Aardman Animations

First Coding would like to share some great news with you all!

We have a year 8 pupil who is fanatical about animation and coding. This summer he worked on a complicated interactive animation built in Scratch and designed a web page around it to really show it off. We then sent it through to Aardman and last week one of their creative directors wrote the loveliest reply…

I think he has done brilliantly! To do ALL that, and at the age of 12, is fantastic! He has a long and exciting career ahead of him, he can go in any direction he chooses, and to be so dedicated at such a young age is wonderful to see. Well done, I look forward to what he creates next!

This is a great example of how children can unlock their potential through creative coding.

Meet the Maker: Q&A

As I’ve been coding all day I decided to take time out to answer a few questions. I am very fortunate to have been able to turn a hobby into a business and as my business, First Coding approaches the two year mark, I discuss what inspires me as well as offer tips for people who want to start out.

 

 

Virtually Anything

I have been so impressed over the last few months at the standard of work coming out of the various clubs and courses I run, I’ve always wanted to give the students further direction with regards to their creativity and coding. So I hit the ground running this year and after a great deal of hard work have produced this 24 page booklet on game design and distribution.

I used to make zines all time years ago and could see the layout of the booklets in my mind easily. It appears I’ve lost that skill these days but I managed to nail it with help from an old zine-making friend. Thank you!

Meeting Microbit

I was fortunate enough to talk with the people at Microbit whilst attending the Bett Show this weekend. They were really surprised at some of the projects that have come out of First Coding’s advanced courses, so well done to all! I came away with stickers for everyone.

This year I really want to push the Microbit to its limit to see what creative projects we can make.

 


 

 

A Challenge for the Tutor

I was recently set a challenge!

First Coding ran a number of coding completions and challenges over the Christmas period, however I never expected to be set a challenge myself! I’ve always claimed that a problem can always be solved with creative coding and so a group of pupils told me to pick a problem that bothers me and code a solution before Christmas. I listed a few problems and the pupils picked the issue of traffic volume in the area for me.

My solution doesn’t solve it as such but highlights how busy our roads have become. It takes a video feed of the traffic and converts the colour and frequency of the cars into musical notes. I’ve been testing it on the roads in my village, click the link to hear the musical samples. http://trafficjam.site11.com/

This could work in other areas too. Imagine using visitor numbers from a shopping centre to generate music for example, I think with a bit of fine tuning this project could prove a really interesting one.

Young Game Developers

Did you know that you can convert projects built in Scratch into standalone games, without the need to ever run Scratch? The wonderful games that my current pupils have built are all getting copied to CD so that they can be handed out as Christmas presents to their friends and family.

This is a real-eye opener for some as they have now become game developers by releasing their own games! I’m looking forward to seeing some of the packaging artwork that they’re now producing.

First Coding - Scratch to Exe

Online Teaching Resources

First Coding is very happy to reveal that after a summer of hard work our teaching resources are now online and available. Our resource packs are a subscription based online resource for primary and secondary school teachers as well as parents to aid in the teaching of computing within schools and the home. Not only does it provide teachers with classroom handouts, working project examples and PowerPoint presentations but subscribers have access to a monthly podcast of ideas for setting up coding clubs as well as a support forum and video seminars to help deliver great lessons.

First Coding Salisbury - Online Teaching Resources

Water Quality Monitoring

In today’s sessions we were looking at how we could use the Microbit to measure water quality. One idea was to use the light sensor, shining a light through the water to then have its intensity measured. Another great idea was to measure the conductivity of the water, as impurities would influence the readings. Here we’re just getting some base readings from ordinary tap water.

A New Podcast

As part of the teaching resource subscription package, I’ve started a series of podcasts covering a multitude of topics designed to help teachers and educators. As a little taster, here is the introductory episode for you to listen to.

Episode One: You don’t need to be an expert to run successful coding lessons.

Jez Whitworth, the co-founder of First Coding introduces himself and talks about how with his background in training and software development, identified a real need to teach coding to the younger generations. He also offers tips on how people who have little or no experience in teaching coding can become computer coding educators like himself and appeals for ideas on how best to encourage more girls to take up the subject.