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.

 

 

 

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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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Easter Ninja Hack: Maker ‘Make Do’

That moment when you realise it’s far too late for anything other than make do.

And a late request from Jr for paint for the school’s annual egg paint challenge turns up nothing but black paint.  And it’s electric paint at that.

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But then, every cloud………

And every ninja…….

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Has potential for a Makey Makey hack.

No bananas were injured in this project 🍌 🍌🍌

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Exploring paper circuits before a live data feed

I’ve got an idea in mind to create a piece of artwork to visualise some live data, and wanted to see how quickly we could create a starter paper circuit.

Ordering Chibi Lights from the good folk at Pimoroni meant a first attempt notebook circuit within 24 hours and a whole lot of ideas to follow up.

A completely different context here, with a Spanish and dance theme explanation to follow 👠

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Alexa’s Untold Stories: Voice commands with Raspberry Pi

Intrigued by the opportunities for voice activated reading projects in school, we set to with an Echo hack using Raspberry Pi.

 

Speaker, microphone and Amazon Developer account at the ready, the first tests with ‘rock, paper, scissor’ challenges against Alexa proved insightful.

Multiple terminal windows using Terminator made the set up so much easier for one, and more than a bit of tinkering was needed with the wake word support.

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Terminator to organise multiple terminal windows

Weekend sports scores, mental maths checks and recipe requests all worked fine although Christmas themed questions were a bit more tricky.

Fact and opinion conversations ensued 🙂

Back to the fundamental aim of getting Alexa reading an Alan Bennett book, then. Many possibilities but not quite with the same diction as my favourite audio book!

What’s next?  Will Alexa have the capacity to become more of an intelligent learning partner in 2017?

More literary projects to develop and general ideas to explore from this great list.

Big thanks to @heeedt and the @HuddRaspJam crowd for supporting and help with original questions!

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Image courtesy of Lifehacker

‘Quality’ decision making without peer pressure using Picap

Christmas came early last week.  Got to admit that we became embroiled in Quality Street-gate with forceful opinions expressed about which choc should have been replaced.

The trouble was that peer pressure swayed some, and anecdotes through rose tinted spectacles blurred others, into thinking that another choc should’ve been booted first.

Out came the first choc box of the season with a bit of tinkering with the Picap.

Soon we had a set up to give a truly anonymous and representative taste test and decision.

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Must be noted that we’d started with a healthier option for a blind taste test of tomatoes from a plant grown and sold by Ganton School in Hull, and another from a well known supermarket chain. The data confirmed our hunch – the school tomatoes were far more tasty 🙂

For both trials we used the simple touch Python script that allowed us to collect data showing which electrodes had been touched and released.

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And the verdict?

The data suggests that the orange creme should’ve been ditched before the toffee choc.  In our humble opinion of course.

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