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.

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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!

claire@digitalcreativity.foundation

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Tech to Tango: Another data-informed personal dance ambition 💃

Mission accomplished?

Well, yes for the simple answer. And hopefully a bit more of an insight through this post to explain:

  • A determination to explore any impact on dance performance using data, an armoury of ‘blinged up’ tech tools and the influence of role models.
  • The eventual learning gains from stepping out of a dance comfort zone, into the unknown, to accelerate progress.
  • The 1980’s inspired gel hairstyling on the profile photo!

I took the opportunity to dance in Blackpool again earlier this year, and to qualify had to up the ante to reach a higher standard.

Hard work but also a chance to learn more through a data route and experience a new discipline along the way.

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Back to ‘core values’ to strengthen my core has become my biggest priority and that’s seen me stepping into the Thai kick-boxing arena.  Why? Because it feels like learning to dance felt right at the beginning – completely out of my comfort zone! It’s helping to build up stamina and confidence, but more than anything it’s introduced me to another world class role model, and she’s made a huge difference.

We’ve taken data from wearables and IOT projects to allow me to measure my own progress.  That’s always been important, alongside exams and belts, and I should add that I was always insistent about about the focus being on fitness and not contact.  In the past we’ve looked at sleep data in parallel to activity, and now recovery has a greater significance than physical exertion.

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Of course the data trail still includes a dance programme, although that took a tricky spin turn in the Spring when Things Hull  became connected in a somewhat accidental way.  I hadn’t intended to publish openly, but GPS gave too many clues to unusual logging of one of our data sets and questions were asked!

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Next steps see me taking a break between work projects to concentrate on dance, and that’s got tango written all over it.

From that, data will lead me to a next challenge and a September launch.  More to follow then 😀

Soldering on to connect #MakerEd plans

Preparing for the unknown:

Next week I’ll be facilitating an Ada Day with a group of students who’s activities will be centred around student voice and digital making.

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They’ll be challenged to creatively visualise and solve real world problems, which are linked to their school’s global citizenship curriculum.

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Following this first session, the students will be able to use their code with sensor nodes and link their environmental data and findings to the Connected Hull dashboard and coverage through The Things Network.

First things first, though.

  • Discover
  • Interpret
  • Design
  • Code
  • Test
  • Debug
  • Test again
  • Share

Soldering On

Through this approach we’ll explore the benefits, applications and considerations of big data, GPS metadata and privacy of personal data to add to future project builds.

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Planning for the unknown?

We’ve collated the start of a resource bank to equip the students to visualise their data and solutions.

Final outputs will only be discovered next week.

Extending digital making collaborations with #ReadySteadyPi

“Everybody’s welcome!”

Since October 2015, and that first monthly Leeds Raspberry Jam at Swallow Hill Community College, we’ve tried to support the community to increase opportunities with digital making activities.

In the spirit of the Raspberry Jam movement, we’ve nurtured new collaborations, peer to peer support, ‘share & learn’ and a range of informal workshops to try to make gaining new knowledge of skills more accessible and open to more community members.

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We’ve been especially appreciative of the guidance offered by fellow jammers and local makers.

They’ve come along and encouraged some new members of the group to crank up a Raspberry Pi for the first time, take a recently gifted Pi out of it’s box or to lend a hand developing complex projects with others.  Well on the way to helping others change the world 🙂

 

Initial sponsorship, and benefitting from being included in the Pi-Top Champions Programme , has seen individuals, groups and families come along, with or without a Raspberry Pi, and join in the activities with our kit and resources.  Or use one of our monitors and accessories for a project on the night.

However, accessing this equipment outside of Raspberry Jam events hasn’t always been possible for everybody, so we’ve explored ways to help resolve this and build on a digital inclusion project from last year.

#ReadySteadyPi is a new project launched after a number of collaborations with the ace Raspberry Pi team at Premier Farnell.

Like Swallow Hill, their Leeds office is based in Armley, West Leeds, and so they’re fortunate to be in the catchment area!  And we’re lucky to be joined by some of the team at Raspberry Jams throughout the year, coming along to see what’s happening and also sharing their own activities and insights.

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This project is about empowering the community to extend support and offering more people the chance to make digital stuff outside of the Raspberry Jam.  A lending library if you like, project plans made at the Jam with help and guidance from the teams, and bringing it back to the community to share.

The primary focus is on collaboration and engagement and the Farnell team are supporting with additional resources.

As we change the format of the events to team digital builds, rather than a workshop, then the future of digital making in Armley looks bright 😎

What’s happened during the first week of it’s launch?

Plans with wearables as control devices for Minecraft, one member building the AIY Project from last month’s MagPi magazine, supporting another Raspberry Jam event, a couple of teachers delivering maker workshops back in their own school with children and community projects linked to data.

Watch this space for more updates.  We’ll have the next Store Cupboard Team Challenge at the July Leeds Raspberry Jam on Wednesday 5th July.  Join us and see what’s possible.

 

 

 

Shakespeare Rocks!

We’ve been using a Y6 creative programme to link programming with literacy through digital making.

Songs to code to alongside insults to sling!

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A Shakespearean school production gave the impetus to manipulate lists of data in a CSV format using Python to build a random insult generator.

Fab resource link from the Raspberry Pi Foundation below, and intuitive enough for groups to follow.

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Click to launch the resource from RaspberryPi.org

Bit of a favourite:

“You beslubbering earth-vexing canker-blossom”

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Shakespeare rocked so much that we used it for the workshop at Leeds Raspberry Jam in June.

More insults in the digital making 😂

Getting started with #AIYProjects

I finally got around to finishing this #AIY project build after completing ‘start to cardboard box’ with Jr in an hour on the first day : )

Another awesome edition of The MagPi for ideas and inspiration to expand our portfolio of project successes (and, of course, failures).

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Loved how intuitive the project instructions were from the paper copy and this link for burning the right SD image.

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So we’ve done the maths, pitted our wits with rapid fire calculations, heard the worst and best jokes and looked into AI with an Election 2017 focus.

Some areas needing more work than others……

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Shake Your #STEAM Power

  • Looking for a project with a social good theme and to build on resilience?
  • Perhaps signposting girls towards STEAM through inspiring female role models?
  • And support to make classroom connections or resources to develop design thinking skills?

These were some of the reasons that I travelled to BETT2017 in January, with an intention to ask the MakerEd community for inspirations and stories.

And that sparked when I discovered and met the team behind this Shake Your Power project.

You might’ve seen their social enterprise online with a more established Spark project. Or recognise their founder, Sudha, from her accomplishments as the percussionist in the band Faithless.

Find out more from her TED X talk from Mumbai below:

The Spark educational kits offers a brilliant STEAM opportunity to explore magnetic induction and principles of electricity, alongside purpose with renewable energy and sustainability .

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The kit is lovely!  Feedback from children that have helped me to build the project and consider activities has been really positive, particularly with the aesthetics and language used in the magazine.

Inspiring girls?  Yes, and actually inspiring everybody including adults.

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