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Friday, 17 February 2017

micro:bit, MicroPython and Vex Robotics - hope for the future

micro:bit and MicroPython workshop at Pi Towers


Pi Towers Workshop (c) David Booth
Last Saturday I joined Ben Nuttall and other friends at the Raspberry Jam held at Pi Towers in Cambridge.

I ran a brand new workshop using a Raspberry Pi to program BBC micro:bits in MicroPython.

It went really well. The young had a lot of fun, as did their mums and dads.

I've turned the workshop workbook into a free eBook. You can get it here. I'll also be running the workshop again in London. Follow me here or on twitter for more information.

 

Vex Robotics 

A team from Henrietta Barnet present their work
On Tuesday I headed to Highgate Junior School where they were hosting a Vex Robotics competition.

I'd been invited by Andy Thompson who is Director of DTE at Highgate.

Last year Highgate team System32 won the UK National Championships qualified for the World Championships in Kentucky USA in VEX Robotics, so I expected a stiff competition.

I helped to judge a very remarkable set of entries created by some very capable, skilled and enthusiastic students from a number of London schools. It was encouraging to see plenty of girls participating - and winning!

I used to be a little ambivalent about Vex. My own preference has been to build my own robots from scratch, or as close as I could get.

I'm now converted.

Few students or teachers have the time or inclination to start robot-building from the ground up, but the competition showed how many can be really creative when provided with a well-designed kit of component parts.

The energy and excitement were palpable.

The day was fun for me, and clearly great fun for the students. I wish I could have joined them again for the second day of the competition.


Next week


On Tuesday I head over to the Science Museum to help out with #smHack.

Teams from all over the UK will be looking at ways to add value to the Science Museum's open API.

I'll be taking along some physical computing hardware to act as a catalyst.

As part of my research into the new architecture for C2Pi, I'll also be working on some more micro:bit hardware and software.

I'll be prototyping a numeric keypad for the BBC micro:bit.

Keep watching for more details!