Friday, 6 May 2016

Courses and Conferences (Updated!)

Hi everyone.

It has been a while as normal with my blogging, real life and teaching takes over. But I thought I would drop a quite note about some events I am attending and running over the next few months.

I been lucky enough to chosen to speak/present at:

South London Raspberry Jam - 14th May in London - I will be running some workshops on Crumble Boards

National Computing at School Conference - 18th June in Birmingham - I will be talking about Crumble Boards and Robotics.

exabytes - technology in education conference - 23rd June in Bradford

1st Wimbledon Raspberry Jam - 26th June


I'm still running my termly CAS Hub session.

CAS Hammersmith Hub - 15th June in Hammersmith

3BM In association with 3BM, I will also be running a series of courses. They will be run in the afternoon from 1 till 4 and then again after school from 4.30 till 6.30. 

Physical Computing at KS2 - Afternoon Session - After School Session

Unplugged Computing - Afternoon Session - After School Session

Using a CodeBug - Afternoon Session - After School Session

Some links to other conferences that also look very interesting: 

Mozfest - 28th - 30th October - (I'll be helping out somehow at this one as well.)

Pycon UK - 15th - 19th September - Teacher day is the 16th.

Please check them all out. :)

Sunday, 24 January 2016

BETT Day 2 and 3.

So it is all over for another year.

So what and who did I come across that perked my interest that is worth sharing?

I started the 2nd day by taking part in two lego workshops. One using the new Lego Wedo 2.0 kit, (Which I have already blogged about here.) and then the EV3 kit.

The first workshop had us redesign Milo the Rovers head, so that it could move. It was a nice task that could easily be extended into design and science. The whole kit has a heavy scientific slant with which many themes that can be linked.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

BETT Day 1

Hi :o)

So my first day at BETT is over.

Thanks to everyone who said Hi, it was great to catchup.

My wearables jacket got a lot of love and it survived.

So did anything stand out? Well today I took a much more floating approach as I had a talk to give on a Stand and was helping on a tour with 3BM in the afternoon. 

Minecraft Education Edition was very interesting. I was waiting to see what Minecraft was going to do with Minecraft since they bought it. It is in simple terms a 'new' version of Minecraft that will replace Minecraft EDU that many schools use. It will be now linked to children's office 365 accounts. While I have some issue with the price, the new system seems to suggest that it will be very easy to install and set up servers. More information is coming on this.

There where many great ideas for how to use Minecraft in the curriculum. (I will do another post soon on some of theses) But below show a model of the human eye that you can walk around.

This one is all about digging up dinosaur bones.

I loved some of the new products form TTS. A NeoPixel Screen (£60)and a Controller (£20) both are to be used with scratch, They are simple to use and provide another level of input and output to Scratch. It makes it very simple to use in class. 

The also had a preview of a new robot called the InO-bot, it is a fairly impressive robots that has a lot of sensors. Its nice but there are lots of robots to choose from on the Market at the moment and I would still look to the mBot.

Before I did my talk on the mBot on the Exa Stand I saw Su Adams (@SuAdamsEdIT ) about the Sphero. Now I really like this robot but her maze idea is great. 

This I saw on another stand at the Show.

Me giving my talk.

Another new robot I saw called the Kubo Junior. It was a really nice KS1 robot that 'read' card on the table and then performed the instructions. They also talked about that it could be programmed in scratch and then even Arduino, by changing the head. It is going to be launched on Kickstarter later in the year.

Ohbot is a great programable head. I have 2 versions of it and think it is a great option for programming a physical device. (More to come later)

Some cool tech - a PiTopCEED which is a £99 screen for use with a Raspberry Pi. I have supported this on Indiegogo. More to come on this.


TTS also was launching a new bluetooth tile board for the Bluebot. Interesting but I think the same thing could be achieved with physical cards and work just as well. Could be good for SEN children. Need to look at again.

Explain Everything an App that we use in school for lessons, is introducing a new app that allows collaboration, It isn;t free, but seems to combine features of Showbie and Nearpod. Worth a further look especially if you really like Explain Everything. 

 Best Freebe of the show today a Mini mode of Milo the new Robot in Wedo 2.0. Thanks LEGO.

Thats all for today. Back tomorrow for more and Teachmeet!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Lego WeDo 2.0

I love robots.

At CES last week Lego announced an updated version of the Lego Wedo kit.

I really like the original kit. Its a great way to get physical computing into the classroom.

The new kit is not massively dissimilar in terms of the input and output options. It contains the same motor, a tilt sensor and light sensor, though the official site states that the seniors have been improved. These all connects now via a bluetooth control box.

The programming input is almost exactly the same as the original. 
So why is this new version so exciting?

Monday, 21 September 2015

Up to Orbit (Nearly)

So this weekend I successful launched a high altitude balloon and recovered the payload. This makes 2 successful launches. This is all thanks to the Raspberry Pi foundation and in no small way James Robinson and David Akerman. 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Links to help videos for Scratch and Kodu - IBM Summer School - IBMCLC


How to make a fish tank animation, fish tank game, race car game and a traffic light simulation

Kodu Guides

Some Cool New Robots - IBM Summer School - IBMCLC - Some links.


Below are a list of links and images from the Robots that I brought along.




This is a robot that is from a company called Makeblock, it was originally a Kickstarter project.

You have to build the robot when you receive it and it fairly easy to do and has good instructions. Out of the box it is controlled by a small remote control.  It has a number of built in inputs and outputs, light sensor, sonic sensor, 2 motors, a button, 2 LEDs, IR receiver, buzzer and i'm sure some more.

It can be connected wirelessly to the computer, you should choose the Wireless version as it is more reliable in a school setting.

It is programmed using a piece of software called mblock. It is a version of Scratch so every easy to use if you are familiar with it. It needs to be installed along with a driver installed.


For the price I think this is a super interesting robot. £60ish

  • It has a remote for easy control. 
  • Then once connected to the computer it can be programmed wirelessly. You can make it respond to the keyboard.
  • It can also be used to pass input back into the computer. So you can use the remote that you used to control the mbot to control something on screen  - Where it can be purchased in the UK.  - The main site. - A link to the main site about mbot.

This link shows a review of the robot and some comparisons to other robots.


Starter Kit

This is a small board that can be connected to motors, LEDS and other sensors. It only costs £10, the kit in the image above is £16.50

Today I had it connected up to a simple chassis with 2 motors and wheels attached. This is based on something that I had seen before where someone had using it in KS1.

It uses a simple scratch like interface for it to be programmed. You download the code to the crumble then it continue to run on the board. For example you can program the crumble to move motors in the shape of a square. You can also program lights to turn on and flash different colours. - Link to main site with information and a getting started guide, you can also purchase them from the site. - Links to more ideas.


  • Cheap
  • Introduction to simple electronics.
  • Simple to program
  • Can be used for more than one project.
  • Introduction to wearable tech.


Image result for spheroImage result for sphero

A round robot that can be remote controlled. It is has gyroscopic sensors in it. It is a toy but the creators have developed a number of apps that allow you to program it, they are Microlab and orbBasic, though interesting I feel they are quite complicated for primary.

But the Sphero paired with another app called Tickle, then it really unlocks possibilities. I have explored it somewhat. Tickle is another app in the style of Scratch or Hopscotch, you can make activities, games and more on the app, but what is really interesting is that it can connect to a range of devices.

Sphero is just one of them, along with Hue lightbulbs,  it seems that Dash and Dot also are now supported which is great.  - Check out the website and a link to the apps.


  • Robust
  • Easy to use