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.


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:


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 🙂

Ending the year with wearable sparkles

Seems fitting that after a year of deconstructing dance and concentrating on Tim Ferriss’s ‘material over method‘ approach that 2015 ends with final sparkles in the form of wearable tech with Codebug.

And with so many projects focused on inclusivity and participation, it’s been great to see new and emergent collaborations nurtured to share knowledge and projects.

Reflecting on Purpose before tech or vice versa this week, I’ve realised that during the year my intentions have differed through defined purposes.  And actually, I’ve probably learnt more about learning through computing with unfinished projects, collaborations and planning possibilities. Very much a personal fascination during MakerEd research observations.

Dance was different; very much so.  Learning analytics supported a focus looking at data to inform and giving me choices to make decisions impacting on my own performance.  Context and environment became the dance mantra when we realised the significance of these factors with my own learning.

Recognising the trip switch in my head that says ‘no more; data & info overload’ proved one of the more valuable tools supporting learning and teaching.  Both styles adapted significantly, on occasions, after becoming dependent on my afternoon’s work activities.  Moreover, repetition as a pedagogical approach finally nailed the spin turn 🙂

Next steps for 2016?

More projects exploring Learning Analytics in a school environment start in January.  If the approach impacted on my performance, then how can it be utilised in a school setting?  Can data, or rather which data (I’m not meaning the 5 A*-C stick), really impact on educational performance?  More so, what about impacting on students’ learning in primary or secondary school environments?  Can it?

Community learning events with Raspberry Jam also continue in Leeds on the first Wednesday in the month. Link here to the  6th January event at Swallow Hill Community College.


Raspberry Jam in Leeds

And there’ll be more news coming from the MakerEd Leeds research project too, as another school participate and more activities emerge.

Our blog is also live, now : )


Back to Uni & making way with a new MakerEd Research project.

Last year’s Jam Packed Tour was an amazing experience.  That’s a description in the cold light of day, and along the way I was known to have use figurative language comparisons along the lines of ‘bonkers, crazy and nuts’.

Not least that Alan and I had agreement from our employers to be released from commitments on ‘JP Fridays’ with our full-time role.  That was just the start of the fun*.

Throwing open the proverbial school doors with invites to community events on the Friday evening and Saturday more than cemented those initial Jam Packed aims and intentions at submission stage.

Along with Dave’s pedagogical and programming experiences in what I now know are generally (TNT) explosive situations, we soon realised what was possible with such a small team as we collaborated with the community.


Manchester Makefest

The tour gave an opportunity to engage with thousands, literally thousands, of learners, teachers and friends (old and new) from the Tech, Education and Maker communities.  Some were established advocates and specialists, whilst others took the chance to come along and explore the community for the first time.

And that gave me so many moments to ask everybody questions, learn from each conversation and give another clear perspective and focus for personal next steps.


Jam Packed Friday in Salford

Some of you know that, many moons ago, I started teaching with a Business Tech BEd. At the same time as following a traditional path teaching ICT I took the opportunity for personal CPD and eventually became a SENCO.

That background with special educational needs and inclusion in schools should go some way to explain my passion and commitment to extending opportunities for all.  And that’s where I became fascinated by the Maker Movement and Digital Making projects in education.

What’s next, then?

I’m excited to have been granted another sabbatical from work this year and have joined a small research team at Leeds University.  Most definitely a part-time commitment, this means that there’ll be a couple of us working with a small number of schools (teachers and students) in Leeds.  Note the similarities with a small team and huge development opps?!

The title of the research is ‘Digital Making across the curriculum: a socio-material intervention’.  In essence, it’s aim will be to identify ways that teachers explore the role of digital making in school, and within their curricula areas.

There’s more to add than that, but we’ll share through social media over the coming months.

That should also explain the recent travels to the FabLearn15 Conference at Stanford University.  As much as I’ve dreamt about visiting the resident sealions at Pier 39, and reflecting with a glass of wine, it was a personal development journey focused on digital fabrication activities in education 🙂

FabLearn summary gallery

And it was fun*.  Even now I continue to wear the rose tinted JP spectacles and the memory that with a small team, a round of large Americano coffees with extra shots and cake, anything is possible.

Ey up. A reight Yorkshire Day multi-player version of t’ wavy wire wi’ t’ Codebug?

It’s a tricky situation being the only Lancastrian in a Yorkshire household on 1st August.  Actually, a day of restraint and moments of lip biting so as not to become entangled and ignite the War of the Roses series.

So what better strategy than to beat them challenge them with their own Yorkshire rose?  Of course I’d have to make sure it was the right way up.  Again, so as not to ignite previous stand-offs.


2 leaves at the top?

A challenge fitting of Yorkshire Day celebrations to throw down the gauntlet with suitably bias proportions?

Better to stick to what I know best.  Take a computing challenge directly to them and altogether; better to test them collectively.


Multi-play wavy wire

And if I played it right, and gently nudged the rivalry enough to get a reaction, could I even get them to make the challenge for themselves? Not forgetting there are more of them.


Steady hand activity guide

Fortunately they took the bait early on, having already tinkered with Codebug, and accepted the White Rose Challenge:

  • 3 players, 3 Codebugs, one winner


Parameters set by Team Yorkshire?

“We’re only doing it if the rose is the right way up”.

FullSizeRenderWho won?

It’s an on-going battle.  Sorry, a series 🙂

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