It’s Competition Time!

It’s that time of the year again where we launch our summer competition. The previous years have seen some great ideas being submitted and so we’re really looking forward to see what gets made this year.

The competition is open to all ages and abilities, runs for the month of August and games must be made in Scratch. This year, entries need to be based on a theme set by First Coding. This year’s competition theme is…

Signals

The competition is free to enter and entries can be emailed to hello@firstcoding.co.uk anytime during August. Judging will take place during the first week of September and prizes will be awarded shortly after. We will be awarding a £10 gift voucher for the best game produced as well as an additional £10 gift voucher for best creative effort.

Good luck!

 

Summer Workshops

We are gearing up for a creative summer once again and will be announcing our holiday coding workshops shortly. Back by popular demand will also be the App Building workshop and last year we saw a range of great games developed for phones and tablets – all with a pirate theme too!

Despite our summer classes being held online this year, we are looking at ways to compliment the workshops by posting creative packs out to participants. Included in the App Builders’ pack will be these rather nice keyrings that serve as a simple phone or tablet stand. Thanks to the pupils who have been testing these for us and helping to get the design just right.

BWS Summer Coding Competition

First Coding is very pleased to announce the first of many coding competitions this summer. Today we have launched the Bishop Wordworth’s School competition and it’s open to coding club members past and present. There will be Amazon voucher prizes for the person who can solve the maze in the quickest time, as well as rewards for best effort too.

The task is all based around mazes with pupils attempting to code their own maze solving program. There will be a couple of tuition sessions available in the coming weeks to help people get up to speed – this means that regardless of age or ability, everyone has a chance. Last year we ran a similar competition at the school and a beginner won the top prize, so please consider entering!

We’ve Broken Your Software, Sir

I was recently interviewed by the nice people over at TeachPitch. They wanted to find out more about the projects behind my TED talk and discover how I engage my pupils in my workshops. You can read the full interview here.

“It also teaches the pupils how to test what they make. I teach them how to trace their tests using trace tables. Being able to test software and document the outcomes is a good skill in itself. I can see that look on their faces when they do find something wrong with what I’ve written, ‘We’ve broken your software, Sir.’”

Postponed – Salisbury Minecraft Event

This week First Coding would have been hosting another Salisbury Minecraft event, this time in the Salisbury Art Centre. Unfortunately due to the current situation, it’s been cancelled. However, First Coding is now working closely with Wiltshire Creative to help organise another Minecraft event during the summer. So everyone will hopefully get the chance to build their favourite part of the city later in the year.

TEDx Salisbury

Last night Salisbury’s Arts Centre played host to a very special event, the city’s first ever TEDx talks. The theme of the evening was all about crossing boundaries with a set comprising of four guest speakers and two musicians. I was very flattered to have been selected as one of those speakers.

I thought long and hard about the topic of my talk and in the end went with something very personal to me, dealing with self doubt when artists and creatives showcase their work. I called it Connecting the Dots Differently and is all about the benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone. The video of my talk should be available to watch on the TED platform soon.

I remember the tickets selling out rather quickly but the popularity of the event wasn’t realised until I stepped out onto the red spot to be greeted by the audience. To be the first speaker at the very first event was a huge privilege, if not a little scary but once I settled into the talk and spoke about the many paths my creative coding projects have led me down, it all felt strangely natural. I think part of that is down to teaching and running classes both in schools and out.

Afterwards, the audience were encouraged to chat with all the speakers and I really enjoyed meeting everyone last night. There are so many kind and creative people who came out to see us, there was a lovely positive vibe about the whole event. To the people who told me they were going to give coding a try for the first time – go for it! To the others who said they never post about their passion projects through fear of rejection but are going to give it a shot after attending this event, you are awesome in so many ways.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped organise the TEDx Salisbury event. They were all volunteers, giving up their own free time to help make something magical and get the people of Salisbury sharing and discussing ideas.

My chatbot projects featured heavily in my talk, highlighting the many uses for a simple project born out of boredom a couple of years ago. There is now a simplified version of Cass online for people to play with, pull apart and add their own features if they wish to. The online version along with the code and Android download can be found here. I would love it if people were to get in touch in a few weeks time to share with me their ideas.