A student-led hack space at a conference for teachers?

Research and Play: Supporting an inclusive approach by encouraging Pure Imagination

Student computing events in Hull have impacted positively on teacher development throughout our programme of CPD to support teachers with the computing curriculum.

Observing students engaging and being inspired by physical computing activities, with a Raspberry Jam event and other examples, has offered teachers considerations through reflective practice over the last couple of years.


                                 Explaining through Research and Play

Feedback from schools also highlighted opportunities to build on the city’s teacher network and to learn through ‘pedagogy in practice’.


                                 Exploring capacitive touch

That collaborative approach gave a focus on learner ownership and an evolving pedagogy to explore computational thinking and programming projects. And what became paramount to planning was to incorporate scaffolding for progression of learning through successes and failures.  

So we built that into the conference.  From the start and with a group of students from The Kingswood Academy in the city.


                               Sharing ideas across the curriculum

At the heart of Research and Play is the focus on pedagogy before technology and a number of low-tech resources as a flexible ‘Innovation Box’ to begin with.

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Very much an inclusive approach to enable teachers from across the curriculum to develop projects with their own students; regardless of phase, age or previous experiences with computing. And to have an insight into digital fabrication projects and ideas from the Maker Education community through Research and Play.


                        Progression of programming with Codebug

We facilitated activities using electric paint as an innovation tool, gave aspirational opportunity ideas to develop with students and looked towards collaboration to explore areas to take back to school.


       Raspberry Pi DOTS boards with electric paint

Building on from that some teachers connected physical computing devices and further connected to the IOT with students in the hack space . Or didn’t.


               Touchboard continuation: Plant Hack

Some teachers used experiences from previous capacitive touch projects with us, using Makey Makey, to develop more ideas to take back to their own students, projects and enrichment day activity plans.


      Collaboration Corner – developing more ideas

Or even back to Hull City Council meetings.  That’s Mil Vasic above, our Director for Children and Family Services in Hull, who took away mountains of projects ideas (and a couple of projects to evaluate…..watch out) from the students at Kingswood Academy who led the hack space.


     Hooking up Makey Makey to numerous projects

Some teachers had definite development requests to extend their knowledge through physical computing and looked towards projects using Raspberry Pi and Arduino – with or without a robot, and wearable or standalone tech inventions.  So we built those into the conference project programme too.

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Feedback from adults immersed in the hack space?

  • Students using computational thinking. Robots!
  • Really impressed by Kingswood Academy pupils and their creative digital projects
  • Great to see students working first hand
  • Some fantastic ideas can’t wait to get started!
  • Really impressed by the students and the work they were doing
  • The students from Kingswood Academy were amazing in our Research & Play session
  • Interesting to see the work done by the students
  • Buzzing with information :))
  • Cool!

Possibly best summed up by Dr Sue Black as she learnt about the learning opportunities with Codebug as a programmable device from the students in the space:

Amazing 🙂 ”

Link to Sue’s video on Vine here.

Student voice and learner ownership to continue to influence the creative computing opportunities through Research and Play? Reckon so : )


 Taking projects back to school (or the HCC boardroom?)


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  1. Pingback: Inspiring the next generation of digital makers in Hull | Technology for Change

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