Digital Making at #MakeBelieve

I learnt a lot on Saturday.  With every maker event there are opportunities for collaborations and family learning activities, and this weekend’s #MakeBelieve focus was about young people imagining the tech of the future.

That saw paired projects with peers, intergenerational activities and individual inspirations and inventions at Leeds City Museum – all part of the awesome programme from the Leeds International Festival, and curated by Playful Leeds.

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We transported Leeds Raspberry Jam to the festival with a range of family-friendly challenges.

Digital making projects using Raspberry Pi included Minecraft hacks with Python, gaming with Scratch and exploring connections with GPIO.

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With imagination as the catalyst for invention, it was great to see how challenges progressed and digital stories changed directions with questions and input from others; not necessarily from a coding perspective.

We also had examples of projects from the group of digital makers at Swallow Hill, who have been making Yorkshire-themed robots and taking inspiration from the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s #Pioneers programme.

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So what did I learn?  On reflection later that evening, and catching up with the day’s news:

I want to bring back my imagination and gawp at the future like a child again.  And then I’ll reflect like an adult.  And then as a child.  And as an inventor.  I’ll reflect on them all as inspiration and insight, thanks.

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Big Tech Vs Big Brother: how do you view technology? FT link 29.04.17

 

Shout out to Playful Anywhere for inviting us along and curating a Maker event in Leeds for, literally, everyone.  Through the eyes of the children and their inventions, I came away with so many ideas.

And to @BloodyNoraDJ for the images taken on the day – every one a unique maker story 😀

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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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Maker aspirations and inspirations

PiParty was brilliant and another reminder of the strength of community in supporting and inspiring digital makers; experienced makers or those dipping a toe into projects.

Got me reflecting on my own motivations for learning, and learning from others, and took me back to the first ‘YESSSSSSSSS’ traffic light moment as I prepped a course for teachers the following week.

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And of course a chance to see new lights and hats for project inspirations, and a bag of Blink! to take back home to bling something up!


Quite often new ideas emerge from working with young makers and their teachers in schools, or at community Jam events.

It’s always 2-way, and hearing 6 year olds talking about ‘amazing’ Raspberry Pi and realising some of it’s potential makes the future of digital making look very bright indeed 😀

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Wondered about the wonders of Pi? STEM to STEAM just got large scale in Hull!

Raspberry Jams are community events organised to support knowledge share, learning new skills, gleaning new ideas and meeting other like-minded digital makers using Raspberry Pi.

In Raspberry Jam group in Hull continues to grow and expand with new ideas and new projects.  This month we held our first event in the city centre.

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The first Raspberry Jam in Hull was hosted at Kingswood Academy in November 2014. Since then, Malet Lambert became hosts in April 2016 and the most recent event was held at Central Library on Albion Street.

This city centre location has allowed us to test out a new low power network being installed across Hull, as part of the Connected Hull project, and to launch some additional exciting STEM challenges.

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More details to follow soon…watch this space.

 

Details of the next Raspberry Jam event?

Join us in Hull to make, learn, share, tinker and invent together at the next Raspberry Jam on Saturday 22 April 2017.

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Everybody’s welcome, with or without your own mini computer, and it’ll be a great way to find out more about the wonders of Raspberry Pi.

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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Sharing learning through digital signage

I’ve been tinkering with this signage project, using Screenly, after a primary school asked for support to extend opportunities to communicate learning and news.

Their fundamental requirement is to share more brilliant learning around the buildings, with a limited budget, and that means using existing screens without adding further network points.

 

Images, links and video work brilliantly with the Raspberry Pi cabled in…..

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Next step to explore wireless capabilities in more detail and boot up again with school proxy settings  – the latter will be fine 🙂

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

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