Early mastery/playful coding meeting, Perugia

Last week I went to an EU project meeting in Perugia, with Wayne from Aberystwyth Computer Science, and Tomi & Tegid from Ysgol Bro Hyddgen. Here’s Tomi about to leave Wales (Tomi drove to the airport, making the travel for the four of us actually fairly cheap, given cheap flights Bristol to Pisa then a lengthy but fun train journey across Italy).

The aim of the project is to develop fun, playful coding activities for use in schools. We’re building a platform (playfulcoding.eu) where we’ll share activities written at all the sites, aimed at schoolteachers and people doing outreach in schools. This meeting centered around the evaluation and review of activities; each site (school or uni) had to read through and revise the activities of other sites, and the plan is that we now take these back to our own countries and try them out.

In this way we end up with a set of activities, coded for age and group size and equipment, that have been tried and tested at different sites across the EU. Here’s Alfreddo, the local organiser in Perugia, with Wayne and a robot based around an android device. These robots are cool – they use the android as a processor, camera and so on, and the robot (arduino based) just receives commands from the phone.

Wayne and I reviewed an arduino robot activity, and a scratch activity; we’ll now work out how to run these here in Aberystwyth. We might need to buy some arduino robots – here’s some more of the Italian team showing us the robots they used:

One of the highlights of an EU project is getting to see a bit more of the EU (as well as meeting interesting people and doing cool work, obviously). Here’s a Raphael fresco, which is in old Perugia. I love the three guys sitting in a row, their faces are so perfect, they could be waiting for a bus now.

Couldn’t they?

We spent an extra night (on our own account, not part of the project) in Pisa on the way back to do some sightseeing. Here’s a photo of a jazz bar on the Pisa riverbank. I do have some of the more traditional Pisa photos, but I’m sure you can imagine them. It was good to stay the extra day as it gave us time to relax a bit, chatting with Tomi and Tegid about schools in general, without the pressure of the project meeting. I think we might sort out a trip to their school to talk to the year 12-13 kids about university in general, for example.

Next job: work out which activities we’re going to revise and run here in Wales, then get on and find a slot in a local school(s). Oh, and maybe buy a couple more robots…

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