Education, teachers and code clubs

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Elminster
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Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:55 pm

So I survived my first session of running a codeclub(.org.uk) this week at my local primary school.

Now while I am following the codeclub syllabus (now part of raspberry pi foundation) I am looking for things to throw in for fun, e.g. end of term, school fetes, that sort of thing.

I did chat briefly with Arcadia at ABUG south about educational material for acorn 8bits. Be also interesting to hear ideas from real educators like Flaxcottage and Richmond62. And anyone else who teaches, raspberry jams, runs makerspaces or coding clubs for kids etc.

I have been collecting bits and pieces gradually. As well as beebs I have RPis, microbit, Arduinos, a big traks. Looking to add some sort of robot and/or turtle.

I quite like idea of showing standard beebs games and then a fully tricked out Beeb. To show that it isn’t always technology that is the blocker but having the idea (I.e. a lot of our super mods now were technically possible in the 80’s in some form, but no one thought of it).

Anyway. Any ideas or lessons plans will of course be useful. I have done all the future learning courses for codeclub, stem ambassador and raspberry pi foundation so far.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by BigEd » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:21 pm

Well done - I think codeclub is an excellent thing to be doing. My only thought is that RISC OS Pico is a good facsimile of the Beeb world, direct on the Pi and with no emulation. Instant boot to a BBC Basic prompt, the usual BBC Basic facilities but with much improved video MODEs, and of course an ARM assembler for the advanced. But I don't know what might constitute an educational experience, let alone a lesson plan. Does anything from the type-ins thread help at all?

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:13 pm

Maybe. Doing things with pis is good as I have loads of them. The only issue is all the screens at the school I think are vga, so lots of adaptors. But may not be an issue as I was think perhaps Beeb/pi, microvitec bit, big trak, etc. Then if in pairs swap after 20 mins.

I could do type ins but I am not sure much benefit, you do the equivalent of type in on scratch but it is much more intuitive as to why you are doing it. Well I guess I could comment all the type ins, and picture etc. Maybe some of the software from the educational archive.

Food for thought. Thanks.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by flaxcottage » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:57 pm

Crash, Cargo, Compose, LOGO and Yacht Race are good pieces of educational software to grab the attention and interest of primary children. Then there are the Sherston problem solving adventures such as Animal Rescue, Microbugs, Nature Park Adventure and the Story Starts.

Older primary children love coding in BBC basic using the keywords PRINT, COLOUR and INPUT with strings in MODE1. If you introduce the keyword IF, then an insult machine has real appeal. Input a name, if it matches one typed in print a suitable insult or compliment. Put this inside a REPEAT...UNTIL FALSE loop and the children have real fun.

Program a conversation into the machine is another idea. These coding sessions only take about 30 minutes each.

COLOUR is best on a Pi, of course.
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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by BigEd » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:02 pm

Here's an earlier attempt to collect some thoughts. I would suppose interactivity is important, although getting a program to produce something colourful or musical might also hit the spot. (Thing is, I'm not an educator.)

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:38 pm

Great thanks. I have a few weeks to come up with the end of term ideas. Then the trial ends with the academic year. If all went well, we will run the club from start of next academic year and double the amount of people.

Once scratch modules are complete and we get onto Python I may mix it up with a bit of basic. Because it is an after school club I have to try and balance it all, or I will be a club of none.

Scratch is growing on me, you can knock up Atari vcs games in an hour or two. Been playing breakout this evening. Scratch 3 is out soon and gets rid of flash for HTML5 on web version.

Edit: not bbc related but I did come across this site, which seems to have some good examples outside of the usual places like rpi academy, codeclub and code dojo.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:00 am

BigEd wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:02 pm
Here's an earlier attempt to collect some thoughts. I would suppose interactivity is important, although getting a program to produce something colourful or musical might also hit the spot. (Thing is, I'm not an educator.)
The posts in 6502 are probably right on the money. Most of the tutorials for codeclub are games or programs that manipulate sound or graphics. https://www.codeclub.org.uk/projects Don’t think the kids would stick around if they were mad to program banking applications :)

Although I suspect 13 years olds designing their own 6502s computer will not be the norm. Although I only have year 4-6 anyway (8 to 11 I should think).

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by BigEd » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:15 am

Thinking about it, I'd be strongly inclined to stick within the languages which are part of the syllabus - but collect ideas for mini-projects to be executed in those languages.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:26 am

BigEd wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:15 am
Thinking about it, I'd be strongly inclined to stick within the languages which are part of the syllabus - but collect ideas for mini-projects to be executed in those languages.
Indeed, but remember the codeclub does not have to follow the syllabus for schools. There is also html/css on the site. And if you have a login to codeclub there is also lesson plans for microbit, raspberry pi and some other thing I have forgotten.

But at the end of the day it will come down to time, much easier for me to use precreated lesson plans and tutorials than try to develop bbc basic lessons from scratch (no pun intended! Although that is an idea, port scratch to Beeb, or write visual bbc basic in scratch!).

Another possibility is to use bbc basic for advanced people. I.e. so they don’t get massively far ahead in the material than the rest of the class, when they finish, for example, some python tutorial they could be given something else to keep them busy till the follow session.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by BigEd » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:35 am

There might be merit in taking the advanced students (for want of a better word) off into other diversions: but I'd rate Logo as more merit-worthy than Basic. I see there might be some kind of turtle graphics offering already.

The Pi is just a small computer, in this context, so it's a fine place to run Python, and a good platform for doing some I/O - leading to games devices, embedded computing, robotics. Possibly not too different from the Micro:Bit for that purpose.

Thanks for the pointer to learnlearn.uk - looks a little not-quite-finished but useful to me because it runs all the way up to GCSE.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by MartinB » Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:37 pm

Ed wrote:The Pi is just a small computer, in this context, so it's a fine place to run Python, and a good platform for doing some I/O - leading to games devices, embedded computing, robotics. Possibly not too different from the Micro:Bit for that purpose.
Don’t forget that the Beeb with I2C is pretty cool for doing all that I/O stuff - my grandkids are well into it, not least because you can use BBC Basic :D

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:22 pm

[quote=BigEd post_id=205441 time=1528626902 user_id=9120

Thanks for the pointer to learnlearn.uk - looks a little not-quite-finished but useful to me because it runs all the way up to GCSE.
[/quote]

Secondary age is better covered by coderdojo, and like codeclub, is now part of raspberry pi foundation. But also nothing stopping people using this as well. Also the stem ambassador site has lots of stuff as well, not just computing stuff. And they are just the UK ones.

https://coderdojo.com
https://www.stem.org.uk/stem-ambassadors

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:24 pm

MartinB wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:37 pm
Ed wrote:The Pi is just a small computer, in this context, so it's a fine place to run Python, and a good platform for doing some I/O - leading to games devices, embedded computing, robotics. Possibly not too different from the Micro:Bit for that purpose.
Don’t forget that the Beeb with I2C is pretty cool for doing all that I/O stuff - my grandkids are well into it, not least because you can use BBC Basic :D
Kind of why I got in to this, found I wasn’t teaching my daughter anything about computers, she get complimentary place at our codeclub.

And gives me an excuse to play with things like i2c without being told off by the powers that be.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:10 am

Came across this in scratch (requires flash or use Chrome, unless you download to machine and run in standalone scratch).

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/21631056/#player

Probably wouldnt be that hard to change for BBC ASM

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:45 am

Has anyone played with the new(ish) opensource Qlogo ?

Quite like that I can run it on win, Linux (including pi) and Mac without the need for any emulators.

Edit: my thinking is that logo a good way to get from scratch to python.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by BigEd » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:54 am

I've read good things about Logo, like children discovering for themselves how to tackle a program by breaking it into manageable pieces. And Logo is a Lisp. That has to be a good thing! (By which I mean, it's not a toy language, and it's not an ad-hoc language. More likely to help with good habits of thought.)

Best of all, it's very interactive and very graphics-friendly.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:00 pm

I remember using it [logo] at school before we went on to BASIC. I think it might be a good step from a block based language (scratch to a text based one (python). Also if I could hook up some sort of physical robot/turtle and ran on a pi, it could be a could intro to doing things with gpio etc.

Okay logo on my list of things to learn, after I finish scratch.

Also for people who think block based languages are ‘toys’, the gpblocks language (still in beta) gives you much of what you get in a full blown text language. These block languages are based on small talk, another language I remember doing a ‘term’ on a long time ago.

Edit: I see the MIT team behind Scratch attribute their direction to Seymour Papert, the father of Logo.

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by BigEd » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:18 pm

Smalltalk certainly has an excellent pedigree - if we didn't have the likes of python, perhaps that's where we'd head after the block languages?

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:21 pm

Perhaps I need to dig out my smalltalk books, or perhaps I have too much to learn already :)

BTW raspberry pi do a magazine for educators that I have been reading

https://helloworld.raspberrypi.org/issues

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by BigEd » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:26 pm

I did read through an issue of that when it was mentioned previously:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=13699
(Edit: and as I recall it was pretty good)

(My other half is helping at a code club these days, but I'm not (yet) involved in any way.)

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Re: Education, teachers and code clubs

Post by Elminster » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:34 pm

Volume 1 all about logo. I get paper version as well.

I like that it only comes out once a term, as I can keep up with them.

You can help at my code club :)

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