snowbound catch up ‘thank you’ time

Rainy Snowy days are meant to be used for catching up – and they don’t come much snowier in Ireland than today. So snowy that our annual CESI Conference – to which many of us had been looking forward eagerly – has been cancelled postponed. [Among other diversions, some simpleminded intrepid CESI folk have been honing their science inquiry skills with a new invention – details at Twitter hashtag #sneachtometer.]

There are two recent events for which I want to record thanks here – a Raspberry Jam in Belfast that was part of the Northern Ireland Science Festival, and a Turtlestitch lecture that was the opening event of a creative coded embroidery course in Trinity College Dublin.

Raspberry Jam – thanks to Andrew Mulholland and team
Me and my 10yo granddaughter spent a Saturday day in Queen’s University College Belfast during NI Science Week at the invitation of Andrew Mulholland, the mile-a-minute champion of all things Raspberry Pi in Northern Ireland. I loved the two giant computer labs full of Pi-controlled PCs, the family atmosphere, the light-touch-but-highly-supportive teaching and mentoring. We did an introductory lesson that outlined all things Pi, controlled some giant traffic lights with python, we used a micro:bit and a Sparkle neo-pixel to work out RGB colour codes, and we did some Sonic Pi composing. When I say “we”, I mean the 10yo; I was a passenger, an observer happily watching the learners and the mentors in action. We had a lovely lunchtime demonstration by teenage mentors Lucy and Sam, who wore the “formal” dress thay had hacked for their Prom the evening before. The kids and their families loved this. All in all, it was a terrific experience, and we will definitely be going back up the M1.

 

Turtlestitch lecture – thanks to Andrea Mayr-Stalder
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What a treat this was. IMG_20180223_171140.jpgAs an introduction to their forthcoming coded embroidery open course in Trinity, Richard Millwood and Glenn Strong invited Andrea to give the introductory lecture, outlining how she developed Turltestitch, a block-based interface based on SNAP!, in order to code designs for electronic embroidery machines. Andrea’s work  has inspired users across the world. Listening to her tell the story, with humility and quiet passion, was a lovely experience. I look forward to meeting Andrea again at the Scratch conference this summer – indeed it is at the past few Scratch conferences that the SNAP!-Turltestitch family has deepened growing connections.

Sorry To Be Missing these but delighted they are happening:
(i) next week’s visit by lead developer of SNAP!, Jens Monig, hosted by SAP. Thanks to Bernard Kirk (soon-to-ex-Director of Galway Education Centre) for arranging this, and best wishes to all who gather to talk SNAP!

(ii) next weekend’s aforementioned re-constituted #CESIcon; thanks are due from us all for the remarkable work has gone into this, TWICE, by the organising committee.

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