Egham Jam & Picademy Round 2

As some of you may have noticed from my twitter, I’ve recently been invited to talk a couple of times about the things I’ve been doing since I attended Picademy last year. Firstly, I went to Egham Jam and met the lovely Albert Hickey, as well as a bunch of lovely and enthusiastic Pi people. Albert was showcasing his mind reading, flappy birds game, which had decided not to play ball, but was still interesting nevertheless. I also took a look at Seven Segments of Pi – a simple DIY introduction to coding and making, which really interested me and, when I have more time, I will definitely be taking a proper look. I was realy grateful to have the opportunity to talk to a room full of people which included school governors, children and makers. There were lots of questions, mostly from governors, who were really keen to get their schools involved with Coding Evening.

My next stop was day two of Picademy in Cambridge, where Carrie Anne Philbin had invited me to speak to the current cohort of RCEs about my journey over the last twelve months. It was a strangely exhilerating experience for me since it was exactly a year to the day since I attended Picademy and it was so refreshing to feel the energy and enthusiasm in the room. What I was not expecting was for Carrie Anne to tell the ‘students’ that I’d be on hand to do some primary level Scratch projects should anyone want to do that for their independent project so I was a little bit anxious when I sat down with two lovely ladies, Gill & Carol, to come up with a project that they could take home and show to their headteachers and demo easily in the staffroom. They both insisted that they wanted to use only the resources they had been given in their goodie bags, so we were lucky that they’d been given both a PiStop and a CamJam EduKit.

Without any input from me, the ladies came up with a project that I’d been looking at for a number of months, but still hadn’t put into practice: using Scratch with the PiStop, then the EduKit to demonstrate how to use a breadboard to create a circuit.

For the first part of the project, I knew what to do so I let the ladies work it out themselves, with a few gentle nudges from me; I was so impressed with their attitude and willingness to give things a go, especially with the difficult task of wiring up the breadboard. Just as we got it all working, Carrie Anne came in with a PIR sensor so that we could make our traffic lights sensitive to motion. All credit goes to James Robinson for help with Scratch as well as Martin O’Hanlon who helped us to solve the problem of how to detect someone jumping the lights! The ladies were really pleased with their final project and couldn’t wait to take it back to school; I felt so excited and proud to have been involved and to help inspire them further.

I was also really pleased with the overwhelming interest the other RCEs had in my Coding Evening project – there were at least three people who were keen to start their own and I’m really excited to be able to support teachers and other community groups with sharing their learning and ideas.

So, I’ve attended Picademy for the second time and, once again, I’ve left feeling ultra enthusiastic after meeting a great bunch of people who are all so eager to teach the new curriculum properly. I loved my first experience at Picademy, but I loved my second experience too and it still counts as my best training EVER. If you’ve not applied yet, make it your first priority next term – convince your SLT to let you take a couple of days off, do whatever it takes to get yourself up to Cambridge, or wherever else the course might be.

So, a final note, on Sunday, I fly over to Amsterdam to take part in ADE training with Apple (Apple Distinguished Educator) and I plan on wearing my Raspberry Pi Certified Educator badge with pride.

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