Morse code messages with EduPython & CamJam EduKit @all_about_code

One of the most rewarding things about working in a school is seeing the development of skills as children challenge themselves at the same time as supporting each other. 

One of those examples is the continued support they are giving to testing out EduPython which is a Python Library created by 12 year old @all_about_code to make Python easier to use with the CamJam Edu Kit range. This week Jack and Matthew continue to help test out the library by sending messages using Morse code using EduPython resource sheet 5. Now just think about the hours of fun you could have doing that. We also had a look at coding a traffic light sequence with just a few simple EduPython commands. 

   
 
I think it is safe to say they found EduPython really quick and easy to use

 

We look forward to using it for more of the projects.To use EduPython open up the LX Terminal and type sudo pip3 install edupy a getting started guide and resource sheets can be found on GitHub bit.ly/edupygit

Spring Term 2016

Session 8

5 Digital Leaders & Pi. @MissPhilbin @LegoJames Our Story!

  
It might have seemed like a crazy idea to some, it would mean a really early start, major risk assessing and there was no guarantee we would be allowed to visit but knowing how keen Carrie Anne and the rest of the Raspberry Pi team are at encouraging young coders we thought it was worth a try. And we were not disappointed because of course they loved the idea of us making the journey down to visit. So after juggling around with a few dates we confirmed April 22nd which was the last day of our Easter Holidays. When it came to looking at train tickets there only seemed to be 2 options without costing hundreds. They were either set of around 8am and get to Cambridge for midday which seemed pointless or set off at 5.30am and arrive at 9.30am. But what on earth would the parents think and could the Digital Leaders get up and to the station in time. So we took the decision to run the idea past the parents first so as not to get the Digital Leaders  hopes up. We were apprehensive about what the parents would think about the time, worried that they would think us a little crazy but we needn’t of worried at all because their immediate response was “Yes what a wonderful opportunity, thank you so much. ” which was an overwhelming response and confirmation that we had not gone crazy. Needless to say when we informed the Digital Leaders they squealed and screamed in delight and the very next day they all returned their signed consent forms and train fare.

  
So at long last the day of our adventure had arrived. We all met at Preston train station at 5am, you could feel the excitement in the air. We boarded the train and waved goodbye to the parents who promised to follow our adventure on Twitter. So what is the first thing you think the Digital Leaders did, eat breakfast maybe? No in true Geek style out came the laptops, Raspberry Pi’s, Microbits, breadboards, LED’s jumper wires, you name it they had it – Mary Poppins bag had nothing on these guys bags! However hunger got the better of them and they soon cleared some space for Croissants and Raspberry Jam (of course).

  
After breakfast was done it was back to some serious coding other passengers were intrigued to watch them beavering away at their projects. @Girls2Geeks made use of the compass feature on the Microbit, whilst @all_about_code and @Gal_Tec measured the temperature on the train using EduPython and the CamJam Kit2,  William started exploring the Raspberry Pi Touchscreen meanwhile Noah couldn’t contain his excitement at having a plug socket in his table.

  
   
 Before we knew it we had arrived at Euston, some of the Digital Leaders had never been to London before and never stopped snapping away on the short walk to Kings Cross.

   
    
We were getting nearer, by this time we had been keeping a lot of our Twitter followers amused with our adventure especially @teknoteacher.

Finally at 9.35 am  we had made it to Cambridge. The excitement was really kicking in now. We made the short 5 minute walk into a 10 minute one by turning the wrong way but eventually there we were 30 Station Road and not a tower in sight. We quickly signed in at reception and took the lift up to the second floor where Carrie Anne and James Robinson were waiting to greet us. 

  
It was at this point that I think it hit the Digital Leaders, they were speechless, eyes wide open gazing around in awe they were actually sitting in Pi Towers. After the initial shock they quickly got their priorities straight and asked very politely for the WiFi code, after all they hadn’t had WiFi for at least 5 hours  which converts to weeks in their minds. After a quick brew Carrie Anne and James gave us a tour of the offices, we saw the rooms where the creative ideas got drawn onto whiteboards, the boardroom where all the big decisions get made and of course the hub of it all the main office where we were introduced to all the various teams of people from creations, education, designs, software development, event organisation you name it they’ve got it. Even Tim Peake’s Raspberry Pi’s were being monitored by Dave Honess. We were even lucky enough to meet Eben, Liz and Philip but we didn’t find out about anything top secret (Honest). After our tour we went into the Picademy classroom and set to work, firstly on a poster about ourselves and what qualities we had and then onto some digital art using the sense hat. We coded in Python and learn’t about the benefits of using variables. We designed two displays so that when you shook the Raspberry Pi the image swapped from one to the other. We had erupting volcanoes, blossoming flowers, changing weather, changing eye colours, growing raspberry and interchanging LED. They all looked great.

  
It was soon time for lunch which we quickly devoured after which Carrie Anne and James took us on a walk around the area. The Digital Leaders were fascinated and you guessed it off they were snapping away again. I fact we have given Noah the project of designing a Raspbery Pi head camera.

  
When we got back to the office @all_about_code gave us a presentation and demo of his EduPython project. It went really well and we were really proud of him.

  
The day was flying by and our time at Pi Towers was nearly over but not before our final treat. We got to meet the Creative Technologists who were putting together their final projects ahead of their exhibition the next day. We were able to ask them all about their projects, how they had liked the course and what they wanted to do in the future. We were all completely blown away with the standard and creativity of all the projects.

  

Now all good things must come to an end and it was time to say our goodbyes and thanks but not before a couple more photo opportunities.

  

  

So full of chatter about their exciting day we headed back to London to grab some tea before the train home.

  

Still very excited by the day’s events but clearly flagging we boarded the train back to Preston and although we did manage a bit of coding on the journey home I think we could all quite easily of nodded off. So exactly 15 hours later from when we met at the station we arrived back in Preston 5 Digital leaders all safely handed back to their parents. And 2 very proud members of staff who thought the Digital Leaders had been a credit to both their school and parents.

A big thank you to Carrie Anne, James Robinson and the rest of the Raspberry Pi Foundation for allowing us the opportunity of a fantastic experience we will remember for many years to come.

April 2016.

 

@all_about_code helps us to try out his Python module- EduPy for @CambridgeJam EduKit#3 Robotics from @ThePiHut

  
It is great to see the enthusiasm of our Digital leaders setting up their own web blogs, reviewing products, designing resources and having a go at creating a better way to use things already out there. This week @all_about_code helped us to build a robot using the CamJam EduKit he bought while at the Raspberry Pi Birthday Bash in Cambridge. The kit includes links to 9 worksheets that take you through a step by step process from building the robot to driving and turning, line detecting, obstacle avoidance etc – all the code is written in Python. @all_about_code decided to have a go at creating a Python module that simplified the instructions the user needs to give the robot to make it do things.

  
The group involved in building the robot throughly enjoyed the challenge and managed to debug problems from PIN numbers being the wrong way round,creating the motors to turn in opposite directions and making the robot spin to no movement at all caused by wires coming loose.

  
  
The EduKit costs £17 from the Pi Hut and contains 

Custom designed pre-soldered motor controller board

2 Dc motors (wires pre-soldered)

2 wheels

1 ball castor (acts as 3rd wheel)

1 small breadboard

2 pieces 3m strong double sided tape

Battery box for 4 AA batteries

Ultrasonic distance sensor

Line following sensor

Resistors and Jumper cables

A strong cardboard box to use as a chassis

So that we could drive the robot wirelessly we used SSH.

  
With so many projects to do with this kit I think we will be updating you on the progress over the next few blogs. 

 
Don’t forget to take a look at some of our Digital Leaders Websites

http://allaboutcode.wix.com/home

http://girls2geeks.wordpress.com

http://mypiblog.weebly.com

Spring Term 2016

Session 6&7