Something I have always enjoyed now I am working writing software and building websites is passing my skills onto young people. One of the most rewarding aspects of my role as a director of Hack Oldham is running workshops for people to learn new skills, these generally fall within the bracket of primary school aged children. When I was at primary school I I remember using the first version of the Scratch visual integrated development environment. As interesting as it was for me to write code for a cat to move across the screen and shout meow. I always found it was never quite stimulating enough to see a graphic change. I always enjoyed working with hardware and this is where the Micro:Bit really meets the needs of todays budding computer scientists.
I began writing these sheets as a part of some workshops I project managed in my role as Membership director at Hack. We, in partnership with First Choice Homes organised workshops to teach people in our most underserved communist the basic building blocks of code. For these workshops I had to write a series of worksheets to deliver at the session cross the Oldham borough. The Kitronik Micro:bit move is an accessory for the Micro:Bit which gives it two wheels and a set of 5 individually addressable neopixel LED’s. This gives a whole new scope to teach children how to write code and understand how it is ran on a hardware level. Kitronik also sells accessories for the Move such as a trailer, excavator bucket addition lighting. I plan to write worksheets that can be used for these throughout the coming months, especially as I go out to other organisations to run the workshops. Through my experience of running workshops for several different groups of people is that even within groups that all seemingly have the same background, the skill level of the group overall varied greatly. Therefore within my worksheets and activities I implemented differentiation, which is, in short a way to allow those who grasp the concept quicker the ability to challenge themselves and continue to grow their knowledge. I also added extension tasks which don’t contain answers, this reinforces the fact that there are many different ways to implement a solution to a problem in computer science.
I think that the Microbit really improved the way we teach people who are unable to code the basic building blocks of code. Almost like a budding musician learning the scales and then going on to play the symphony. There is exactly the same feeling of gratitude when a problem is finally solved. Those software developers reading this will know exactly what I am talking about! I have found that the hardware implementation of making a physical object actually move has been invaluable to really grasp the attention of even the most difficult of children to get to concentrate, The addition of real world challenges show to implementations of the ideas that are demonstrated in the worksheets. I particularly enjoy demonstrating the principles on the Micro:bit and then showing them our resident Dalek Bob who drives in the same way.
I have attached my sheets below if anyone would like to use them or suggest any others I could write.