the activity plan to share possible projects, of course.

Working with Gary they were investigating whether teachers would be tempted by chocolates on the table and then to look at the photographs captured to see if anybody had an extra sweet tooth.

Actually, if any hands looked like they had a sweet tooth as no faces were seen during this experiment!  Word is that nobody questioned why only one table had chocs and there were a couple of adults who managed to thoroughly test out the investigation……

IMG_7646     IMG_7647

Students and teachers collaborated on projects using electric paint, Raspberry Pi, Touchboard and Codebug throughout the day, thinking about how they could be incorporated and further developed back in school.

With activities trialled in the Hackspace each teacher left with a couple of projects to take back to school and share with colleagues.


                                Dots boards and electric paint

Lots of anticipation surrounding the Dots boards!


                 Digi Leaders explaining projects to Mil Vasic

Project Woodpecker: A plan, a Raspberry Pi, a motion sensor, a Pi-cam & a tale or two.

You might remember Project Woodpecker as the activity with 12 students from Northcott School in Hull.

Their teachers wanted us to support through CPD and lead a project with the computer science element of the curriculum.

They also wanted to explore how Raspberry Pi could be incorporated into a project to support computational thinking and to aid social interaction with their students. The school delivers an Autistic provision.

Woodpecker update

                                                                                     A successful outcome?

The results from the camera project have been collected and shared now, but it’s a very different outcome to the one initially planned.

Yes, the hardware reacted as coded and images were successfully captured.   Sadly not the elusive woodpecker shot.  The same story still stands – only Northcott’s caretaker ever got to witness the woodpecker with his own eyes.

The caretaker also had to break the devastating news to us that, halfway through the project, the woodpecker had been killed by a sparrow hawk.  Eek, thankfully during the weekend when we were reviewing the first images captured…….

Physical Computing with Codebug: Coding Progression? Wearable tech? Creative Computing?

Since the BBC’s announcement that their Microbit programmable device would be heading to all Year 7 students in September, we’ve been looking to support those requests coming through from teachers wishing to explore progression, plan ahead and often just familiarisation time with the device.

The Research and Play project has given us the opportunity to incorporate physical computing projects across the curriculum and to engage with teachers from many subject areas.

And this term we prioritised time to support using a programmable device called Codebug.


                                                      First Challenge

A group of Year 10 scientists and digital leaders designing projects using Raspberry Pi extended their repertoire of computing devices and experiences this week as I asked them to explore the Codebug.

That would give further insights to share at yesterday’s Education Impact meeting with teachers from across the city.

Introducing Codebug

                             Introducing Codebug

And what is it?

It can be used as an introduction to physical computing and electronics or it could be a springboard for those students, like this group, who have experience of programming and who very quickly started to share ideas about what next in a hack way.

It’s versatility as a connected device via USB or coin battery meant wearable technology projects became a whole lot more simple.  And ideas for this output became a whole lot more creative!


                          Online software

Fundamentally the 2 components are the online software tool, which is drag and drop programming, and the physical device itself.   Students are able to log in and start a project or take another idea and remix for themselves; very much play-hack-share.

This also gives students the chance to continue to create, plan, extend, develop and debug from home or school.

And feedback as this group shared ideas and thoughts after a half hour familiarisation session?

Well for the teachers, hearing that half hour timeframe to plug in, explore, program, connect, download, share, and review was pivotal.  This group have got experience of programming projects already, but so will Year 6 students arriving at school in September.

For a couple of our schools Computing has been incorporated into their Transition Week and we have a set of Codebugs to share with that scenario.

Looking at impact throughout those weeks and beyond is an obvious focus and mapping progression of programming through these projects is a current activity, and one that teachers requested for this Summer term.



And in the meantime?  The students continue to develop and share ideas until our teachers collaborate next week at the CPD Conference in Hull.

Hackspace ideas feeding into transition and curriculum planning?