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Popular taster sessions put the micro:beating heart into programming

Thursday 9th February 2017

To kick off our new Creative Computing Club in January, we ran a day of taster sessions to give as many young people as possible the opportunity to have a go at programming. The need for computer coding skills is ever increasing as our world becomes digitised so we wanted to show children what coding is all about and what they could learn about programming in just half an hour.

The event was an enormous success. Thirty-four young people and their families attended the day, which included two girls’ only sessions to allow girls new to programming the chance to have a go in a relaxed environment.

We brought our programming to life using BBC micro:bits and the programming language Python. Our attendees gave the micro:bits beating hearts by displaying pictures on the built-in display and wiring in a buzzer, then used their new skills to change it up – we had flashing cows, cats, and even a ticking clock!

BBC micro:bit beating heart

We were delighted that Steven Wray, an electrical engineer at Culham Fusion Energy Centre, was there to help as well as also being our new Computing Club benefactor. Steven won the 2015 Energy Zone category of ‘I’m an Engineer, Get me out of here!’, an annual online competition which gets school children asking questions of engineers in fast-paced chats and voting for their favourite!

Winners are awarded prize money to communicate their work to the public, and he has very generously donated both his winnings and his time to Science Oxford for our Computing Clubs, allowing us to buy exciting accessories for our micro:bits such as robot buggies.

So come along to future clubs to have a go and to ask Steven your own software engineering questions, and find out why he chose to donate his winnings to our Creative Computing Club in his recent blog here!

Science Oxford’s Creative Computing Club will run monthly, starting on February 25th with ‘micro:game’, where attendees will create a bop-it style game on the micro:bits, improving their programming, trying new things, and having fun whilst doing it!

By Sarah Townson

Technology Projects Officer, Science Oxford


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