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.


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.


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.


Leeds Raspberry Jam: First birthday at Swallow Hill

Wow – a year since we started to put our monthly meet up into the calendar at Swallow Hill !

This month’s Raspberry Jam had the usual mix of shared projects to make and individual projects to share.

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And with birthday projects came cake 🙂

We’re continuing to extend projects with a digital making focus.

That saw Anne sharing wearables projects this month using microbit and  Codebug, alongside other creators building and hacking games.

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Clear skies on a Wednesday evening also gave us the fantastic opportunity to track the ISS with Mark’s build from this original project.

Using the SenseHat gave more visuals on the matrix in the form of country flags as the space station passed over each country.

Quick video link below as we tracked it over Ukraine, and speed over distances surprised many of us as the ISS clocked up Vietnam to Armley in 20 minutes.

If you’re interested to see when the ISS is next over your neighbourhood, then this alert link from NASA is an excellent reminder.

Next Raspberry Jam in Leeds is Wednesday 2nd November.  Link for free registration is here.

Hull Raspberry Jam, September 2016

Another great community learning event when over 80 people registered, and this time planned with more support for a wider array of digital making projects.

We were joined by friends from GPIO and Code Club  who added to the workshop programme and gave more opportunities for hands-on learning, collaborating and networking.

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Highlights above from Trevor’s ‘Introduction to GPIO – Hello World in lights’ workshop and creative inventions from the ‘Wearable wonders with Codebug‘ activity.

Great also to see projects used before the Summer inspiring new challenges away from the Jam, and bringing them back to share with others.

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With that, peer to peer collaborations focused on IOT using the Pimoroni Flotilla packs and MinecraftPi builds continue to inspire our younger members.

The hackspace gives the chance to work on individual robot projects and we also had a couple working on a flight simulation digital making piece using Scratch on the Pi.

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We shared our ‘Do not feed the bears’ project, demonstrating text to speech and an intro to capacitive touch with Bare Conductive’s PiCap using Python on the Raspberry Pi.

So much more code and tools to explore for next time 🙂

Sharing ideas and resources, along with a chance to catch up, are all part of the spirit of the Jams.

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And great to see our Jam library expanding and being used 📚

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Hands-on training from Victoria, our regional Code Club coordinator, for volunteers about to launch a club for 9-11 yr olds and an overview for those planning to offer a club:


Great to be able to use our Codebug devices (thanks again CPC!) and offer a practical session as a starter to the wonders with wearables.

We’ll continue to develop opportunities to extend digital making activities for everybody coming along to Malet Lambert.

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Look closely and you’ll see some of our younger members helping others to write and download the code onto the device.  We do say we’re all learning together!

Below is a snippet of Anne’s #TedBot8 project that she’s been nurturing with her grand daughter over the Summer.  Inspiration comes from a film and together they’re building the project and creating a guide which we’re looking forward to seeing next.

Big shout out to our friends from Huddersfield Raspberry Jam who came to support and inspire, then set off on a Jam Coast to Coast journey to finish their Saturday in Blackpool.


Last we heard from them,  they’d arrived in time for the Blackpool Raspberry Jam birthday pizza 🍕.

Also to mention is Jon for his brilliant new logo for Hull Raspberry Jam. With a backdrop of Amy and Jason we’re looking forward to more digital making projects and STEM to STEAM collaborations across the city :


All singing & dancing STEAM’d cake

The challenge was set:

To create an ‘all singing & dancing’ Strictly-themed cake and one that scores a ten for creativity on the paddle.

Lights, hidden wearables and a collaboration with Jo at Joy To Eat Cakes:

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And a musical code remix:


From Leeds to #Rio2016 with Codebug

We used Codebug as a means to share local sporting  stories but the purpose was to explore possibilities using servos with maker projects.

Moreover, the process of adding additional servo outputs and with them project complexities.

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Drum beats and robot waves were the starting point for some creative problem solving when initially tackling the code and wiring.

Step by step instructions from one of the learning activities proved invaluable until the point of adding the second servo, and then the serious debugging kicked in : )


Link to Waving Codebug activity

Starting simply with code to turn about 90˚ and with short pauses led to a Nicola Adams’ themed build.


Although the wiring still needs a tidy up:

From that grew triathlon-esque levels of complexity with decisions about servos as the most appropriate method to rotate 360˚.

No, but another couple of disciplines to recreate a Brownlee challenge meant no hold-ups in those transition stages.  Until next time!


And did we learn anything else to add to next projects and plans?

Of course.  Servo motion control with the device lends itself to numerous applications using Codebug.

Catapult contraptions à la Rube Goldberg await, although we’ve vowed not to test out prototypes in the vicinity of the cat again 😦


Seamless wearables from #DayToEvening


There’s one aim in this tinkering project; to use whatever successes, frustrations and new knowledge gleaned to plan activities and develop next generation digital making sessions.

Time to tinker and explore means ideas to be inspired, engage, collaborate and share new processes and opportunities through community, work and personal projects.

That shouldn’t be lost in the tongue in cheek approach to design thinking whereby I’m using technology as an aid to reach a goal.  And that goal is still undetermined.

But I do know that these iterations will move me that step closer to a seamless transition from day to evening wear which some friends simply nail with ease : )

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Design iterations

The MakerEd Leeds research project, and other design based activities in schools, have given numerous opportunities to explore the power of invention and self-directed learning.

I’ve been fortunate to observe examples of personalised and collaborative student approaches in schools’ maker environments, particularly interesting as learners develop complexity in their design and making practices.

For some, a shift in project purpose has emerged through iterations when ideas are revised and shared.  For others, maker has given the chance to shift end goals as new insights and skills are applied to their purpose and complexities.

Fundamentally though, it’s been reinforcement to the ideas that digital making can be self-differentiating and inclusive across key stages.

Building on complexity

Complexity can change purpose, so I’ve been tinkering with new additions, tools and resources to extend a range of wearables projects planned using Codebug.

Student projects incorporating the physical computing devices have included name badges, scrolling message boards and gaming machines.  From that has developed a wider design plan beyond code as textiles, materials and tools have been added with changes to the design plan.

One notable shift came through the addition of sensors to a project, which added complexity and the overall purpose of the project to have a safety focus rather than purely aesthetic.

Additions as project extensions, but also as ideas and inspiration for progression of personalised learning with design iterations, have come in a number of forms.

Adding light sequences with Colour Tail

Adding sound and music to projects

Adding bling possibilities to wearables with Glowbugs

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Next steps

Project Jacquard from Google has also been a catalyst to experiment with approaches to integrate woven circuits through e-textiles and explore the applications of thermochromic paint.

Using conductive thread with wearable projects has opened up many design thoughts and iterative ideas, although that came in a week of Yorkshire rain. Light and heat of an English Summer much needed to transform a wearable spectrum of colour!

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Now that we’ve successfully coated our own thread with thermochromic paint, those next steps are being formulated.

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Watch this space 🙂

Strictly wearables: e-textiles without needle pain

How to solve a problem of a dance bag forever left at venues and preparation for upcoming e-textile events?

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Easily done with a ‘pimp my bag’ challenge and only one rule.  You can never have enough bling.

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And special considerations given for those of us challenged by needle skills and who never made the grade with O’Level Domestic Science.

Hence my latest love for all things furoshiki style.

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Just one Codebug would seem plain, but two and it’s lights, song and dancing : )

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Strictly Colourstar:

Strictly tunes:

Work in progress, less is less. #BlingItUp 🙂