Why the silence? Well we have been busy behind closed doors in the drawing room, working with partners to shape an ambitious programme that we believe will become a blue print for code education across the UK. In addition there’s a lot that’s been happening and that is coming soon (that will all come in a future blog) but for now I wanted to talk about what recently happened at the National Railway Museum, something that I am understandably proud about.
Following our successful October club and regular #CodeYork clubs over at Millthorpe schools, we wanted to make 2016 even bigger for the #CodeYork programme and to try and enthuse more adults and children across the city about the potential of coding.
Over 150 people signed up for our #CodeYork events and clubs last year, so as you can imagine a pretty big bar was set for us.
In February, we went back to Millthorpe, following our successful adult classes, determined to encourage adults to push themselves further. Our C# for adults classes have managed to engage adults in a fascinating language while also challenging the knowledge they picked up over the final few months of last year.
However the bar has now been raised with #CodeTrain.
If the October Code Club was a taste of coding, this was its buffet. A whole day from 10am until 3pm where children and teenagers could engage with various interesting activities relating to code that was designed to show what fun opportunities are around for people who take up the subject and its associated career paths.
We had a table for children to play minecraft with a twist, that twist being they had to code in the commands in order to do so! That was enabled by a small Raspberry Pi device which demonstrated the activities and opportunities for kids who were interested in exploring the vast possibilities enabled by these devices. Another table had laptops where children could play CodeCombat, a website containing fun games where children had to set python commands in order to navigate their character through different scenarios. These tables were managed by our volunteers and I would like to thank Alan, Bogdana, Daniel & Pedro in this blog for helping the event move smoothly, in addition to facilitating the many kids in attendance’s learning.
We had a table run by Geek Talent whom I’ll be working with on another interesting facet of the #CodeYork programme (spoilers!). Their table sought to educate children on careers and opportunities in their area and the pathways to best access these opportunities. I’d like to thank Dom & Becky for their amazing work on the day
In the afternoon we had special guests Shelly & Helger from Female Laptop Orchestra (FLO) come to educate children on Sonic Pi. Sonic Pi enables children to create sounds, loops and effects to virtually create music through python commands. The children who engaged gave some great feedback on this activity and generally seemed to enjoy themselves (it has to be said one groups efforts bordered very much on Doctor Who 1960’s music!).
Finally on our last 2 tables, a big massive thank you to Alex & James from the University of York Electronics Department for bringing a real headline activity. I lost count of the amount of children who upon entry to the venue darted across the room without hesitation to stare and engage with the robots on display. We saw swarm robots which were used in an activity designed to show how they navigate around difficult circuits, rubiks cube solving robots, robots designed to simulate scorpions and snakes and Nao, the robot that played football, threw some shapes on the dance floor (that put me and some members of my team to shame I’m reliably informed), and talked to children about what he was and could do.
All in all, the day was a success and for the team, it was simply rewarding enabling York children to access opportunities to get up close and personal with robotics, careers and coding.
So you can imagine my delight and pride that what then quickly followed up was next day front page coverage of the event and a wonderfully written article (which you can read here – bit.ly/HeadPress)
I’d like to again thank everyone who has given their time or helped in any way to contribute to the success of #CodeTrain, the volunteers, the venue staff, and my own team who have given so much time and worked at 110% to pull off such an successful event.
Finally, keep an eye out for my next blog where I’ll reveal more about our plans for 2016 and beyond and how you can get involved!