Category Archives: Student Event

Ambitious Artbots at a Primary School Careers Day

For the school promoting and linking 4 defined values into everything they plan, the careers day for ‘Ambition’ was to include an activity sharing opportunities in STEM related fields.

Each child had the chance to get hands after exploring a different job explained by a visitor to the school, and they were immersed in 7 different roles throughout the day.

What’s more, classes were changed to groups of mixed aged children (4 – 11 year olds), who collaborated throughout the day.

The end result?

200 children collaborating with peers to showcase an artistic output, by creatively solving problems and learning more about design iteration through teamwork.

In half an hour, they consider circuits and design with us to build a robot capable of drawing a piece of art.

No human hands allowed in the artwork – that was pure ARTBOT work!

Robot inventions, building, testing, debugging, testing, design changes…….digital making skills explored on the day and now showcased for the whole school community to see. In school.

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Ada Lovelace Day in Hull: Inspiring and engaging young people to increase participation of girls in computing

Teachers and Y7 students joined us from across the city to collaborate on creative physical computing projects and explore careers in STEM.

Aims of the day:

  • To support the participation of more girls in computing and strategies to help close the gender gap in STEM fields.
  • To challenge and influence perceptions of computing with positive role models
  • To share creative opportunities through physical computing as a wearable tech STEAM projects (art, textiles, design etc.)
  • To support teachers with networking and collaborative opportunities

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We used the WISE Campaign’s People Like Me resources to explore personal strengths and aspirations and also to find out more about careers in STEM.

Language considerations opened up conversations and  thoughts on future possibilities, and for some adults a reassurance of their career choice in an instructor/teacher role.  Yes, we were all involved 🙂

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Students worked in pairs to start their projects through design-thinking, which meant sketching ideas and thoughts after initially coding and downloading a starter activity onto Codebugs.

The project brief was theirs to personalise and consider their own purpose and levels of complexity.  Support with ideas came with peer coaching and an array of resources to invent a wearable technology solution to their real life problem – or purpose.

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Lights, sound, tunes and messages were coded and then incorporated into their digital making projects.  Several iterations later and they were able to share their inventions, models and textile-based creations.

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Feedback from the students?

  • Computing activities can be complex and frustrating. But once you understand how to control it, it will become easier.
  • I found the part when we designed our inventions on the piece of paper exciting because it required us to discuss and think about what we were going to do.
  • I liked sewing the project together because it was challenging.
  • I found the designing exciting because we used our own ideas.
  • I liked making the project because it was fun and creative.
  • I liked exploring different ideas of computer science.
  • The activity was hard and frustrating at times but when you finally complete the activity, you feel really good and satisfied.
  • Making the project was interesting.

And how did they describe the digital making activities?

  • Fun and interesting!
  • Hard, different, fun and I would do it again
  • Wasn’t as I expected
  • I think that it was challenging and was fun
  • Interesting yet difficult
  • I found it tricky on some things but near the end it was fun and easy because I like to be creative and make/build things

Thanks to Winifred Holtby Academy, who became part of the planning cycle from the beginning, and sparked more interest in students to form future Lego challenge teams.

Inspiring the next generation of digital makers in Hull

Background

We’re thrilled that the number of creative computing projects that we’re supporting in schools has increased again this year.

That also means that the hackspace at our Tech 4 Change conference extends as a showcase for teachers and children to share, collaborate and network through challenges.

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Themes and partners

We’re inviting teachers to join us in Hull, on Thursday 23 June, as we explore peer to peer learning projects and reflect on the impact of digital making activities across the curriculum.

  • Are you co-ordinating the computing curriculum in your school and looking to incorporate new ideas for Computer Science, IT or Digital Literacy?
  • Thinking about transition projects and progression of programming from KS2 to KS3?
  • Planning enrichment activities and involving parents and carers with STEM clubs and Code Club?
  • Are you an art or music specialist and looking to incorporate technology into your projects as a ‘STEM to STEAM’ activity?
  • Looking to explore the language and terminology of the curriculum and plan creative activities?
  • Would you like support to ensure that the requirements for the Computing programme of study are met in your school?
  • Want to discuss ways to underpin the curriculum with computational thinking?

Children from Years 5, 7 and 8 will be working through challenges as they explore creative and imaginative possibilities through physical computing and programming.

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They’ll be working with a team of passionate educators who’ll also be on hand to talk about your own plans for activities in school.  Here’s a taster of digital making activities and partners who’ll be with us in the hackspace on the day:

Making sense of sensors and programming possibilities with BBC micro:bit

We’re delighted as David Whale joins us and the children get hands-on with creative activities from the IET’s (Institute of Engineering and Technology) Faraday Challenge with micro:bit.

David joins us as a software developer, STEM Ambassador and volunteer with the IET, who has worked with the project from the early days to develop resources and liaise with schools.

We’ll be using the IET challenges and no doubt the children will add their individual creative twists with their iterations and plans!

  • Are you waiting in anticipation for a delivery of your students’ BBC micro:bit devices and want to talk to others about first projects?
  • Wondering about the potential of this micro:bit that’ll be given to this year’s Year 7 groups, and how to sustain their interests and ambitions?
  • Thinking about how to use the micro:bit to support STEM clubs and parental engagement activities through events back in school?
  • Or are you one of the schools that we’ve been supporting with your recent delivery of boxes and curriculum plans, and want to extend complexities and projects?

Join us with your own plans or questions to explore : )

Inspiring young makers on National Women in Engineering Day (#NWED)

It’s no surprise that we’ve chosen 23 June as the conference date, as we share new and ongoing inclusive and diverse projects to inspire digital makers in Hull.

#NWED is a celebration and a reminder of the projects and impact as we support school leaders and teachers to increase the participation of more girls in STEM fields and strategies to help close the gender gap.  Our own Ada Day follows on 30 June.

Immersive storytelling to support creativity in game making

We’ll be linking digital storytelling and literacy resources with the team from now>press>play to extend creative opportunities through programming.

We’re excited to be joined by Alice Lacey and Tom Owen, who will be facilitating activities and different kinds of learning experiences to use as a springboard into creative computing.  They’ll be engaging children through emotion, imagination and movement.

Join the auditory space journey that’ll lead to animation, game making and other digital activities using the resources from Code Club.

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Inspiring children through the Code Club network of after school clubs

If you’re looking to extend computing opportunities for children through your enrichment programme, then there’ll be lots of opportunities on the day to talk to Victoria Sauron about starting a Code Club in your school.  

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Victoria joins us at the North East and Yorkshire Coordinator for Code Club. As the children use the resources as examples of challenges available at the club sessions, you’ll be able to talk through how other schools have benefitted from the programme and what you can do to make it happen in your own school.

 

To join us on the day you’ll need to register for your free place, and select your workshops and time in the hackspace, on the link below.

Look forward to sharing those projects with you on the day!

 

Ada Day: Thursday 30th June

Ada Lovelace Day in Hull: An event to inspire the next generation of digital makers and support an increased participation of girls in computing

Invitations have now arrived in schools for a day of creative and collaborative digital making challenges with career connections at Winifred Holtby Academy on Thursday 30th June.

This event aims to encourage Y7 girls to explore physical computing and e-textiles through social and hands-on learning activities.

We’ll be using resources and activities from the WISE Campaign’s People Like Me project and collaborating with STEM Ambassadors through a range of hands-on challenges.

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Wearable inventions

Event aims:

  • To support the participation of more girls in computing and strategies to help close the gender gap in STEM fields.
  • To challenge and influence perceptions of computing with positive role models
  • To share creative opportunities through physical computing as a wearable tech STEAM projects (art, textiles, design etc.)
  • To support teachers with networking and collaborative opportunities
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Peer to peer learning

Look out for more opportunities with peer to peer learning activities and community digital-themed events across the city of Hull.

Innovations and Game Making during National Careers Week

This week we’ve been supporting schools from the Hull Ready Hub through creative computing activities with Y5.

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What opportunities does computing offer towards future employment choices?

Well, we didn’t have a crystal ball at Malet Lambert, as 240 Y5 learners and their teachers got involved at the Careers Ambition and Inspiration Day.  But we did offer workshop activities focused on collaboration, game making and problem solving.
 

Part of activities to mark National Careers Week included learner engagement activities with an inventive focus.  Looking at a Raspberry Pi mini computer provided opportunities to work together to invent new solutions beyond the input and output conversations started.
 

The children also got hands-on with game making and development activities using Scratch as they worked with older peers too to create further iterations of their ideas.
 
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‘Made in Hull’ algorithms for 2017

What happens when you introduce a project for pupils to design, build and test an algorithm to share a local story to visitors about Hull?

Oh, and they have to wear their code with pride.  That’s because their messages need to be digitally displayed on a wearable tech device called a Codebug.

That was the challenge set by the Hull 2017 team and RM Education to a group of digital leaders from Spring Cottage and Malet Lambert schools.  Collaborating across Y5, 7 & 8, they worked in teams to design and communicate their stories. All part of events organised during National Careers Week.

An afternoon of creativity and fun (according to some) turned into problem solving and teamwork as the children tackled errors through their complexities.  Confident coding led to serious debugging tasks and in turn to successful projects shared.

Code Orange 🙂

Initial ideas at the 2 schools were shared in the small new teams and further projects extended and developed during the session.

 

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Testing and debugging

It became evident to the groups that coding as a trio could lead to more ambitious outcomes once everybody’s ideas and skills were considered.  Whatever their age and if they had, or hadn’t in this case, worked together before.

What did the children enjoy about the project?

  • How we got to code with different people I didn’t know
  • I liked all the coding that we had to do and all the debugs we had to do
  • The girl who came from Malet Lambert let us decide
  • That we had to work together
  • Working as a team
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Made in Code

And what about collaborating with students from another school?

  • That we work good in a group and we have more ideas
  • That at different schools they learn different things about coding
  • That it is fun to learn with other people
  • You can collaborate vary well with someone you haven’t met before
  • How to tell people how to do things!!
  • THAT YOU STILL USE CODING AT BIG SCHOOL AND ITS NOT AS CONFUSING AND HARD AS IT LOOKS AND YOU MUST ALWAYS HAVE A GO
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Team Smile

What did the children learn during the project?

  • That debugging is easier than I thought
  • How to make code more thoroughly
  • That you can wear your code
  • That you can do so many things with one tiny piece of technology
  • Teamwork

 

 

 

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Sharing stories  

 

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Wearables for wearables

Team photos were taken with a Raspberry Pi project as we continued the planning conversations about possibilities with inputs and outputs.

Smile : )

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Inspiring Hull’s next generation of computer scientists at Bletchley Park

Just one teacher’s hand acknowledged a previous visit to Bletchley Park when Dr Sue Black asked at our Tech 4 Change conference this July.  On hearing her inspiring keynote, including insights into the Saving Bletchley campaign, we’d decided within a couple of hours to organise our own educational visit to inspire the next generation of code breakers from Hull.

Oh, and because we’d been joined by other schools and friends from Salford, we also pledged to collaborate to give our students opportunities to work with peers from another city on the day, too. That was Wednesday.

It’s hard to believe that Bletchley Park held onto code breaking secrets and its instrumental part in the WW2 strategy until the 1980’s. Some of our students had learnt about its significance through history or computing lessons; others through their interests outside of school. For some it was Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game film that had put Bletchley Park on their personal radar.

We chose the date intentionally to coincide with the bicentennial celebrations of Ada Lovelace’s birth. Inspiring through computing role models often starts with an Ada starter from me, so the fact that Turing had turned to her work again whilst at Bletchley gave an opportunity to incorporate many angles with aspirational opportunities.

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Supporting schools’ computing curricula as a focus to impact on learning necessitates a priority on progression. That means with visits too, so this was very much a cross-curricular and whole school approach by the schools incorporating careers, maths, computing and a plan to take an historical context forward through innovation with future projects which gave capacity to raise aspirations and show real word scenarios.

For some that’ll be designing and making wearable tech solutions for an intended audience, and all from the starting point of designing an algorithm to achieve a creative output. I knew already, but after spending a day with these students I now know for sure their potential and talents as collaborators, innovators and the capacity for some to be poetic scientists….the future’s looking bright through STEM.

With 80 students and adults from All Hallows RC School (Salford), Malet Lambert and Winifred Holtby Academy, we worked together in numerous small groups to gain insights and learn over 3 sessions during the visit.

Our visit also gave a chance to see props and resources from the Imitation Game film and to become immersed in the era through multimedia and an exhibition.

The image of the mansion house is iconic so to actually stand on the front step is a definite photo opportunity and it became apparent as a must-have selfie snap!

Through a tour of the grounds and buildings we learnt so much about the campaign and strategy during WW2. It was bombed, but that’s another tale that we’ll tell another day after Martin’s fantastic storytelling style triggered numerous visualisations of what life was like during the period. Who worked there, how the shift patterns operated and how roles were distributed.

Coding, cipher, encryption, translation, iteration, monotony, accuracy, teamwork and transport all figured highly in the conversations and recounts. Asking students about their preferred role had they been dispatched to Bletchley in secrecy during the war, and actually had a choice, answers ranged from translation duties, hackers & decoders to motorbike code couriers. The latter being a favourite from the girls in our group who had raised an eyebrow initially at learning the number of women coders onsite throughout the years.

Our only tricky moment on the day came when we tried to get one of the teachers out of Hut 11. Bless, the chance to get up close to Turing’s Bombe and crack Enigma was far too exciting and fascinating to leave!

While students learnt about solving problems, computer science, machines, designs and processes they were able to set their own Enigma coded messages for mates to crack. Or to challenge others virtually.

Questions about what’d happen now led to conversations about cyber security and opportunities for future scientists; more raised eyebrows from a group of students realising the opportunities and incentives available for this type of career path (yes, including a couple of girls studying GCSE computer science)

We also got an insight into the life of Alan Turing and learnt about his university rehearsals to his teddy bear audience!

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For our group the final challenge we faced was to crack Enigma and agree a strategy to get our battleships across the Atlantic safely. True teamwork to tackle the various stages involved and prove their ability to calmly solve problems and alter plans based on data collected.

They cracked it and also took another photo opportunity alongside one of just a couple of working Enigma machines in the world.

Photo gallery here which we’ll populate with more images once downloaded; we were many groups!

An ambitious and impactful day which has hopefully sparked thoughts and aspirations for our students and added to our growing teacher network and examples of innovative and creative approaches.

Big thanks to Alison and the team at Bletchley for making the visit possible. Would we recommend it to other schools and educators thinking about the long journey past Milton Keynes? Absolutely! We want to return to see everything next time….no hesitations; it was #awesome.

And returning to the July conference, and that sentence from Sue that’s still at the forefront of my mind when we’re trying to offer opportunities for students:

“Follow your passions and change the world” 😄