Our talented, creative and committed North West computing teachers joined us for free workshops at Edge Hill University to learn new skills and explore the computing curriculum. The sessions were led by volunteer master teachers, expert teachers, university lecturers and inventors giving up their Saturday to share their passion for the subject. It was a really busy day for the Secondary and Primary computing teachers who attended to improve their own computing skills, create resources and swap ideas.
The feedback from the day has been great, some teachers found practical solutions for example in preparing pupils for controlled assessment, others got a new idea for a topic or inspiration to start a themed computing club, some even went home with new toys to play with thanks to CodeBug inventor Andrew Robinson. The sessions covered creative coding ideas and physical computing:- App Inventor 2
Teachers learned how AI2 makes it easy to develop applications for Android phones using a web browser and either a connected phone or emulator. They quickly got started with App Inventor and built their first apps using real Android phones and emulators. Progressing from baaing sheep to a touch driven graffiti art app in double-quick time under the guidance of Carl Simmons.
[You can find out more about App Inventor here.](http://ai2.appinventor.mit.edu/)
Raspbery Pi + Minecraft = GeoCraft: The Raspberry Pi can be used to directly program the popular building game Minecraft . In this session led by Geocraft whizz Sarah Zaman, teachers learned about how to set-up the Pi to play Minecraft and then how to take control of the world using Python scripting.
[You can find out more about Geocraft here.](http://www.geocraft.org.uk/)
Sonic Pi Sonic Pi is the free sound synthesiser for live coding designed to support computing and music lessons within schools. Teachers learned to use code to compose and perform in classical and contemporary styles ranging from Canons to Dubstep under expert conductor and master teacher Ben Davies.
[You can find out more about Sonic Pi here.](http://http://sonic-pi.net/)
CodeBug creator Andrew Robinson introduced teachers to the cute, programmable and wearable device designed to introduce simple programming and electronic concepts to anyone, at any age. Endlessly versatile, CodeBug can create a musical instrument, animated badge, alarm system, dancemat or even a robot. Andrew shared the first CodeBug "tail" a programmable LED star - just in time for Christmas tree decorations! CodeBug is the winner of the Elektra Consumer Product Innovation of the Year 2015
[You can find out more about CodeBug here.](http://www.codebug.org.uk/)
From novelties and curiosities to prosthetic limbs and even whole buildings 3D Printing will power the next manufacturing revolution. Rob Cowley shared how St Helens’ schools are getting to grips with the technology and demonstrated just how easy it is to create 3D models from a variety of tools.
Arduino: Bringing Drawings to life
An Arduino microcontroller coupled with a few cheap electronic components means that teachers and children can create inexpensive devices that interact with the real world. In this beginners session led by Carl Simmons teachers learned how to bring a drawing to life using LEDs, motors and speakers. Wagging dogs, magical Elsa's and menacing Creepers all made an appearance. Python: Basic and Advanced
Pythonista Dave Ames gave expert tuition to novices and experts in two practical Python workshops, including step by step controlled assessments alongside teaching tips for pupils of all ability levels.
Here's a selection of feedback from the lovely teachers who came to events earlier in the year:-
"A superb ground up course on using Minecraft on the Pi."
"Excellent, first time that I had used Minecraft and quickly learned to program it using Python."
"Excellent intro to PyGame, good to learn about a visual use of Python. Will really support in the teaching of Python skills required to tackle the OCR controlled assessment"
"Very informative!! Good fun, really well delivered with personality."
"Really great session. This will definitely support me in the delivery of the App Inventor unit we are about to teach and help with the delivery of the skills required for the controlled assessment."
"As this is the first time that I will be running the controlled assessment for our yr10 computing class, the advance workshop session on App Inventor was very helpful. It gave me more confidence about using it within a controlled classroom testing environment."
"Great to learn how to use it in primary"
"I had little to no knowledge of Python and found the session really useful."
"Very good networking place to meet other teachers with different experiences and resources."
"I am better informed about possible ways forward teaching programming to KS3."
"A great opportunity to discuss how Python can be used to expand the knowledge of pupils."
"The session was relevant to me for KS3 and the resources provided were excellent. I also learned how Scratch can be used to introduce programming and learned some useful things in such a short amount of time. I will be using the provided resources to help me learn and will use them in the classroom."
"learn == True fun == True"