Inagurual CAS Mid Bucks Primary Hub

A quick blog post to share the two session presentations from the first Computing at School Mid Bucks Primary Hub, which were:

Using tablets to teach programming in the primary classroom

What to do when they’ve had enough of Scratch?

Further resources linked to the sessions can be found here

Thanks for the positive feedback about the sessions and to the researchers who attended from FMCC (Foundation for Multimedia Communications) in Tokyo, Japan. All being well, our next meeting will be in early December.

Family e-safety Hackathon

After being inspired by Alan O’Donohoe’s work at Nic Hughes school recently – https://teachcomputing.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/surfing-safely-in-hammersmith/ last week I ran a “family e-safety hackathon” for the children and parents at Swanbourne House School.

Details of the event, including examples of the work produced by the children and parents working together, can be found on the SHS Digital Leaders’ blog – http://shsdl.weebly.com/blog/family-e-safety-hackathon

 

 

Hands on with the BBC micro:bit iOS app

I’ve had a quick play with the BBC micro:bit app for iOS, which, on first impressions seems to work well. Unfortunately, unlike the Android app, the iOS app is simply a way of transferring programs onto the micro:bit and does not allow the micro:bit to interact with the phone at this stage. For example, on the Android app, the micro:bit could notify you of an incoming call. Hopefully this functionality will be available within future app updates.

I’ve made a brief video of pairing the device and flashing code… I’ll blog about the app further once I’ve had a chance to use it in the classroom.

CAS London workshop – Advanced Scratch (Virtual Pet)

My Prezi for the CAS London workshop is available below to view or here – http://prezi.com/5lunf-caqmco/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

An example of the finished Scratch program can be found here – https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/97896014/

The example code blocks can be found here – Virtual Pet Examples (PDF) Virtual Pet Examples (Word)

My Scratch booklet to help teachers of KS2 pupils, which is rated with five stars on the TES, can be found here – http://computingchampions.co.uk/scratch/

Tilting Text Entry on the BBC micro:bit

I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a BBC micro:bit, which were delivered to Y7 teachers last week. The micro:bit website provides a range of resources to help secondary school teachers and I intend to produce a guide for primary teachers over the next few months.

On the micro:bit website, pupils can write their programs using a number of environments, including the “Block Editor”, which is very similar to Scratch. For more advanced programs, Mu – a “micro” editor for MicroPython and the BBC micro:bit, can be used, which is currently in development here. If you’re familiar with Python, Mu is a joy to use and even displays error codes on the micro:bit’s display!

To test how this works, I decided to make a program allowing text to be entered on the micro:bit itself, which can then be scrolled across the device’s display. This is likely to be useful if you’re using your micro:bit as a wearable and want to change the text while away from your computer. The program can be seen in action in the (shaky!) video below:

The code is available on GitHub here for those of you who would like to use it yourself, or even enhance it.

Let me know what you think on Twitter @computingchamps