Retro Gaming Workshops

First Coding will now be running two Retro Gaming coding workshops this month. They’re being held at The Old Fire Station in Salt Lane, Salisbury and each one costs just £20 for the two hour session. The times of the workshops are below:

Saturday 11th August 2pm – 4pm
Saturday 18th August 2pm – 4pm

If your child is aged between 10 and 14 and would be interested in attending one of the workshops, then please drop me a line.

We’ll be using Scratch, a visual programming language that is used in most schools. Scratch can be used in very clever ways (including designing this video for the workshops) and is a great gateway into learning to code.

Birthday Party

This week saw First Coding host its very first children’s party. The parents were looking to host a party with a difference and approached me to see what I could do to help. So this weekend we had eight young coders all working away on their own games to then go head to head to win prizes at the end. The prizes I gave away were copies of this rather fab Scratch coding book based on Star Wars, check it out here.

It was a great deal of fun for all, including myself who got to work with some great kids with some very creative ideas, all whilst being fed cake.

First Coding Birthday Party

Computer Science: Real World Talks

I was kindly asked to talk at the Wessex Partnership’s Computer Science Real World talk this week.  I talked about how the benefits of personal projects and how taking the bold step of engaging with the maker community can open doors to some nice unexpected surprises.

I loved how all the presentations flowed nicely into one another and all coincidentally highlighted a couple of common themes. I was also very pleased to present in front of such a keen and engaging audience who I hope went home with heads overflowing with encouragement and ideas.

STEM Talks

It was an absolute pleasure to talk to the sixth formers at Bishop Wordsworth’s yesterday about computing as part of their STEM day. I talked about a number of my projects including hacking a Furby to read my emails and even the students who don’t take computing as a subject were asking how do they start coding fun projects like mine. I really hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

STEM Talks Bishops Salisbury

Adventures in Coding

The presentation I give to KS2 children is all about how programming isn’t just restricted to the computer in your home, it can be applied in many other exciting areas.

First Coding - Adventures in Coding Presentation

To illustrate this, I talk to pupils about a small project of mine that allowed me to go on and meet Star Wars actors and other childhood heroes. People who create are always held back by the thought that their ideas aren’t good enough and I’ve seen this a great deal lately. Trust me, if my little idea that started out as a simple Scratch project sent me on a wonderful mini adventure, there is absolutely no reason why yours can’t too.

If you think a primary school would benefit from a visit and a talk from myself then please drop me a line at hello@firstcoding.co.uk.

Minecraft and Code

This week saw me visit the Bett Show which is an educational tech exhibition held in London’s ExCel Centre. The show is massive to say the least and in order to get the most out of my visit I put together a list of some of the people I wanted to talk to.

At the top of my list was Microsoft and the work they’re doing to with their Minecraft Education Edition. I spent a great deal of time talking to them about ways I can incorporate Minecraft into my coding courses and came away feeling very encouraged along with a couple of really good ideas about how to take things forward.

Microsoft at the Bett Show 2018

Integrating coding into Minecraft is easy and fun with the Code Builder which is based around the visual coding platforms such as Scratch that most of us are familiar with. This really simplifies the process of using code to manipulate the virtual world and offers an easy progression process when pupils are ready.

Microsoft at the Bett Show 2018

I also spent time with Google and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, again looking at ways to integrate their products into First Coding courses. Both stands were incredibly interesting to spend time with.

Other highlights include meeting a number product designers that I’m a huge fan of and have followed and read about them for years. Oh, and I also got to play and see inside the largest working Gameboy in the world. It’s surprisingly similar to how I made my arcade cabinet and I’m now wondering how one goes about breaking a world record.

Largest working Gameboy in the world

 

Salisbury’s Digital Drinks

Last week saw The Old Fire Station here in Salisbury host another Digital Drinks event. Here digital curious people of all ages, abilities and interests get to meet up and discuss ideas over drinks. This was also the perfect venue to showcase First Coding’s courses that start in January.

As a way to draw people in I brought along the arcade cabinet that I made (the build process being detailed here) and loved talking to visitors to my table about providing the younger generations with the building blocks to create their own ideas using Raspberry Pis.

First Coding at Salisbury's Digital Drinks

I was also fortunate enough to attend the talk given by Jeremy Heath-Smith, executive producer of the Tomb Raider games and found his account of his ups and downs in the gaming industry to be very honest and incredibly inspiring.