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?