I’ve been fascinated by ‘desire lines’ way way before I knew they had a name. They always made me smile, whether they were the physical paths worn into the world by human walkers, or those transient desire lines made by students (and teachers) in school taking the ‘Módh Díreach’* to their destination rather than the path outlined by management.

I posted a picture of an evolving desire line I’d used in Limerick University this summer. Quick as a flash, as is his wont, my friend and erstwhile mentor Dr Conor Galvin, from his square-laked UCD campus, conjured Freire conjuring Machado with the loveliest riposte: ‘we make the road by walking’.

…we make the road by walking…

It made me smile, and I still smile and have a little moment about it with every desire line I stumble upon (figuratively, not literally; if ever I actually stumble on one I will not smile).

And so, walking yesterday in one of Dublin’s meticulously planned geometric business park areas, thinking about what to say at a forthcoming return visit to the Scottish Learning Festival TeachMeet, I stumbled upon a new desire line. My phone being dead, there’s no picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I stopped to look at it – a very definite diagonal of worn dirt in an otherwise pristine clinical concrete grid of perpendiculars. I heard a Carrie Bradshaw voice in my head ask: is this TeachMeet phenomenon forming a desire line in teachers’ professional development landscape?

Hmmmm. So there’s a desire line of thought to kickstarts year 2 PhD research.


*Modh Díreach: An infamous piece of learning in Irish language grammar, now a term used by us in English to denote taking a direct pathway or action.

Scratch 2017 Conference – Chapter 6 of 6: ten take away ideas for CS

This post was easier than the previous five – just a copy/paste my list of “check these out” that built up over the week during pre-conference, conference, unconference. Each attendee’s list will be different – my list criterion was “stuff I’d consider using with students in a second level CS class”.

  1. BeetleBlocks
  2. Sonic Pi 3
  3. TurtleStitch
  4. Snap! and Snap4Arduino
  5. PocketCode – Catrobat
  6. Scratch 3.0 en route
  7. GP beta
  8. Netsblox
  9. Sensor light project by Uwe Geisler
  10. Digital Art projects by Joachim Wedekind
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    Alligator is SO this season…

     


Series of posts posted post Scratch Conference in Bordeaux, France, July 2017:

Chapter 1 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – inclusive, interwoven, inspiring

Chapter 2 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – pre-conference

Chapter 3 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – conference action

Chapter 4 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – unconference and extracurricular activities

Chapter 5 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – family matters

Chapter 6 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – ten take away ideas to check out for CS

IMG_9752Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – Chapter 5 of 6: family matters

Having now attended several Scratch conferences, there is something that cannot be denied – number one variable to make it such a good experience = the people who attend. [It was our friend Bianca Ní Ghrógáin RIP who first referred to the Irish delegation in Barcelona 2013 as ‘the Fellowship’.] And though the content listed in the programme suggests a super few days of learning, it comes nowhere close to defining or explaining what happens on a personal level. Everyone who attends is there to learn, but also to share. One might sniff a flavour of the atmosphere along the Twitter timeline, and I think Steve Holmes and  Sam Aaron both sum it up well as examples of many folk’s “exit Tweets”:

So many of the conference social media uploads refer to ‘family’ – the Scratch family from MIT led by Mitchel Resnick, the Coderdojo family, the ‘Orange’ family, Ada’s Army, the Catalan family, the Warwick family, the TeachMeet family (woohoo, Drew Buddie, you did it again, oh yeah), the BJC/Snap family (or the ‘mens shed’ as it always brings to mind when I see them in a happy huddle), and now the Africa family – and it looks like this last may be inheriting the mantle for hosting Scratch 2019.

Joek’s team (now includes his own personal family that he drafted into to team) is very special, and could grace any action movie that needs mountains moved: Sarah, Rebecca, Aris, Isa, Margaret, Samir, Marie, Genevieve, Mags, Frank, Marie, Samir, Susan, Adel, Alan… [please let me not have forgotten anyone, but forgive me and correct me if I have!]

The “Young Ones” in the family, referred to as the next generation by Saskia Leggett of MIT, asked for advice during their closing Keynote. We’ll be watching out Samson, Matthieu, Taryn, Alden, Jennifer, Linda and Rosie!

My Scratch experience would not be the same without my travelling companions and roomies – John Hegarty, the original moving blue dot of The BCN Fellowship; Richard Millwood, Eileen Brennan Freeman and Natalia Monjelat of our gorgeous Air bnb (what a stroke of luck that you took a chance to share with us, Naty!). So much thanks to the four of you for the company, the fun, and the care taken of each other at Rue Cheverux and across the city all week.

And finally, most importantly, my special Red Letter SuperHero award goes to my fellow Code Week EU Ambassador Alan McCullough, who was not only super generous with his car, his time, his patience, but gracefully kept all his plates spinning with Irish good humour, 24/7, all week.
A few small birds tweeting reminded me that today is your birthday – hope it has been a special day on holidays with your family, Alan. 


Series of posts posted post Scratch Conference in Bordeaux, France, July 2017:

Chapter 1 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – inclusive, interwoven, inspiring

Chapter 2 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – pre-conference

Chapter 3 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – conference action

Chapter 4 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – unconference and extracurricular activities

Chapter 5 of 6: Scroll up ^ 

Chapter 6 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – ten take away ideas to check out for CS

Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – Chapter 4 of 6: unconference and extracurricular activities

This conference was rich in ‘unconference’ activities, most of which took place in a very unique and gorgeous venue, a community centre, called Marché Des Douves, run by Kirtin and her team. Joek and Samir, the organisers advance team scouts, had literally cycled into by chance last winter when scoping out city venues. Lucky for us all that they did – it became what Joek named ‘our living room’ for the week of the conference.

Wednesday night:
Cynthia Solomon started the evening with a lecture and slide show celebrating Logo 50. Cynthia’s style is what we’d call in Ireland a ‘seanchaí’ – a fireside storyteller; the audience thouroughly enjoyed this insider view from beginning to end.

Then we untidied the chairs and got going with the TeachMeet – Drew Buddie as MC, Richard Millwood as technical director, me as ‘green room’ liaison and analog random name picker, and the new member of the team – the foundling Caterpillar of Doom. This was an unusual TeachMeet, beginning late and ending almost in the dark, lending it the atmosphere of cabaret. Kudos to the volunteers who did Nanopresentations and Soap Box corners, the variety was just what a good TeachMeet thrives on! The age profile of presenters was wider in range than I’ve met before – teenagers to seniors – and it made for a lovely positive finish to the day.

microbitSpecial thanks to Micro:bit Foundation for the BBC micro:bit that Drew awarded to each presenter as they finished – a surprise reward welcomed by each recipient.

 

ScratchTeachMeetPresenters

Thursday night:
Marie Duflot and company presented a short drama, Mary’s Removal, full of fun and irony, during which Mary’s friends help her to move her boxes of stuff to her new flat, and in return she teaches them and the audience some central principles of computer science. It culminates in a whole group activity to demonstrate how semantic sorting works – there was 55 of us in the sort, and we did it!!

Then Zoe Philpott as Ada Lovelace took to the stage wowed the auditorium. Zoe did the pre-show ‘dressing’ on stage – this was a rare treat, seeing the electronics explained as stage manager KD put everything in place. Both the medium and the message are seriously intertwined, and Zoe’s delivery is fluid and fearless. Judging by the reaction, the audience won’t forget this show for a while.

Friday night:
This took ‘unconferencing’ to infinity and beyond. We gathered at the iBoat which is docked in tidal basin of Bordeaux, and were treated to a full monty algorave with Sam Aaron live coding. I suspect no one who was there will forget the atmosphere. Of all the outside-box off-wall ideas that took shape in Joek Von Monfort’s head while imagining this, or any, conference, this one took the Scratch philosophy “imagine program share” to the limit in a way few could have predicted.
[To up-end a Fr Ted call: Up With This Sort Of Thing!]

Saturday:

IMG_20170722_122554Back to Douves we went on Saturday morning. There was a series of activities on offer for the local community, and any conference attendees still in town. Marie Duflot was again walking folk through unplugged activities, Brian Harvey offered a short class on recursion in Snap! before Yoshiki Ohshimi (who gave my fave statement of the week – I’m 45, but inside I’m 15) and Jens Monig assisted John Maloney as he walked an eager class though a morning workshop using his new language GP. And John demonstrated that if he ever ends his career writing computer programs, he will get a job as an impromptu sign writer.

The real excitement of the day was in the auditorium upstairs, transformed for this morning into a dance and recording studio. This workshop put the ‘extra’ in extracurricular. Choregrapher and data scientist Genevieve Smith-Nunes walked the participants thru the data capture procedure she was going to use – we would each dance for one minute to some music, live coded by Sam again, albeit in a more sedate morning-after-night-before ambience; the movement would be recorded digitally; Genevieve will in time process us each into sprite form for use in her VR productions. Cyber-Fame at last!
This was a delightful process. Susan Ettenheim did a warm up with us using some of her dance class moves, we practiced as a group, then danced through our recording. Can’t wait to see the result – eh, no pressure, Gen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprites at the ready

Cynthia, Zoe, Mags, Adrian, Rosie, Gillian, Sam, Susan preparing to dance with our cyber-choreographer, Genevieve.

It was eventually time to leave and wander away to dinner and final goodbyes – and for my squeaky chicken to say ‘pieu-pieu’ to her new friend…

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Series of posts posted post Scratch Conference in Bordeaux, France, July 2017:

Chapter 1 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – inclusive, interwoven, inspiring

Chapter 2 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – pre-conference

Chapter 3 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – conference action

Chapter 4 of 6: Scroll up ^

Chapter 5 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – family matters

Chapter 6 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – ten take away ideas to check out for CS

Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – Chapter 3 of 6: conference action

Conference Programme details are here

Conference videos uploaded here

The most striking thing about the programme for the 2017 Scratch conference was the wide variety in presentation format, topics, and nationality and profile of the presenters. Formats included keynotes, ignite sessions, workshops, demonstrations, presentation, discussion forums, and a massive poster session which had interaction akin to a ‘maker faire’. We had presenters came from every continent, who ranged in age from teens to seniors. There has been a tendency for Scratch conferences to have an ever increasing diversity in range of subjects and perspectives, and this certainly continued here. I think Ricarose sums it up well here:

I didn’t get to everything I’d earmarked [disappointed in particular to miss the arduino creativity with the Warcwick Tech Volunteers, and art ideas of Joachim Wedekind], but I touched base with many exciting and inspiring teaching sessions – Snap4Arduino with Bernat Romagosa; TurtleStitch with Andrea Mayr, Susan Ettenheim and Jennifer Lin; fractals in Snap! presented by ringmaster Dan Garcia with the BJC collective; unplugged activities with Marie Duflot; wearable interactive devices with Sue Cusack and team; – and discussion sessions – in particular one very engaging ‘Open Space’ discussion on the future of programming, hosted by Richard Millwood and Felienne Hermans.

I love, love, love the Ignite sessions as hosted by Frank Sabaté, each conference they get better, and reflect the careful curation Frank pours into them.
Some Keynote takeaways for me were – the grace and determination of Zoe Philpott when she talks of inclusion of girls in world of tech; the emotion in Mitchel Resnick when he speaks of the late great Seymour Papert; Sam Aaron enchanting and energising the auditorium as he live coded us through the possibilities of SonicPi; the energy emanating from the continent of Africa, and the honesty and hope presented in the final keynote hosted by ‘the young ones’.

As well as the timetabled sessions, this conference had some serious added value, reflecting the emphasis Joek places on human interaction  – the compact geography of Einserb venue meant we got to have the chats between sessions; the closed captioning instant subtitles by Michelle & Shane which lessened the mixed language for many; the omnipresence of the delightful film makers Genet & Zoot, whose light touch made it a pleasure to have them about the place; the unfolding cartoons displays from the three deft animators; the picnic lunches each day, served outdoors to a funky soundtrack; and the most wonderful idea of having the student café kept open all day for us – top quality fuel for conference attendees and worker bees alike – café solo, ‘on tap’ so to speak, for just 1E!

 

 

The Irish delegation did our flag proud – as well as meself there were John Hegarty, Eileen Brennan Freeman, and Richard Millwood of CESI; Claire McInerney of LERO; Mary Brown of Clare Ed Centre; Pete & Ross of Coderdojo Foundation; Sabine McKenna of CCC Skerries; Steve Holmes of Creative Computer Lab Gort; and we still Alan McCullagh [currently on free loan transfer to France].

 

 

As the final keynote session of the conference was hosted this year by the youngsters, I’ll leave the last word on the Scratch 2017 Bordeaux conference programme to one of them, Taryn from South Africa…


Series of posts posted post Scratch Conference in Bordeaux, France, July 2017:

Chapter 1 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – inclusive, interwoven, inspiring

Chapter 2 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – pre-conference

Chapter 3 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – conference action

Chapter 4 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – unconference and extracurricular activities

Chapter 5 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – family matters

Chapter 6 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – ten take away ideas to check out for CS

Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – Chapter 2 of 6: ‘pre-conference’

Monday July 17 2017, 10am. At Einserb, L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Électronique, Informatique, Télécommunications, Mathématique et Mécanique de Bordeaux, preparation begins with packing 300 Scratch Cat bags, some serious grocery shopping, and an ingenious alligator clip hack, brainchild of Genevieve Smith-Nunes, when the lanyards don’t arrive on time.

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10pm. At the A1 building at Bordeaux University, we are invited by Yoan Mollard and his team to programme the lighting display on the front of the building, a project called the Arbalet Frontage; and given a tour of the control system by Yoan.

Tuesday July 18 2017, 10am. During the programme planning summit back in April, we had decided to have a session open to French teachers. Susan Ettenheim, Wolfgang Slany and me, being teachers curious to meet our peers in France, agreed to get involved, and Samir Saidani made all the connections. 60 teachers turned up. Our facilitator for the morning, Thierry Viéville of INRIA, took us deftly and bilingually through an Open Space style morning of call and response discussion followed by workshops. My once-fluent-but-almost-forgotten French had to be deployed as our atelier worked together thru the human circuit with the newly named ‘Pieu Pieu’, and then made some binary code jewelry and some glowies. Thierry called us back to a standing circle and the witnesses reported what had been discussed in each workshop. Turns out the teachers of France are no different to those anywhere – they were concerned with providing the best possible learning experiences for their classrooms, and those who joined us in Einserb for the morning were prepared to give up their free time to find and share ideas to this end.

1.30pm. In the auditorium, Didier Roy of INRIA was hosting a colloqium on all ting robotic; but as Bernat Romagosa and Jens Monig had offered a day long Beetleblocks Masterclass, with some 3-D printers courtesy of Yoan so that participants could produce their designs, I went upstairs to join in observe the second half of the day. Listening to Jens’s perfectly and roundly explain the snaggier points, and watching Bernat’s graceful teaching and gentle troubleshooting is a treat; and the humility in both programmers is a charm to observe. Watching my friends immersed in their projects was good too, and confirms my idea that Beetleblocks is a definite contender to be used in our imminent Computer Science curriculum in Ireland.

8pm. The Official Opening mixer buffet and pre-registration took place in Cap Science, in the other side of town, beside the beautiful Cité du Vin building. Brian Harvey gave us his quirky personal view of 50 years of Logo, and we had the launch of the lovely Scratch Tales book, containing stories from users in 25 countries, and beautifully designed and produced by Derek Breen. In the darkened theatre, Uwe Gesler delighted with a fantastic presentation built with dozens of programmable night lights. And as if we’d ordered it (who knows, with Joek Von Montfort, anything is possible?), we ended the evening out on the balcony over the Garonne river watching a massive lightning show – have a look at the report that went out via getty images.

All this, and the conference proper hadn’t even started yet. 😸.


Series of posts posted post Scratch Conference in Bordeaux, France, July 2017:

Chapter 1 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – inclusive, interwoven, inspiring

Chapter 2 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – pre-conference

Chapter 3 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – conference action

Chapter 4 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – unconference and extracurricular activities

Chapter 5 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – family matters

Chapter 6 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – ten take away ideas to check out for CS

cropped-Scratch2017bdx-websitebannerScratch 2017 Bordeaux – Chapter 1 of 6: Inclusive, Interwoven, Inspiring

Scratch2017BDX, one of many Scratch conferences this year, took place in the city of Bordeaux, France. Officially the conference dates were Wed-Fri July 19th-21st, but when all the extra-curricular and unconference happenings were added in, there was ‘Scratching’ from Monday until Saturday. It was a privilege to see the conference unfold from behind the scenes this time, and to work with organiser extraordinaire Joek Von Montfort and the team he assembled from Europe, the US, and Africa. The various facets of the week (the pre-conference preparation, the programmed conference, the unconference events, the masterclasses, the extracurricular time with friends of the Scratch ‘family’) each had many special moments; it will take some time to process, and post, them all.
This conference was like a continuation of the previous two European Scratch conferences conceived and led by Joek – Barcelona 2013 and Amsterdam 2015, and the many friendships born in these events have gotten wider and deeper with time. May this trend continue…

Multigenerational Africa Plenary

Multigenerational Africa Plenary

Cynthia

Alan, Gen, and Mags inducting our new Intergalactic Code Week EU Ambassador, Cynthia Solomon.

last-super-bdx

Diehards dinner on Saturday night!

SonicPi-Wolfgang

Sam live coding Sonic Pi Algorave while Wolfgang Slaney controls LEDs

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Snap! Turltlestitch Superteam 🙂

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KD dressing Zoe as Ada before the show

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Ken, Richard, and colleagues discussing the future of programming.


Series of posts posted post Scratch Conference in Bordeaux, France, July 2017:

Chapter 1 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – inclusive, interwoven, inspiring

Chapter 2 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – pre-conference

Chapter 3 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – conference action

Chapter 4 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – unconference and extracurricular activities

Chapter 5 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – family matters

Chapter 6 of 6: Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – ten take away ideas to check out for CS

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