I’ve recently started teaching programming to students at the London College of Communication (part of the University of the Arts in London).
One of the benefits of working with them is that they have some great making facilities and they are very keen that students and staff use them! Yesterday I joined the students for a screen printing workshop. This is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while. Three hours of inky fun!
We’ve recently kicked off our CoderDojo sessions at the University of West London in Ealing. For those of you who don’t know about CoderDojo, it’s an amazing initiative started in 2011 in Ireland but now operating in over 70 countries offering attendees free coding activities! All sessions are run by volunteers and attendees can be between 7 and 17. In September and October we had the following sessions in Ealing:
- Robots with Raspberry Pis
- Robot creatures with Micro:bits
- Micro:bit programming
- Robotic arms
Hopefully we’ll be adding some more in the future.
The sessions are attracting around 40+ students each month, so are clearly popular.
I’m grateful to the volunteers who have helped make these initial sessions a success: Lianne, Marco, Mikel, Maya, Luke, Mincy, Avye, Helene, Phil, Emily, Spencer, George, Vani, Kintesh, Felix, Rob, Hanif, Luke, The UWL Outreach Team and the UWL Student Ambassadors.
Back in October 2017 Kian came along to one of our first robotics courses (see post More Robots – Records Smashed!!). In September he came back for a one-to-one tuition session ahead of starting his degree in robotics at Sheffield University. We spent a couple of afternoons building a light-seeking robot, based around a Raspsberry Pi, with 4 light dependent resistors, one on each corner. Here’s a video of the end result:
It’s always satisfying when students move on to bigger and better things having benefited from our time together.
The school summer holidays were drawn to a close by two groups of friends at our robotics workshops.
Robots and controllers
In these workshops we used the micro:bit to build the robot. One of the great things about the micro:bit is the inclusion of a radio transmitter. The students were thus able to build a remote controller for the robot using another micro:bit!
With both groups being close friends, the competition levels were suitably high, with impromptu “robot wars” sessions breaking out in all corners of the room!
In this week’s Introduction to Robotics courses, we had quite a mix of students, coming from engineering and architecture backgrounds, as well as the usual mix of GCSE and A-Level students. This made for some innovate designs (particularly from the GCSE student!) which really tested our woodworking skills!
Today we completed our first ever Introduction to Electronics and Programming course. Using Raspberry Pi computers programmed using Python, over just 2 days students built:
- A digital-to-analogue “one-hand-mulitple-LEDs” clock using a stepper motor to control the hand.
- A 3-way parent sensor, using an IR beam, contact switch and PIR to detect parents approaching
- A gamepad, using buttons to control movements and actions, all wrapped in a neat wooden box
- A plotter, using a stepper motor to move a pen to make drawings
Six young students aged 11 to 15 came for a week of robot-building. Here are a couple of videos.