Sensing a more connected and brighter future through digital making

It’s been a busy couple of weeks sharing and learning through communities and contributing with what we’ve learnt through our Foundation’s activities at events.

Understanding the value of partnerships and collaborations gives amazing opportunities to evaluate projects and decide on plans moving forward.

Conversations at The Things Network Conference earlier this month led to incredible insights into other people’s visions as the tools are now in place to ‘build communities through LoRaWAN’. Great to be part of a global panel talking about adding value to communities and building networks.

And the opportunity to share our strategies to help democratise access of the power of LoRaWAN for everyone through a keynote at the same conference.

Removing the barriers: Empowering communities to make a smarter, more connected world with LoRaWAN.

The presentation explores two areas of our programmes:

  1. How can we develop more diverse and inclusive programmes to engage all citizens in real world problems through digital making and adopting LoRaWAN?
  2. How can we effectively facilitate collections of digital storytelling projects engaging communities in cities across Things North to creatively solve local issues?

Starting the new year with a STEM role model focus

This year has given me many opportunities to embrace change and direct more of my time into areas of passion and importance.

Alongside establishing programmes with the Foundation for Digital Creativity, we’ve been working with the STEM Ambassador Hub Trans Pennine to include opportunities to inspire young people exploring STEM futures by including the support of STEM Ambassadors.

As capable and realistic role models, we know that their input will positively impact on the perception of STEM futures for some students and equip them for possible roles in the digital and STEM world.


From the recent #ThisGirlCodes Project (click image for more info)

I’m so excited by the opportunities this will give for young people to make connections with their own lives and consider real world environmental solutions as the programmes enrich learning.   

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Image taken by @BloodyNoraDJ at Make Believe in Leeds, April 2017 (click image for more info)

Moreover, it’s also my time to commit time as an Ambassador and share my passion for STEM to a younger generation. 

Induction was delayed until January, so that’s a perfect STEM start to 2018 😀

First Light: Electric Paint Lamp Kit

Perfect timing to build on the ‘Dynamic Circuits’ workshop we’ve just delivered with The Ada Show, and continue that exploration through creative tech.

If it weren’t for watching paint dry (literally, that’s not an opinion!), the instructions and boxed kit were so intuitive that it could’ve been ‘open to first light’ in under 10 minutes.

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A quick starter with the twist board and templates saw us up and running with the touch lamp, and origami themes soon emerging.

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Next to tinker with the dimmer and proximity variations before we embark on a personalised project.

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3D Festive Pi Hack

Told the kids they could crack open the selection box if they cracked the Python code.

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10 minutes later and I was left with the leftovers.  Next challenge is to change the colour, sequence and I get to keep the Curlywurly 😍

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Best festive accessory available for the Raspberry Pi from The Pi Hut.

Foldscope: Unlocking the wonders of STEM with more origami.

Grasping the opportunity to attend Fablearn ’15 offered me THE best CPD for MakerED. It also introduced me to another network and through that came an awareness and excitement surrounding this Foldscope project.

More details on the link about the inspiring work by Manu Prakash and Jim Cybulski at Stanford University.  If you’re not aware of Foldscope as ‘the pencil of microscopy’, then take a couple of minutes to view the TED talk below:


Fast forward to today and my set of Foldscope packs from the Kickstarter campaign has arrived. They’ll be built at a later date as a collaborative project.

But first to build and test our own pocket microscope for family adventures.

Definitely the origami microscope, no glue required and the only tech we needed was to recap with video tutorials!

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Fifteen minutes later and we’ve added a leaf to the first slide for closer inspection, heard the first ‘wow’ and ideas are starting to emerge.

What you do and don’t want to see in your own the kitchen 😫

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Next steps are further explorations and then we’ll consider curriculum tie in.

For the time being, though, we’re concentrating on more ‘wow’ moments through STEM.  And enjoying them.

Just as a side note, how funny to witness the younger investigators realising that putting a lens over your eye doesn’t automatically take you into a VR world.  Real world Science in your own surroundings, at that exact time, is definitely wow 🙌

Research published: A year’s #MakerEd in Leeds’ schools

So proud to have worked on this project with the team at Leeds University.

Research centred around interviews and workshops with Y8 & Y9 students, teachers, heads and community makers in Leeds.  Final paper is published here:

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MakerEd Leeds project blog here.

Next steps: Building a Digital Foundation (Spin turns confined to 💃)

Exciting times ahead!

The start of this new academic year has seen us launching The Foundation for Digital Creativity.

I’ve been blown away by the messages of support and encouragement received as I’ve ‘regenerated’ from my previous role over the Summer and new plans and collaborations emerge.

We’re on a mission to advance the education of adults and children, particularly in the fields of electronics, computing, engineering and digital literacy and inspire future generations to create, invent and learn through digital making.


Want to know more about our upcoming activities, or chat through community and education programmes?  Get in touch, it’d be great to hear from you!

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