Tag Archives: coding for kids

Get young people making interactive websites with JavaScript and our ‘More web’ path

Post Syndicated from Pete Bell original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/more-web-learn-javascript/

Modern web design has turned websites from static and boring walls of information into ways of providing fun and engaging experiences to the user. Our new ‘More web’ project path shows young creators how to add interaction and animation to a webpage through JavaScript code.

A colorful illustration of a snail, a penguin, and a person with short dark hair against a blue background. There is a large question mark in the middle.

Why learn JavaScript?

As of 2024, JavaScript is the most popular programming language in the world. And it’s easy to see why when you look at its versatility and how it can be used to create dynamic and interactive content on websites. JavaScript lets you handle events and manipulate HTML and CSS so that you can build everything from simple animations, to forms that can be checked for missing or nonsensical answers. If you’ve ever seen a webpage continuously load more content when you reach the end, that’s JavaScript.

Two girls code together at a computer.

The six new projects in the ‘More web’ path move learners beyond the basics of HTML and CSS encountered in our ‘Introduction to web’ path. Youn people will explore what JavaScript makes possible in web developmnent, with plenty of support along the way. 

By the end of the ‘More web’ path, learners will have covered the following key programming concepts: 

HTML and CSS JavaScript 
Navbars, grid layouts, hero images and image sliders

Form design and handling user input

Accessibility and responsive design

Sizing elements relative to the viewport or container

Creating parallax scrolling effects using background-attachment

Fixing the position of elements and using z-index to layer elements

Local and global variables, and constants

Selection (if, else if, and else)

Repetition (for loops)

Using Console log

Concatenation using template literals

Event listeners

Use of the intersection observer API to animate elements and lazy-load images

Use of the localStorage object to retain user preferences

Writing and calling functions to take advantage of the Document Object Model (DOM)

Use setTimeout() to create time delays

Work with Date() functions

We’ve designed the path to be completed in six one-hour sessions, with one hour per project. However, learners can work at their own speed and the project instructions invite them to take additional time to upgrade their projects if they wish.

Built for our Code Editor and with support in mind

All six projects use our Code Editor, which has been tailored specifically to young people’s needs. This integrated development environment (IDE) helps make learning text-based programming simple, safe, and accessible. The projects include starter code, handy code snippets, and images to help young people build their websites. 

A screenshot of the code editor interface showing a garden with colorful flowers, an umbrella and a watering can.

The path also follows our Digital Making Framework, with its deliberate format of six projects that become less structured as learners progress. The Explore projects at the start of the path are where the initial learning takes place. Learners then develop their new skills by putting them into practice in the Design and Invent projects, which encourage them to use their imagination and make projects that matter to them. 

Meet the projects: Welcome to Antarctica (Explore project 1)

An animated image of a penguin and a seal on a snowy surface.

Learners use HTML and CSS to design a website that lets people discover a place they may never get a chance to visit — Antarctica. They discover how to create a navigation bar (or navbar), set accessible colours and fonts, and add a responsive grid layout to hold beautiful images and interesting facts about this fascinating continent. 

Comic character (Explore project 2)

An animated illustration of a man with short red hair on the left, a woman with short dark hair on the right, and a yellow lightning bolt in the center.

In the second Explore project, young people build an interactive website where the user can design a superhero character. Learners use JavaScript to let the user change the text on their website, show and hide elements, and create a hero image slider. They also learn how to let the user set the colour theme for the site and keep their preferences, even if they reload the page. 

Animated story (Explore project 3)

An animated image of a snail reading a book.

Young people create an interactive story with animated text and characters that are triggered when the user scrolls. They will learn how to design for accessibility and improve browser performance by only loading images when they’re needed.

Pick your favourite (Design project 1)

An animated checklist with numbered boxes. A cursor hovers over the middle box. Various icons surround the checklist, including a video game controller, a guitar, a basketball, and a book.

This is where learners can practise their skills and bring in their own interests to make a fan website, which lets a user make choices that change the webpage content. 

Quiz time (Design project 2)

A white question mark in the center of a purple background. Animated icons of various shapes surround the question mark, including a television, musical notes, an X, and two cards with numbers "12" and “9”.

The final Design project invites young people to build a personalised web app that lets users test what they know about a topic. Learners choose a topic for their quiz, create and animate their questions, and then show the user their final score. They could make a quiz about history, nature, world records, science, sports, fashion, TV, movies… or anything else they’re an expert in!

Share your world (Invent project)

An illustration of a computer screen displaying a web page. The web page has a blue background and a white arrow cursor hovers over a blue section. A globe icon is located below the cursor.

In this final project, young people bring everything they’ve learnt together and use their new coding powers and modern design skills to create an interactive website to share a part of their world with others. They could provide information about their culture, interests, hobbies or expertise, share fun facts, create quizzes, or write reviews. Learners consider what makes a website useful and informative, as well as fun and accessible. 

Next steps in web design

Encourage your young learners to take their next steps in web design, learn JavaScript, and try out this new path of coding projects to create interactive websites that excite and engage users. 

Two young learners using a laptop, one of them points at a laptop screen.

Young people can also enter one of their Design or Invent projects into the Web category of the yearly Coolest Projects showcase by taking a short video showing the project and the code used to make it. Their creation will become part of the Coolest Projects online gallery for people all over the world to see! 

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Young people’s Astro Pi code is sent to the International Space Station

Post Syndicated from Fergus Kirkpatrick original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/young-peoples-astro-pi-code-is-sent-to-the-international-space-station/

Young people taking part in the European Astro Pi Challenge are about to have their computer programs sent to the International Space Station (ISS). Astro Pi is run annually in collaboration by us and ESA Education, and offers two ways to get involved: Mission Zero and Mission Space Lab.

Logo of the European Astro Pi Challenge.

This year, over 25,000 young people from across Europe and eligible ESA Member States are getting their programs ‘uplinked’ to the Astro Pi computers aboard the ISS, where they will be running over the next few weeks. 

Mission Zero teams send their art into space

Mission Zero is an exciting activity for kids with little or no experience with coding. We invite young people to create a Python program that displays an 8×8 pixel image or animation. This program then gets sent to the ISS, and each pixel art piece is displayed for 30 seconds on the LED matrix display of the Astro Pi computers on the ISS.

Two Astro Pis on board the International Space Station.
Astro Pis on the ISS

We picked the theme ‘fauna and flora’ as the inspiration for young people’s pixel art, as it proved so popular last year, and we weren’t disappointed: this year, 24,378 young people submitted 16,039 Mission Zero creations!  

We’ve tested every program and are pleased to announce that 15,942 Mission Zero programs will be sent to run on the ISS from mid May. 

Once again, we have been amazed at the wonderful images and animations that young people have created. Seeing all the images that have been submitted is one of the most enjoyable and inspiring things to do as we work on the Astro Pi Challenge. Here is a little selection of some of our favourites submitted this year:

A selection of pixel art images and animation inspired by nature submitted by young people.
A selection of Mission Zero submissions

Varied approaches: How different teams calculate ISS speed

For Mission Space Lab, we invite more experienced young coders to take on a scientific challenge: to calculate the speed that the ISS orbits Earth. 

Teams are tasked with writing a program that uses the Astro Pis’ sensors and visible light camera to capture data for their calculations, and we have really enjoyed seeing the different approaches the teams have taken. 

The mark 2 Astro Pi units spin in microgravity on the International Space Station.

Some teams decided to calculate the distance between two points in photos of the Earth’s surface and combine this with how long it took for the ISS to pass over the points to find the speed. This particular method uses feature extraction and needs to account for ground sampling distance — how many square metres are represented in one pixel in an image of the ground taken from above — to get an accurate output.  

We’ve also seen teams use data from the gyroscope to calculate the speed using the angle readings and photos to get their outputs. Yet other teams have derived the speed using equations of motion and sampling from the accelerometer.

An example of features of the earth’s surface being matched across two different images.
Feature extraction example taken from images captured by the Astro Pis

All teams that took multiple samples from the Astro Pi sensors, or multiple images, had to decide how to output a final estimate for the speed of the ISS. Most teams opted to use the mean average. But a few teams chose to filter their samples to choose only the ‘best’ ones based on prior knowledge (Bayesian filtering), and some used a machine learning model and the Astro Pi’s machine learning dongle to select which images or data samples to use. Some teams even provided a certainty score along with their final estimate.

236 Mission Space Lab teams awarded flight status

However the team choses to approach the challenge, before their program can run on the ISS, we need to make sure of a few things. For a start, we check that they’ve followed the challenge rules and meet the ISS security requirements. Next, we check that the program can run without errors on the Astro Pis as the astronauts on board the ISS can’t stop what they’re doing to fix any problems. 

So, all programs submitted to us must pass a rigorous testing process before they can be sent into space. We run each program on several replica Astro Pis, then run all the programs sequentially, to ensure there’s no problems. If the program passes testing, it’s awarded ‘flight status’ and can be sent to run in space.

The Astro Pi computers inside the International Space Station.

This year, 236 teams have been awarded flight status. These teams represent 889 young people from 22 countries in Europe and ESA member states. The average age of these young people is 15, and 27% of them are girls. The UK has the most teams achieving flight status (61), followed by the Czech Republic (23) and Romania (22). You can see how this compares to last year and explore other breakdowns of participant data in the annual Astro Pi impact report.  

Our congratulations to all the Mission Space Lab teams who’ve been awarded flight status: it is a great achievement. All these teams will be invited to join a live online Q&A with an ESA astronaut in June. We can’t wait to see what questions you send us for the astronaut.

A pause to recharge the ISS batteries 

Normally, the Astro Pi programs run continuously from the end of April until the end of May. However, this year, there is an interesting event happening in the skies above us that means that programs will pause for a few days. The ISS will be moving its position on the ‘beta angle’ and pivoting its orientation to maximise the sunlight that it can capture with its solar panels. 

A picture of the International Space Station.
The International Space Station

The ISS normally takes 90 minutes to complete its orbit, 45 minutes of which is in sunlight, and 45 minutes in darkness. When it moves along the beta angle, it will be in continual sunlight, allowing it to capture lots of solar energy and recharge its batteries. While in its new orientation, the ISS is exposed to increased heat from the sun so the window shutters must be closed to help the astronauts stay cool. That means taking photos of the Earth’s surface won’t be possible for a few days.

What next?

Once all of the programs have run, we will send the Mission Space Lab teams the data collected during their experiments. All successful Mission Zero and Mission Space Lab teams and mentors will also receive personal certificates to recognise their mission completion.

Congratulations to all of this year’s Astro Pi Challenge participants, and especially to all successful teams.

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Celebrating the community: Arno & Timo

Post Syndicated from Sophie Ashford original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/celebrating-the-community-arno-timo/

We love hearing from members of the community and sharing the stories of amazing young people, volunteers, and educators who are using their passion for technology to create positive change in the world around them.

Arno helping young coders at the CoderDojo Netherlands tenth birthday celebrations
Arno helping young coders at the CoderDojo Netherlands tenth birthday celebrations

In our latest story, we’re heading to Alkmaar, the Netherlands, to meet Arno and Timo, CoderDojo enthusiasts who have transitioned from club members to supportive mentors. Their journey at CoderDojo and their drive to give back and support the next generation of coders in their community has been an inspiration to those around them.

Introducing Arno and Timo

Arno and Timo have been friends since childhood, and embarked on their CoderDojo journey at the age of 12, eager to explore the world of coding. Under the guidance of mentors like Sanneke, Librarian and Chair of CoderDojo Netherlands, they not only honed their technical skills, but also learned about the value of collaboration, curiosity, and perseverance. As they grew older, they in turn were inspired to support young coders, and wanting to remain part of the CoderDojo community, they decided to become mentors to the next generation of club attendees. 

Having been helping younger members of the club for years, the transition to official mentors and proud owners of the much-coveted mentor T-shirt was seamless. 

Timo with Mirthe and Linus, two young CoderDojo members
Timo with Mirthe and Linus, two young CoderDojo members

The power of mentorship

Sanneke reflects on the impact young mentors like Timo and Arno have on the young learners at CoderDojo:

“Having young mentors who are just slightly older than our youngest… I think it helps them to see what happens when you grow up and how they can help. They can be examples for how to help others.” – Sanneke, Librarian, CoderDojo mentor, and Chair of CoderDojo Netherlands

Timo echoes this sentiment, highlighting how mentoring provides a fantastic opportunity to help people and make a positive impact in the local community: 

“I think volunteering is important, because you’re doing something for the community, in a city or village, supporting them in their journey in learning coding.” – Timo

As they continue their journey, Timo and Arno remain committed to supporting and inspiring the next generation of coders. They also encourage anyone who is thinking of volunteering at a club to give it a go: 

“If you want to volunteer at the CoderDojo, just go for it. You don’t really need that much experience. […] The kids can learn it, so can you.” – Arno

The CoderDojo movement in the Netherlands is celebrating a decade of impact, and champions a culture of growth and learning. Arno and Timo’s story serves as an inspiration to us all, shining a light on the power of mentorship and the impact of volunteering in building stronger, more supportive communities. 

Inspire the next generation of young coders

Arno and Timo’s story showcases the importance of mentorship for both individuals and communities, and the real impact you can have by donating an hour of your time a week. If you’re interested in becoming a CoderDojo volunteer, head to coderdojo.com to find out how to get started.

Help us celebrate Arno and Timo and their inspiring journey by sharing their story on X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Registration is open for Coolest Projects 2024

Post Syndicated from Helen Gardner original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/registration-is-open-for-coolest-projects-2024/

Big news for young coders and everyone who supports them: project registration is now open for Coolest Projects 2024! Coolest Projects is our global technology showcase for young people aged up to 18. It gives young creators the incredible opportunity to share the cool stuff they’ve made with digital technology with a global audience, and receive certificates and rewards to celebrate their achievements.

A young coder shows off her tech project Five young coders show off their robotic garden tech project for Coolest Projects to two other young tech creators.

What you need to know about Coolest Projects

The Coolest Projects online showcase is open to young people worldwide. Young creators can register their projects to share them with the world in our online project gallery, and join our exciting livestream event to celebrate what they have made with the global Coolest Projects community.

Four young coders show off their tech project for Coolest Projects.

By taking part in Coolest Projects, young people can join an international community of young makers, represent their country, receive personalised feedback on their projects, and get certificates and more to recognise their achievements.

Here’s how it works:

  • Coolest Projects is completely free to take part in!
  • All digital technology projects are welcome, from very first projects to advanced builds, and the projects don’t have to be complete
  • Projects can be registered in one of six categories: Scratch, games, web, mobile apps, hardware, and advanced programming
  • Young creators up to age 18 can take part individually or in teams of up to five friends
  • Any young person anywhere in the world can take part in the online showcase, and there are in-person events in some countries for local creators too (find out more below)
  • Registration for the online showcase is now open and closes on 22 May 2024
  • All creators, mentors, volunteers, teachers, parents, and supporters are invited to the special celebration livestream on 26 June 2024

Taking part in Coolest Projects is simple:

  • Young people think of an idea for their project, or choose something they’ve already made and are proud of
  • Young people work with friends to create their project, or make it on their own 
  • Creators (with the help of mentors if needed) register projects via the Coolest Projects website by 22 May
  • Creators’ projects are shared with the world in the online showcase gallery
  • Creators, mentors, and supporters explore the amazing projects in the online gallery, and join the livestream on 26 June to celebrate young creators’ achievements with the Coolest Projects community worldwide
Two young coders work on their tech project on a laptop to control a sewing machine for Coolest Projects.

Coolest Projects in-person events in 2024

As well as the global online showcase, Coolest Projects in-person events are held for young people locally in certain countries too, and we encourage creators to take part in both the online showcase and their local in-person event.

The exhibition hall at Coolest Projects Ireland 2023.

In 2024, creators can look forward to the following in-person events, run by us and partner organisations around the world:

More events are coming soon, so sign up to the Coolest Projects newsletter to be sure to hear about any in-person events in your country. And if there isn’t an event near you, don’t worry. The online showcase is open to any young person anywhere in the world.

A Coolest Projects sign with two people doing handstands in front of it.

Help for you is at hand

Coolest Projects welcomes all digital tech projects, from beginner to advanced, and there are loads of great resources available to help you support the young people in your community to take part.

Young people and an adult mentor at a computer at Coolest Projects Ireland 2023.

We are running a series of online calls and webinars for mentors and young people to share practical tips and help participants develop their ideas and build their creations. Sign up for the sessions here. All sessions will be recorded, so you can watch them back if you can’t join live.

You can also check out the Coolest Projects guidance page for resources to help you support young people throughout their Coolest Projects journey, including a mentor guide and session plans.

Five young coders show off their robotic garden tech project for Coolest Projects.

To inspire your coders, encourage them to take a look at the 2023 showcase gallery, where they can explore the incredible projects submitted by participants last year.

Our projects site is also a great place for participants to begin — there are hundreds of free step-by-step project guides to help young people create their own projects, whether they’re experienced tech creators or they’re just getting started.

Sign up for Coolest Projects updates

There’s lots more exciting news to come, from the announcement of our VIP judges to details about this year’s swag, so sign up for email updates to be the first to know. And whether your coders have already made something fun, innovative, or amazing that they want to share, or they’re inspired to make something new, Coolest Projects is the place for them. We can’t wait to see what they create!

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An integrated learning experience for young people

Post Syndicated from Joanne Vincent original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/code-editor-integration/

We’re currently trialling the full integration of our Code Editor in some of the projects on our Projects site, with the aim of providing a seamless experience for young learners. Our Projects site provides hundreds of free coding projects with step-by-step instructions for young people to use at school, in Code Clubs and CoderDojo clubs, and at home. When learners make text-based programming projects in our Python and web design project paths, they use our Code Editor to write and run code in a web browser.

A young person at a computer in a classroom.

Our new integrated learning experience allows young people to follow the project instructions and work in the Code Editor in a single window. By providing a simpler workspace, where learners do not need to switch between windows to read instructions and input code, we aim to reduce cognitive load and make it easier for young people to learn.

How the new integrated experience works

In the integrated project workspace, learners can access the project instructions, coding area, and output (where they can see what they have made) all in the same view. We have reorganised the project guides into short, easy-to-follow steps made up of simple instructions, including code snippets and modelled examples, for learners to work through to create their projects. The project guides feature fresh designs for different types of learning content, such as instruction steps, concept steps, code snippets, tips, and debugging help.

A screenshot of the new Code Editor.

We have also optimised this learning experience for young people using mobiles and tablets. On mobile devices, a new ‘Steps’ tab appears alongside the ‘Code’ and ‘Output’ tabs, enabling learners to easily navigate to the project guide and follow the steps to make their projects.

Try out our new learning experience

We are testing our new integrated learning experience as a beta version in three projects: 

  • Hello world (part of our ‘Introduction to Python’ project path) 
  • Target practice (part of our ‘Introduction to Python’ project path) 
  • Anime expressions (part of our ‘Introduction to web development’ project path) 

In each of these projects, young people can choose to complete the original version of the project, with the project instructions and Code Editor in separate windows, or click the button on the project page to try out the new integrated learning experience.

A screenshot of the new Code Editor.

We’d love to hear how your young learners get on with this new integrated experience. Try it out in the three projects above and share your feedback with us here.

Code Editor developments have been made possible with generous support from the Cisco Foundation.

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Celebrating the community: Sahibjot

Post Syndicated from Sophie Ashford original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/celebrating-the-community-sahibjot/

In our series of community stories, we celebrate some of the wonderful things young people and educators around the world are achieving through the power of technology. 

A young person sits in a classroom.

In our latest story, we’re heading to Vivek High School in Mohali, India, to meet Sahibjot, a 14-year-old coding enthusiast who has taken his hobby to the next level thanks to mentorship, Code Club, and the exciting opportunity to take part in the Coolest Projects 2023 global online showcase.

Introducing Sahibjot

When he was younger, Sahibjot loved playing video games. His interest in gaming led him to discover the world of game development, and he was inspired to find out more and try it out himself. He began to learn to code in his spare time, using tutorials to help him develop his skills.

A young person sits at a table outside and uses a laptop.

Keen to share the joy he had experienced from gaming, Sahibjot set himself the challenge of creating a game for his cousin. This project cemented his enthusiasm for coding and developing games of his own.

“I always felt that I have played so many games in my life, why not make one and others will enjoy the same experience that I had as a child.

For my cousin, I made a personal game for him, and he played it and he liked it very much, so once he played it, I felt that, yes, this is what I want to do with my life.” – Sahibjot

Mentorship and collaboration

While continuing to hone his computing skills at home, Sahibjot heard that his school had started a Code Club. After initially feeling nervous about joining, his enthusiasm was bolstered by the club mentor, Rajan, talking about artificial intelligence and other interesting topics during the session, and he soon settled in. 

A group of students and a teacher at computers in a classroom.

At Code Club, with support and encouragement from Rajan, Sahibjot continued to develop and grow his coding skills. Alongside his technical skills, he also learned about teamwork and working collaboratively. He embraced the opportunity to help his peers, sharing his knowledge with others and becoming a mentor for younger club members. 

Three students chat outside a school building.

“Last year, we joined this coding club together and we became friends. He’s a very friendly person. Whenever we need him, he just quickly helps us. He helps us to troubleshoot, find any bugs, or even fix our codes.” – Akshat, fellow Code Club member

A global opportunity

The next step for Sahibjot came when Rajan introduced him and his fellow Code Club members to Coolest Projects. Coolest Projects is a celebration of young digital creators and the amazing things they make with technology. It offers participants the opportunity to share their tech creations in a global, online showcase, and local in-person events celebrating young creators are also held in several countries.

A group of students in a classroom being guided through their computing projects by a teacher.

Sahibjot was eager to take part and showcase what he had made. He submitted a Python project, a ping-pong game, to the online showcase, and was very excited to then see his creation receive a special shout-out during the Coolest Projects global livestream event. He was delighted to share this achievement with his friends and family, and he felt proud to be representing his school and his country on a global stage.

“I told everyone around me that there was going to be a livestream and I possibly might be featured in that, so that was really exciting. I learned a lot about just not representing my school and myself as an individual, I learned about representing my whole nation.” — Sahibjot

Sahibjot’s passion for computing has helped shape his aspirations and ambitions. Looking to the future, he hopes to use his technology skills to benefit others and make an impact.

“Using code and technology and all of the things like that, I aspire to make effort to do something with the world, like help out people with technology.” — Sahibjot

Inspire young creators like Sahibjot

To find out how you and young creators you know can get involved in Coolest Projects, visit coolestprojects.org. If the young people in your community are just starting out on their computing journey, visit our projects site for free, fun beginner coding projects.

For more information to help you set up a Code Club in your school, visit codeclub.org.

Join us in celebrating Sahibjot’s inspiring journey by sharing his story on X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Code Club at Number Ten Downing Street

Post Syndicated from Philip Colligan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/code-club-number-ten-downing-street/

With the rapid advances in digital technologies like artificial intelligence, it’s more important than ever that every young person has the opportunity to learn how computers are being used to change the world and to develop the skills and confidence to get creative with technology. 

Learners at a Code Club taking place at Number Ten Downing Street.
Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence.

There’s no better way to develop those abilities (super powers even) than getting hands-on experience of programming, whether that’s coding an animation, designing a game, creating a website, building a robot buggy, or training an AI classification model. That’s what tens of thousands of young people do every day in Code Clubs all over the world. 

Lessons at 10 

We were absolutely thrilled to organise a Code Club at Number Ten Downing Street last week, hosted by the UK Prime Minister’s wife Akshata Murty as part of Lessons at 10.

A Code Club session taking place at Number Ten Downing Street.
Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence.

Lessons at 10 is an initiative to bring school children from all over the UK into Number Ten Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister. Every week different schools visit to attend lessons led by education partners covering all kinds of subjects. 

A Code Club session taking place at Number Ten Downing Street.
Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence.

We ran a Code Club for 20 Year 7 students (ages 11 to 12) from schools in Coventry and Middlesex. The young people had a great time with the Silly eyes and Ghostbusters projects from our collections of Scratch projects. Both stone-cold classics in my opinion, and a great place to start if you’re new to programming.

A Code Club session taking place at Number Ten Downing Street.
Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence.

You may have spotted in the photos that the young people were programming on Raspberry Pi computers (the incredible Raspberry Pi 400 made in Wales). We also managed to get our hands on some cool new monitors. 

Mrs Murty’s father was one of the founders of Infosys, which ranks among the world’s most successful technology companies, founded in India and now operating all over the world. So it is perhaps no surprise that she spoke eloquently to the students about the importance of every young person learning about technology and seeing themselves as digital creators not consumers.

Akshata Murty talks to Philip Colligan, CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence.

We were lucky enough to be in one of the rather fancy rooms in Number Ten, featuring a portrait by John Constable of his niece Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer. Mrs Murty reminded us that one of the lessons we learn from Ada Lovelace is that computer programming combines both the logical and artistic aspects of human intelligence. So true. 

A global movement 

Since Code Club’s launch in April 2012, it has grown to be the world’s largest movement of free computing clubs and has supported over 2 million young people to get creative with technology.

Learners from a Code Club in front of Number Ten Downing Street.
Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence.

Code Clubs provide a free, fun, and safe environment for young people from all backgrounds to develop their digital skills. Run by teachers and volunteers, most Code Clubs take place in schools, and there are also lots in libraries and other community venues. 

The Raspberry Pi Foundation provides a broad range of projects that young people use to build their confidence and skills with lots of different hardware and software. The ultimate goal is that they are empowered to combine their logical and artistic skills to create something original. Just like Ada Lovelace did all those years ago.

Learners at a Code Club taking place at Number Ten Downing Street.
Crown copyright. Licensed under the Open Government Licence.

All of our projects are designed to be self-directed, so young people can learn independently or in groups. That means that you don’t need to be a tech expert to set up or run a Code Club. We provide you with all the support that you need to get started.

If you want to find out more about how to set up a Code Club, visit the website here.

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Get ready for Mission Space Lab with our new simulation tool

Post Syndicated from Fergus Kirkpatrick original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/get-ready-for-mission-space-lab-with-our-new-simulation-tool/

Since November, registration is open for Mission Space Lab, part of the European Astro Pi Challenge 2023/24. The Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education project run in collaboration with us here at the Raspberry Pi Foundation that gives young people up to age 19 the amazing opportunity to write computer programs that run on board the International Space Station (ISS). It is free to take part and young people can participate in two missions: Mission Zero, designed for beginners, and Mission Space Lab, designed for more experienced coders.

Two young people working together on a tech project.

This year, Mission Space Lab has a brand-new format. As well as introducing a new activity for teams to work on, we have created new resources to support teams and mentors, and developed a special tool to help teams test their programs. 

A young person writes Python code.

A big motivator for these changes was to make the activity more accessible and enable more young people to have their code run in space. Listening to feedback from participants and mentors, we are creating the opportunity for even more teams to submit programs that run on the ISS this year, by offering a specific activity and providing more extensive support materials.

A scientific task

For this year’s mission, ESA astronauts have given teams a specific scientific task to solve: to calculate the speed that the ISS is travelling as it orbits the Earth. People working in science often investigate a specific phenomenon or try to solve a particular problem. They have to use their knowledge and skills and the available tools to find ways to answer their research question. For Mission Space Lab, teams will work just like this. They will look at what sensors are available on the Astro Pi computers on board the ISS, develop a solution, and then write a Python program to execute it. To test their program, they will use the new Astro Pi Replay software tool we’ve created, which simulates running their program on board the ISS.

The two Astro Pi computers.
The Astro Pi computers 

To help teams and mentors take part in Mission Space Lab, we are providing a variety of supporting materials:

  • Our mentor guide has everything mentors need to support their teams through Mission Space Lab, including guidance for structuring the mission and tips to help teams solve problems.
  • Our creator guide helps young people design and create their programs. It provides information and technical instructions to help young people develop their coding skills and create a program that can be run on the Astro Pis on board the ISS.
  • We have created an ISS speed project guide that shows an example of how the scientific task can be solved using photos captured by the Astro Pi’s camera.

We have also run virtual sessions to help mentors and teams familiarise themselves with the new Mission Space Lab activity, and to ask any technical questions they might have. You can watch the recordings of these sessions on YouTube: 

The Astro Pi Replay tool

Astro Pi Replay is a new simulation tool that we have developed to support Mission Space Lab teams to test their programs. The tool simulates running programs on the Astro Pi computers on board the ISS. It is a Python library available as a plug-in to install in the Thonny IDE where teams write their programs. Thanks to this tool, teams can develop and test their programs on any computer that supports Python, without the need for hardware like the Astro Pi units on board the ISS.

The Astro Pi Replay tool works by replaying a data set captured by a Mission Space Lab team in May 2023. The data set includes readings from the Astro Pi ‘s sensors, and images taken by its visible-light camera like the ones below. Whenever teams run their programs in Thonny with Astro Pi Replay, the tool replays some of this historical data. That means teams can use the historical data to test their programs and calculations.

A photo the Mediterranean sea with the coastline of Sicily and Tunisia
The Mediterranean sea with the coastlines of Sicily and Tunisia
A photo the Irish Sea with the coastlines of the UK and Ireland
The Irish Sea with the coastlines of Great Britain and Ireland
A photo the Coastline of Southern Egypt and the Red Sea
The coastline of southern Egypt and the Red Sea

One of the benefits of using this simulation tool is that it gives teams a taste of what they can expect if their program is run on the ISS. By replaying a sequence of data captured by the Astro Pis in space, teams using sensors will be able to see what kind of data can be collected, and teams using the camera will be able to see some incredible Earth observation images.

If you’re curious about how Astro Pi Replay works, you’ll be pleased to hear we are making it open source soon. That means you’ll be able to look at the source code and find out exactly what the library does and how.

Get involved

Community members have consistently reported how amazing it is for teams to receive unique Earth observation photos and sensor data from the Astro Pis, and how great the images and data are to inspire young people to participate in their computing classes, clubs, or events. Through the changes we’ve made to Mission Space Lab this year, we want to support as many young people as possible to have the opportunity to engage in space science and capture their own data from the ISS. 

If you want a taste of how fantastic Astro Pi is for learners, watch the story of St Joseph’s, a rural Irish school where participating in Astro Pi has inspired the whole community.

Submissions for Mission Space Lab 2023/24 are open until 19 February 2024, so there’s still time to take part! You can find full details and eligibility criteria at astro-pi.org/mission-space-lab.

If you have any questions about the European Astro Pi Challenge, please get in touch at [email protected].

The post Get ready for Mission Space Lab with our new simulation tool appeared first on Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Celebrating young Coolest Projects creators at a London museum

Post Syndicated from Sophie Ashford original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coolest-projects-creators-young-v-a-london/

Each year, young people all over the world share and celebrate their amazing tech creations by taking part in Coolest Projects, our digital technology showcase. Our global online showcase and local in-person events give kids a wonderful opportunity to celebrate their creativity with their communities, explore other young creators’ tech projects, and gain inspiration and encouragement for their future projects.

Coolest Projects exhibit at the Young V&A in London.
The Coolest Projects exhibit at the Young V&A in London.

Now, visitors to the Young V&A museum in London can also be inspired by some of the incredible creations showcased at Coolest Projects. The museum has recently reopened after a large reimagining, and some of the inspiring projects by Coolest Projects 2022 participants are now on display in the Design Gallery, ready to spark digital creativity among more young people.

Projects to solve problems

Many Coolest Projects participants showcase projects that they created to make an impact and solve a real-world problem that’s important to them, for example to help members of their local community, or to protect the environment.

A Coolest Projects entry at the Young V&A in London.
At Coolest Projects, Donal (age 9) showcased his creation to send notifications about coronavirus test results via email.

One example on display in the Young V&A gallery is EleVoc, by 15-year-old Chinmayi from India. Chinmayi was inspired to create her project after she and her family faced a frightening encounter:

“My family and I are involved in wildlife conservation. One time we were charged by elephants even though we were only passing by in a Jeep. This was my first introduction to human–animal conflict, and I wanted to find a way to solve it!” – Chinmayi

The experience prompted Chinmayi to create EleVoc, an early-warning device designed to reduce human–elephant conflict by detecting and classifying different elephant sounds and alerting nearby villages to the elephants’ proximity and behaviour.

Also exhibited at the Young V&A is the hardware project Gas Leak Detector by Sashrika, aged 11, from the USA. Gas Leak Detector is a device that detects if a fuel tank for a diesel-powered heating system is leaking and notifies householders through an app in a matter of second.

Sashrika knew this invention could really make a difference to people’s lives. She explained, “Typically, diesel gas tanks for heating are in the basement where people don’t visit every day. Leakage may be unnoticed and lead to fire or major repair cost.”

Projects to have fun

As well as projects designed to solve problems, Coolest Projects also welcomes young people who create things to entertain or have fun. 

A Coolest Projects entry at the Young V&A.
Harshit’s game for Coolest Projects, now exhibited in the Young V&A

At the Young V&A, visitors can enjoy the fun, fast-paced game project Runaway Nose, by 10-year-old Harshit from Ireland. Runaway Nose uses facial recognition, and players have to use their nose to interact with the prompts on the screen. 

Harshit shared the motivation behind his project:

“I wanted to make a fun game to get you thinking fast and that would get you active, even on a rainy day.” – Harshit

We can confirm Runaway Nose is a lot of fun, and a must-do activity for people of all ages on a visit to the museum.

Join in the celebration!

If you are in London, make sure to head to the Young V&A to see Chinmayi’s, Sashrika’s, and Harshit’s projects, and many more. We love seeing the ingenuity of the global community of young tech creators celebrated, and hope it inspires you and your young people.

With that in mind, we are excited that Coolest Projects will be back in 2024. Registrations for the global Coolest Projects online showcase will be open from 14 February to 22 May 2024, and any young creator up to age 18 anywhere in the world can get involved. We’ll also be holding in-person Coolest Projects events for young people in Ireland and the UK. Head to the Coolest Projects website to find out more.

The exhibition hall at Coolest Projects Ireland 2023.
Coolest Projects Ireland 2023.

Coolest Projects is for all young people, no matter their level of coding experience. Kids who are just getting started and would like to take part can check out the free project guides on our projects site. These offer step-by-step guidance to help everyone make a tech project they feel proud of.

To always get the latest news about all things Coolest Projects, from event updates to the fun swag coming for 2024, sign up for the Coolest Projects newsletter.

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What is the impact of attending a Code Club or CoderDojo?

Post Syndicated from Hammad Kazi original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/code-club-coderdojo-survey-2023/

We support two networks of coding clubs where young people around the world discover the countless possibilities of creating with digital technologies.

Three learners working at laptops.
Young people in a CoderDojo in India.
  • Code Club is a global network of after-school coding clubs for learners aged 9 to 13, where educators and other volunteers help young people learn about coding and digital making
  • CoderDojo is a worldwide network of free, open, and community-based programming clubs for young people aged 7 to 17, where they get the opportunity to learn how to create fantastic new things with technology

Every year, we send out a survey to volunteers at all the clubs we support. Today we share some highlights from the findings and what we’re planning next.

An educator teaches students to create with technology.
A Code Club session in the USA.

Why do we do an annual survey for clubs?

The simple answer is: to help make clubs even better for everyone involved! Educators and volunteers are doing a remarkable job in helping young people learn about computing and coding, so we want to know more about them, about how they run their clubs, and what impact the club sessions have for young people.

A group of children and an adult have fun using Raspberry Pi hardware.
A CoderDojo session in the UK.

By knowing more about clubs — how frequently club leaders run them, what resources they use, what they would like more of — we can continue to improve the learning experience for educators, volunteers, and young people involved in our clubs.

This year in March we sent out our survey to all Code Clubs and CoderDojos around the world, and we heard back from almost 500. As always, the results were very positive, and they also gave us a lot of useful information on how we can continue to improve our support for clubs all over the world.

Who is involved in clubs?

Based on the survey, we estimate that at the time, the network of over 4200 Code Clubs and 700 CoderDojos was reaching almost 139,000 young people globally. The global community of clubs has continued to grow since then, with a now even larger network of volunteers supporting ever more young people.

Three learners laughing at a laptop in a Code Club.
Participants in a Code Club in the UK.

According to the survey, the majority of young people attending clubs are aged between 8 and 13, but clubs host young people as young as 6 and as old as 18. It was great to hear about the participation of girls, and we’d love to see this rise even higher: respondents told us that 42% of their Code Club attendees and 30% of their CoderDojo attendees are female.

Respondents feel that attending club sessions improves young peoples’ interest and engagement in computing and programming, and increases their understanding of the usefulness of computing.

None of these young people would be able to attend clubs without the great work of teams of educators and volunteers. Based on the survey, we estimate that at the time of the survey, there were over 10,300 Code Club leaders and almost 4000 CoderDojo champions around the world. Many survey respondents said that they were motivated to start volunteering after attending a club themselves.

Students in a Code Club run by CSEd Botswana.
A Code Club session in Botswana.

Community is at the heart of clubs and the clubs networks: over 80% of respondents said that belonging to a global community of clubs helps motivates them to volunteer at their own club.

What is the impact of clubs?

Clubs focus on a wide range of topics and programming languages. Scratch is overwhelmingly popular, with over 95% of respondents telling us that they used Scratch in club sessions in the previous year. Micro:bit projects and Python-based programming were also very popular. Club leaders told us that in future they would like to offer more activities around AI applications, as well as around games and mobile apps. 

A bar chart.

Club leaders told us that being part of a Code Club or CoderDojo affects young people positively. Respondents feel that attending club sessions improves young peoples’ skills and interest in computing and programming, and increases their understanding of the usefulness of computing. Almost 90% of club leaders also agree that after attending a club, young people are interested in additional experiences of learning about computing and programming.

Attending also positively affects young people’s wider skills and attitudes, with club leaders stating that young people who attend improve their personal confidence, independence in learning, and creative thinking. 

Young people who attend improve their personal confidence, independence in learning, and creative thinking.

We were pleased to find out that most Code Club leaders, who run their sessions in schools, think that their clubs increase the visibility of computing within their school. Many also said that the attendees’ parents and guardians value their clubs as opportunities for their children.

What’s next?

We want to keep providing clubs with support to increase their positive impact on young people. Thanks to the survey results, we know to focus our work on providing training opportunities for club volunteers, as well as supporting club leaders to recruit volunteers and advertise their clubs to more young people.

You can read the survey report to dive deeper into our findings.

As we take an impact-focused approach to our work, we are currently partnering with Durham University on an evaluation of Code Clubs in UK schools. The evaluation will provide further insights for how we can best support people around the world to run clubs that provide welcoming spaces where all kids can learn to create with digital technologies.

The post What is the impact of attending a Code Club or CoderDojo? appeared first on Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Impressions from Coolest Projects South Africa 2023

Post Syndicated from Rujeko Moyo original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coolest-projects-south-africa-2023/

The day after the successful meetup with our Global Clubs Partner organisations based in Africa, our team and some of our partners enjoyed participating in the Coolest Projects South Africa 2023 event to meet young tech creators and help out as project judges. Here are some of our impressions.

Our team and partners at Coolest Projects South Africa 2023.

A day of Coolest Projects

This is the fourth year of a partner-run, regional version of Coolest Projects — our world-leading showcase for young tech creators — taking place in South Africa, led by David Campey. David is Director of Coder LevelUp, one of our Global Clubs Partners growing and supporting a network of CoderDojos and Code Clubs in the country, and involved in the CoderDojo movement for a whole decade.

A waterbottle with a Coolest Projects South Africa sticker.

There was a buzz of anticipation and excitement at the Cape Town Science Centre as young coders from age 5 to 18 and various backgrounds gathered on this sunny Saturday morning to showcase their coding creations and inventions at Coolest Projects South Africa. From fun games and animations on Scratch, to cool websites created with HTML and CSS, to fantastic Python-based hardware solutions to real-world challenges — every young creator brought along a project they’d created to proudly showcase and celebrate.

Luhle’s language-inspired coding project

While chatting with the creators and discovering what had motivated their projects, we met up with 11-year-old Luhle, who was delighted to take us through the ‘Moon conversation’ animation she had coded in Scratch.

A young tech creator with her Scratch project at Coolest Projects South Africa 2023.
11-year-old Luhle proudly showcases her ‘Moon conversation’ Scratch animation at the Coolest Projects South Africa 2023 event.

The animation involved a Spanish conversation between two people who journeyed to the moon and back. Luhle had created her animation because of her love for languages and in response to a challenge posed to her class by her teacher: to learn 5 languages. While her mother tongue is isiXhosa, she is confident in English, is learning Afrikaans, has started teaching herself Spanish, and would love to learn Korean.

Kayden’s innovative hardware creation

We also met with 16-year-old Kayden, who showcased a project he’d made to address a real-world challenge. He told us he had always struggled to concentrate in class — a challenge that many young people face — and he wanted to build an alternative solution to the established medications. Using vibration sensors and two microcontrollers, he created a digital device to prompt users when they are no longer paying attention in class. With his friend Carl, he successfully tested the device on a meaningful sample of Grade 1–3 learners (ages 7–9).

A young tech creator with his hardware project at Coolest Projects South Africa 2023.
16-year-old Kayden listens intently as one of the Coolest Projects judges, Akwabi Paul from Kenya, commends his invention and advises him on next steps. Listening in are two other judges, Solomon from The Gambia and Sylvester from Malawi.

Kayden is now developing this low-cost innovative solution to include a heart rate monitor to help to detect when a user loses focus, and he wants this to be a solution that’s widely accessible and affordable for all South African children. One of the judges, our partner Akwabi Paul from Tech Kidz Africa in Kenya, was greatly impressed and motivated by Kayden’s work, and took time to advise Kayden on the next steps to turn his invention into a commercial product.

The coding club at CBC St Johns Parklands

During the event we also met members of Mrs Hill’s coding club and learnt about Mrs Hill’s experience of nurturing a love and interest for coding and robotics at CBC St Johns Parklands in Cape Town.

Since 2020, Mrs Hills has been providing coding lessons to all school classes — learners aged 6 to 12 years — as well as an after-school coding and robotics club. She approaches her lessons by introducing and demonstrating coding skills and then presenting her learners with a problem to solve collaboratively. In her words, ‘Learners find more interest in learning practically.’

That’s why Coolest Projects is the perfect fit for her and her young people. 4 of her club members took part in Coolest Projects South Africa 2022. This year, she was proud to enter 11 participants, 3 of whom were chosen as judges’ favourites.

Here’s to the young creators and more Coolest Projects events

After the showcasing and judging, the Coolest Projects South Africa event culminated in a hearty celebration of all that the young tech creators had presented. David Campey’s passion for nurturing coding literacy, digital making skills, and innovative thinking among learners from different walks of life made the whole day a truly enjoyable, inclusive event for the young creators.

Coolest Projects logo.

It was inspiring, no doubt, for our other African partners who participated as judges and are now keen to host Coolest Projects events back in their home countries.  

Get involved in Coolest Projects

If you and your young people based anywhere on the globe feel inspired to showcase digital tech creations, you can get involved in our Coolest Projects 2024 online showcase! It’s free and open to any young tech creator up to age 18.

Sign up to the Coolest Projects newsletter to be the first to hear all updates, for example when showcase registration opens on 14 February.

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Coolest Projects is back in 2024

Post Syndicated from Helen Gardner original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coolest-projects-2024-dates/

Big news for young tech creators: Coolest Projects will return in 2024. The world’s leading showcase for young creators of digital tech will be open for registration in the online gallery, and we want young people worldwide to showcase their tech projects.

In 2024, we are hosting the Coolest Projects online showcase and livestream celebration for all young creators around the world, and also in-person events in the UK and Ireland for young creators who live there.

A girl presenting a digital making project

Key dates for Coolest Projects 2024

All young tech creators can take part — for free — in the Coolest Projects online showcase:

  • Registration opens: 14 February 2024
  • Registration closes: 22 May 2024
  • Celebratory livestream with announcement of the judges’ favourite projects: 26 June 2024
A young person using Raspberry Pi hardware and learning resources to do digital making

How does Coolest Projects work?

Coolest Projects is an opportunity for young tech creators to share what they have made with the world. Young people register their tech creations to show them the Coolest Projects online showcase gallery. Alongside mentors, parents, friends, and family members in their local and global communities, they can explore the gallery and celebrate what they and their peers have made.

Who can take part?

  • Coolest Projects is open to all tech creators up to age 18
  • Tech creators of all experience levels are encouraged to participate
  • Creators can take part individually or in teams of up to five
  • Creators can live in any place in the world
  • Participation is free
A boy participating in Coolest Projects shows off his tech project together with an adult.

What kinds of tech projects can be part of Coolest Projects?

  • All projects are welcome, whether they are beginner, advanced, or something in between
  • Projects can be registered in six categories: Scratch, games, web, mobile apps, hardware, and advanced programming
  • We love to see works in progress, so projects don’t need to be completed to be registered
  • Creators can choose any topic for their project, for example community, environment, health, fun, art, education, or identity
A group of young women present a robot buggy they have built.

What happens after registration?

  • The online gallery is open for young tech creators to explore to see what their peers all over the world have made
  • Judges evaluate projects based on their coolness, complexity, design, usability, and presentation, and give feedback to creators about their projects
  • Judges pick some of their favourite projects to highlight, and every participant gets a unique certificate and some fun digital swag
  • Participants and the whole global Coolest Projects community celebrates young tech creators’ ingenuity on our livestream on 26 June
Four young coders show off their tech project for Coolest Projects.

How can young people get started with their projects?

If your kids want to learn about creating with technology, check out our free guided coding project paths. These paths are designed to support all young people to learn how to make their own tech projects and develop their coding skills. For example:

  • For young people who are completely new to coding, our Introduction to Scratch path is a great place to start
  • If young people would like to create their own website, for example to share information about a cause they care about, they can follow our Intro to web path
  • The Introduction to Unity path is perfect for more experienced creators who are keen to build interactive 3D world

Young creators can take a look at the Coolest Projects 2023 online showcase gallery for inspiration if they are not sure what they want to make. You can also watch the story of Zaahra and Eesa, siblings who participated in Coolest Projects 2020.

Coolest Projects in-person events: Ireland and the UK

If you are a young creator in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, or the UK, then Coolest Projects is also coming to you in person in 2024. Participants will be able to meet other young tech creators, connect to their community, and celebrate each other’s creations. Young people are encouraged to take part in both the Coolest Projects global online showcase and their local in-person event.

Coolest Projects Ireland

  • Registration opens: 31 January 2024
  • Registration closes: 20 March 2024
  • Event day: 13 April 2024
The exhibition hall at Coolest Projects Ireland 2023.
Coolest Projects Ireland 2023

Coolest Projects Ireland will take place at DCU St Patrick’s College Campus, Drumcondra in Dublin. It’s open to young creators in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and their families and friends are invited to come along to celebrate them and see all the incredible projects on show. Participants can apply for partial bursaries for the costs of attending the event.

Coolest Projects UK

Very soon we will announce the date and venue for Coolest Projects UK for all young creators in the UK. Sign up for email updates to be the first to hear about it. We will also share full details of each in-person event on the Coolest Projects website when registration opens.

A young person creating a project at a laptop. An adult is sat next to them.

If you live in another country…

If there’s not an in-person Coolest Projects event near you, you can still join in the fun: the Coolest Projects online showcase is open to any young creator aged up to 18, from anywhere in the world. We also work with brilliant partner organisations around the world to bring Coolest Projects events to their countries and communities. Sign up to the Coolest Projects newsletter to be the first to know about any in-person event in your country.

What’s next?

Coolest Projects registration opens soon in 2024, and young creators can start thinking of ideas and working on their projects now. Or if young people have already made something they are really proud of, they can showcase that creation once registration is open.

Coolest Projects logo.

Sign up for email updates to always get the latest news about all things Coolest Projects, from event updates to the fun swag coming for 2024.

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Code Editor update: Support for HTML and mobile devices 

Post Syndicated from Mel Farrington original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/html-code-editor/

Earlier this year, we launched our Code Editor, a free online tool to help make learning text-based programming simple and accessible for kids age 9 and up. We focus on supporting the needs of young people who are learning programming at school, in Code Clubs and CoderDojos, and at home.

A young coder using the Code Editor.

Today, we have two exciting updates to share: support for web page projects with HTML/CSS, and an improved mobile and tablet experience.

What’s the Code Editor?

Learners can use the Code Editor to write and run code in a web browser without installing any additional software. The Editor is currently available as a beta version, and we’ve already received really positive comments: 

“The Editor looks really nice! I have tried the Python part, and it is intuitive and concise. My little program worked no problem, and I am sure the Editor will be easy, intuitive, and quick to learn for the young [learners].”

— Volunteer in the CoderDojo community

Introducing HTML and CCS in the Code Editor 

The Code Editor now supports the HTML and CSS web development languages, giving young people the ability to create and preview their own websites directly in the Editor interface. Learners can have their code and the preview panel side by side, and they can also preview their websites in a separate, larger tab.

A web project in the Code Editor.

We have embedded the Editor in our ‘Introduction to web‘ path on the Projects site. The path contains six HTML and CSS projects for beginners and helps them create fun websites like the ones shown here.

We want the Code Editor to be safe, age-appropriate, and suitable for use in classrooms or coding clubs. With this in mind, we have excluded certain functions, like being able to add links to external websites in the code. Rather than enabling image uploads, we provide a library of images when projects in our free learning paths contain images, in order to support multimedia projects safely.

A web project in the Code Editor.

Whether users are coding in Python or HTML/CSS, the Editor offers accessibility options so you can easily switch settings between light and dark mode, and between small, medium, and large text size. The text size feature is useful for people with visual impairments, as well as for educators who want to demonstrate something to a group of learners.

Improved experience for mobile and tablet devices

Our Code Editor now offers a new and improved experience for users of mobile and tablet devices. This improves access for learners in classrooms where tablets are used, and in low- and middle-income countries, where mobile phones are commonly used for digital learning.

A web project in the Code Editor.

The Editor now includes: 

  • A clearer and simpler navigation for small-screen devices
  • Separate Menu, Code and Output/Preview tabs
  • The same features on mobile/tablet devices as on desktop of laptop computers, such as responsive panels and the option to open HTML/CSS projects in a new tab

Try the Code Editor today

We’re continuing to develop the Code Editor and have more improvements planned. If you would like to try it out and provide us with your feedback, we’d love to hear what you think of our latest updates. 

Code Editor developments have been made possible with generous support from Endless and the Cisco Foundation.

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New micro:bit coding projects for kids

Post Syndicated from Author original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/microbit-coding-projects/

Young people can now learn to code and create with our brand-new path of micro:bit coding projects. The ‘Intro to micro:bit’ path is free and kids can follow it to code projects that focus on wellbeing, including topics like mental health, relaxation, and exercise.

As you might know, a micro:bit (pronounced “microbit”) is a small, programmable device designed for education. You can program it using any computer. It’s easy to use and learn with, and suitable for beginners, especially young people in and out of school.

The theme of the new project path: Wellbeing

Our aim for this new micro:bit project path is to help young people explore how they can create their own tech tools that help them look after themselves and others. By designing the micro:bit coding projects around wellbeing, we want to not only help kids develop programming and digital literacy skills, but also promote open conversations about the important topic of mental health.

Kids coding a microbit project.
Credit: David Bird

The six micro:bit coding projects in our new path all cover different aspects of wellbeing in a fun, creative way:

  1. Good sleep patterns
  2. Relaxation
  3. Self-confidence
  4. Happiness
  5. Health 
  6. Entertainment

We hope that following the path and making projects helps encourage learners to ask questions, share their experiences, and feel like they can ask parents, teachers, or mentors for support, and help support their friends and peers.

What is in the ‘Intro to micro:bit’ project path?

The ‘Intro to micro:bit’ path is designed according to our Digital Making Framework. Its aim is to encourage young people to become independent coders and tech creators as they progress along the projects in a path by gently removing scaffolding.

  • Our project paths begin with three Explore projects, in which learners are guided through tasks that introduce them to new coding skills.
  • Next, learners complete two Design projects. Here, they are encouraged to practise their skills and bring in their own interests to personalise their coding creations.
  • Finally, learners complete one Invent project. This is where they put everything that they have learned together and create something unique that matters to them.

The structure of the path means that learners are led through the development process of a coding project and learn how to turn their ideas into reality. The path structure also supports them with fixing programming errors (debugging), showing them that errors are a normal part of computer programming and just temporary setbacks that they can overcome.

Credit: David Bird

Because community is important for learning, the path also offers young people the chance to share the projects they make with peers around the world.

What coding skills and knowledge will young people learn?

The Explore projects at the start of the path are where the initial learning takes place. Learners then develop their new skills and knowledge by putting them into practice in the Design and Invent projects, where they add in their own ideas and creativity.

The key programming concepts covered in this path are:

  • Variables
  • Using selection (if, else if, and else)
  • Using repetition (for loops)
  • Using randomisation
  • Using functions
Kids coding a microbit project.
Credit: David Bird

There are two versions of the micro:bit (V1 and V2) and learners can use either version to create the micro:bit coding projects in the path, using the micro:bit’s input and output features:

Input features:

  • Buttons
  • Accelerometer
  • Sound sensor/microphone (micro:bit V2 only)
  • Capacitive touch sensor
  • Light sensor

Output features:

  • LED display
  • Speaker
  • Headphones connected via GPIO (micro:bit V1 only)

Explore project 1: Music player

In this Explore project, kids create a music player on the micro:bit to explore how listening to music can improve their mood. While creating their music player, young people get to choose melodies that they enjoy or that make them feel more relaxed. They also add a range of functions such as pausing, skipping, and shuffling tracks.

Explore project 2: Sound level meter

Noise levels can affect people’s well-being, so in this project, kids create a program to use the micro:bit to display how noisy their environment is. They will also learn how to save the noise data the micro:bit measures so they can identify the noisiest times in their day.

Explore project 3: Sleep tracker

Sleep is an important factor that contributes towards well-being. With this third Explore project, kids create a program to track their sleep movements using the micro:bit. This teaches them about variables and about using the micro:bit’s accelerometer, and its LEDs to display data.

Design project 1: How’s your day?

The first Design project of the path gets young people to build a mood checker program using the question ‘How’s your day?’. Kids get creative design control over the mood checker’s outputs according to the user’s replies, including displaying an animation or positive messages, or playing music. Kids can also make use of sensors to measure the various factors in the environment that could be affecting the user’s mood.

In this project, young people apply all of the coding skills and knowledge covered in the Explore projects, including selection, repetition, variables, functions, and randomisation.

Design project 2: Active assistant

In the second Design project, young people create an assistant that helps them get active.The project provides examples, a structure, and brief summaries of what kids have learned to do on the path so far to inspire and motivate them. This mean young people can work independently to produce their own outcomes and the functionality of their assistant is up to each young tech creator.

Invent project: Party game

The final project, Party game, encourages learners to independently replicate their favourite party game for entertainment and relaxation. Learners will combine all of the knowledge and skills they’ve gained throughout the path to make something of their own around the theme of well-being. This is a chance for them to unleash their creativity and reflect on real-life games they enjoy. The outcome will be unique, and fun for them to share with their friends and family.

Key questions answered

Who is this path for?

We have written these micro:bit coding projects with young people around the age of 6 to 13 in mind. Building the projects on the path does not require any previous coding experience, although complete beginners may want to try our free ‘Intro to Scratch’ path first.

What software do learners need to code these projects?

A web browser on a computer. In every project, starter code is provided in the MakeCode online code editor. Learners can either download their project code to a physical micro:bit (recommended) or use the micro:bit simulator in MakeCode.

Kids coding a microbit project.
Credit: David Bird

Young people who live where there isn’t constant internet connectivity can also download the offline version of the MakeCode editor. There are also free micro:bit coding apps for smartphones and tablets.

How long will the path take to complete?

We’ve designed the ‘Intro to micro:bit’ path to be completed in six one-hour sessions, with one hour per project. However, the project instructions invite learners to take additional time to upgrade their projects if they wish.

What can learners do next?

Take part in Coolest Projects

At the end of the micro:bit path, learners are encouraged to register a project they’re making with their new coding skills for Coolest Projects, our annual online technology showcase for young people around the world.

Taking part is free, and beginners as well as more experienced young tech creators are invited. This is their opportunity to share their ingenuity in an online gallery for the world and the Coolest Projects community to celebrate.

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Explore space science and coding with Astro Pi Mission Space Lab

Post Syndicated from Fergus Kirkpatrick original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/european-astro-pi-challenge-mission-space-lab-2023-24/

Today we’re calling all young people who are excited to explore coding and space science, and the mentors who want to support and inspire them on their journey. Astro Pi Mission Space Lab is officially open again, offering young people all over Europe the amazing chance to have their code for a science experiment run in space on the International Space Station (ISS).

Aurora Borealis as seen from the ISS.
Aurora Borealis as seen from the ISS

With this year’s Mission Space Lab, astronauts from the European Space Agency are setting young people a task: to write a computer program that runs on the ISS and calculates the speed at which the ISS is orbiting planet Earth. Participation in Mission Space Lab is completely free.

Here’s ESA astronaut candidate Rosemary Coogan to introduce this year’s mission:

The mission: Calculate the speed of the ISS

Mission Space Lab invites young people up to age 19 to work in teams of 2 to 6 and write a Python program for the Astro Pi computers on board the ISS to collect data and calculate the speed at which the ISS is travelling. 

Your role as a mentor is to support teams as they design and create their program — with our free guidance resources to help you and your young creators.

We want as many young people as possible to have the chance to take part in Mission Space Lab, so the way in which teams solve the task set by the ESA astronauts can be different depending on the experience of your team:

  • Beginner programmers can follow the guided project we provide (more info below) to write their program.
  • Teams with more programming experience can get creative to come up with their own innovative solution and calculate the speed of the ISS as accurately as possible.

The Astro Pis are two Raspberry Pi computers stationed on the ISS, each equipped with a High Quality Camera, a Sense HAT add-on board with a number of sensors, and a Coral machine learning accelerator. Each Astro Pi has a hard casing designed especially for space travel.

The Astro Pi computers inside the International Space Station.
The Astro Pi computers inside the International Space Station.

There are lots of ways to use sensor data from the Astro Pis to calculate the speed of the ISS, so young people can get creative solving their Mission Space Lab task while learning fascinating facts about physics and the inner workings of the ISS.

Two girls code together at a computer.

All Mission Space Lab participants whose programs run on the ISS will receive a certificate recognising their achievement, and they’ll get the chance to attend a Q&A webinar with an ESA astronaut. Teams also receive back data from the ISS based on their Mission Space Lab programs, for example photos or sensor measurements. That means you’ll have the option to explore and use that data in follow-on activities with your young people.

The coastline of Chile see from the ISS.
The coastline of Chile photographed by an Astro Pi on the ISS

Support for you to get started with Mission Space Lab

We are providing lots of supporting materials to help you and your team with Mission Space Lab:

  • A new Mission Space Lab mentor guide helps you assemble and support teams of young people who want to take part. It gives you as a mentor everything you need to answer your team’s questions and help them solve problems. It also includes tips on how to structure the Mission for your team. So young and your young people can make the most of Mission Space Lab, we suggest you run a series of sessions where your team can learn about the ISS, think about how they could use the different Astro Pi sensors, and design and create a program. The guide shows you how to help them use a design thinking approach during the Mission and develop problem solving and collaboration skills that are very important for careers in tech.
  • The Mission Space Lab creator guide helps young people design and create their Python programs. It contains all of the information they need to write a program that can be run on the Astro Pis. It includes discussion points for the team’s planning and design process. The technical instructions support young people to create a program that accomplishes its goal in the allocated runtime of 10 minutes.
  • We’re also providing a ISS speed project guide that shows one way for teams to complete the Mission Space Lab task: writing a program that calculates the ISS speed using photos taken by the Astro Pi’s camera. 

Mission Space Lab is open for submissions from today, 6 November 2023, until 19 February 2024.

Visit the Astro Pi website for full details and eligibility criteria: astro-pi.org/mission-space-lab

Sign up for Astro Pi news

The European Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education project run in collaboration with us here at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. 

You can keep up with all Astro Pi news by following the Astro Pi X account (formerly Twitter) or signing up to the newsletter at astro-pi.org.

The post Explore space science and coding with Astro Pi Mission Space Lab appeared first on Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Launch kids’ code into space with the European Astro Pi Challenge 2023/24

Post Syndicated from Fergus Kirkpatrick original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/european-astro-pi-challenge-mission-zero-2023-24/

Throughout this year, space agencies have been embarking on new missions to explore our solar system, and young people can get involved too through the European Astro Pi Challenge 2023/24, which we’re launching today.

Logo of the European Astro Pi Challenge.

Kids’ code in space with the Astro Pi Challenge

In the past few months India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission landed near the Moon’s south pole, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe flew by Venus on its way to the sun, and the SpaceX Crew-7 launched to the International Space Station (ISS), led by ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen. We’re especially excited about Andreas’ mission because he’s the astronaut who will help to run young people’s Astro Pi programs on board the ISS this year.

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen on board the ISS.
ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen will help run kids’ Astro Pi code on board the ISS. Can you spot an Astro Pi computer in the photo?

As you may know, the European Astro Pi Challenge gives young people the amazing opportunity to conduct scientific experiments in space by writing computer programs for the Astro Pis, special Raspberry Pi computers on board the ISS.

Two Astro Pis on board the International Space Station.
Two Astro Pis on board the International Space Station.

The Astro Pi Challenge is free and offers two missions for young people: Mission Zero is an inspiring activity for introducing kids to text-based programming with Python. Mission Space Lab gives teams of young people the chance to take on a more challenging programming task and stretch their coding and science skills.

A young person with her coding project at a laptop.

Participation in Astro Pi is open to young people up to age 19 in ESA Member States (see the Astro Pi website for eligibility details).

Astro Pi Mission Zero opens today

In Astro Pi Mission Zero, young people write a simple Python program to take a reading using a sensor on one of the ISS Astro Pi computers and display a personalised pixel art image for the astronauts on board the ISS. They can take part by themselves or as coding teams.

Logo of Mission Zero, part of the European Astro Pi Challenge.

The theme for Mission Zero 2023/24 is ‘fauna and flora’: young people are invited to program pixel art images or animations of animals, plants, or fungi to display on the Astro Pi computers’ LED pixel screen and remind the astronauts aboard the ISS of Earth’s natural wonders.

A collection of 8 by 8 pixel images of animals.
A selection of Mission Zero pixel art images of animals.

By following the guide we provide, kids can complete the Mission Zero coding activity in around one hour, for example during a school lesson or coding club session. No coding experience is needed to take part. Kids can write their code in any web browser on any computer connected to the internet, without special equipment or software.

A map of Earth.
Mission Zero participants get a certificate showing the exact time and place where their code was run in space.

All young people that meet the eligibility criteria and follow the official Mission Zero guidelines will have their program run in space for up to 30 seconds. They will receive a unique and personalised certificate to show their coding achievement. The certificate will display the exact start and end time of their program’s run, and where the ISS was above Earth in this time period.

Mission Zero 2023/24 opens today and is open until Monday 25 March 2024. It’s very easy to support young people to get involved — find out more on the Astro Pi website:

Astro Pi Mission Space Lab will open soon

In this year’s Astro Pi Mission Space Lab, ESA astronauts are inviting teams of young people to solve a scientific task by writing a Python program.

Astro Pi Mission Space Lab logo.

The Mission Space Lab task is to gather data with the Astro Pi computers to calculate the speed at which the ISS is travelling. This new format of the mission will allow many more young people to run their programs in space and get a taste of space science.

The Strait of Gibraltar photographed by an Astro Pi on board the ISS.
The Strait of Gibraltar photographed by an Astro Pi on board the ISS during a previous Mission Space Lab.

Mission Space Lab will open on 6 November. We will share more information about how young people and mentors can participate very soon.

Sign up for Astro Pi news

The European Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education project run in collaboration with us here at the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

You can keep up with all Astro Pi news by following the Astro Pi X account (formerly Twitter) or signing up to the newsletter at astro-pi.org.

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Celebrating young tech creators in person: Coolest Projects events 2023

Post Syndicated from Helen Gardner original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/coolest-projects-in-person-events-2023/

In the 2023 Coolest Projects online showcase, 5801 young people from all over the world shared the wonderful, fun, and creative things they had made with technology. But that’s not all we’ve seen of Coolest Projects this year. As well as our worldwide annual online showcase, a number of in-person Coolest Projects events are taking place in countries across the globe in 2023.

The exhibition hall at Coolest Projects Ireland 2023.
The exhibition hall at Coolest Projects Ireland 2023.

Run by us or partner organisations, these exciting events create a space for young people to meet other young tech creators, connect to their community, and celebrate each others’ creations. In-person Coolest Projects events around the world had to pause over the coronavirus pandemic, and we’re delighted to see them return to engage and inspire young people once again.

Coolest Projects Ireland in Dublin

On 1 July, we were super excited to host Coolest Projects Ireland, our first in-person Coolest Projects event since 2020. 63 young tech creators from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland came together in Dublin for an exciting one-day event where they shared 43 incredible creations, with engineer and STEM communicator Dr Niamh Shaw leading everyone through the day’s celebrations.

Young tech creators with projects in the Scratch category on stage at Coolest Projects Ireland.
The creators with projects in the Scratch category on stage with Dr Niamh Shaw.

One young maker showcasing her project was Charlotte from Kinsale CoderDojo in the Republic of Ireland. Her creative storytelling project ‘Goldicat and the Three Angry Property Owners’ was chosen as a judges’ favourite in the Scratch category.

Charlotte’s story includes different games and three secret endings for the user to discover. She told us: “I know someone who made an animation based off the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel in Scratch. This inspired me to make a game based off a different fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Charlotte’s project ‘Goldicat and the Three Angry Property Owners’.

Harshit entered the Hardware category with his amazing mini vending machine. Describing his project, he explained, “This is a recreation of a vending machine, but I have added my own twists to it to make it simple to build. You still get the full experience of an actual vending machine, but what makes it special is that it is made fully out of recycled materials.”

A young tech creator with a hardware project at Coolest Projects Ireland.
Harshit with his mini vending machine project.

Young people at Coolest Projects Ireland were joined and supported by family, friends, and mentors from Code Clubs and CoderDojos. Mentors told us their favourite things about attending a Coolest Projects event in person were “the joy and excitement the participants got from taking part and discussing their project with the judges”, and “the way it was very inclusive to all children and all [were] included on stage for some swag!”

Coolest Projects events by partners around the world

In 2023 we’re partnering with six organisations that are bringing Coolest Projects events for their communities. We’re still looking forward to the exciting Coolest Projects events planned in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Iraq, and South Africa during the rest of the year. 

Back in June, more than 30 young creators participated in Coolest Projects Hungary, which was organised in Budapest by the team at EPAM. And April saw our partner CoderDojo Belgium organise Coolest Projects Belgium for 40 young people, who shared 25 projects across different categories from Scratch to Hardware and Advanced Programming.

The CoderDojo Belgium team shared how important the Coolest Projects event is to their community:

“Just like every year, we’ve unlocked the doors to welcome the next generation of tech enthusiasts. And this year, once again, we were absolutely amazed by the projects they brought to the spotlight. From an app predicting stock market evolution, to creatively designed games with unexpected twists, not to mention the incredible robots, and more, their ingenuity knows no bounds.”

CoderDojo Belgium

How you can get involved in Coolest Projects

We’re excited that the Coolest Projects online showcase — open to any young creator anywhere in the world — will return in 2024. And if there isn’t a Coolest Projects in-person event in your country yet, don’t worry. We’re working with more and more partners every year to bring Coolest Projects events to more young people.

To stay up to date with news about the Coolest Projects online showcase, sign up to the newsletter.

Young people and an adult mentor at a computer at Coolest Projects Ireland 2023.

And you can celebrate young tech creators with us year round wherever you are by following Coolest Projects on XInstagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook, where we share inspiring projects from the Coolest Projects online gallery and photos from the in-person events.

We’d like to thank Meta, GoTo, and Pimoroni for supporting the Coolest Projects Ireland event. If you’re interested in partnering with us for Coolest Projects, please reach out to us via email.

The post Celebrating young tech creators in person: Coolest Projects events 2023 appeared first on Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Make a robot: A fun and educational journey into robotics for kids

Post Syndicated from Marc Scott original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/make-a-robot/

Lots of kids are excited about robotics, and we have the free resources you need to help your children start making robots.

A smiling girl holding a robot buggy in her lap

What’s a robot anyway?

Did you know that the concept of robotics dates back to ancient Greece, where a mathematician built a self-propelled flying pigeon to understand bird flight? Today, we have robots assisting people in everything from manufacturing to medicine. But what exactly is a robot? Ask two people, and you might get two different answers. Some may tell you about Star Wars’ C3PO and R2D2, while others may tell you about self-driving cars or even toys.

In my view, a robot is a machine that can carry out a series of physical tasks, programmed via a computer. These tasks could range from picking up an object and placing it elsewhere, to navigating a maze, to even assembling a car without human interaction.

Why robotics?

My first encounter with robotics was the Big Trak, a programmable toy vehicle created in 1979. You could program up to 16 commands into Big Trak, which it then executed in sequence. My family and I used the toy to transport items to each other around our house. It was a fun and engaging way to explore the basics of robotics and programming.

A Big Trak toy robot on wheels with a keypad on top and with a cart attached.

Understanding something about robotics is not just for scientists and engineers. It involves learning a range of skills that empower your kids to be creators of our digital world, instead of just consumers.

A child codes at a desktop computer.

Robotics combines various aspects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in a fun and engaging way. It also encourages young people’s problem-solving abilities, creativity, and critical thinking — skills that are key for the innovators of tomorrow.

Machine learning and robotics: A powerful duo

What happens when we add machine learning to robotics? Machine learning is an area of artificial intelligence where people design computer systems so they “learn” from data. This is not unlike how people learn from experience. Machine learning can enable robots to adapt to new situations and perform tasks that only people used to do.

A girl shows off a robot she has built.

We’ve already built robots that can play chess with you, or clean your house, or deliver your food. As people develop machine learning for robotics further, the possibilities are vast. By the time our children start their careers, it might be normal to have robots as software-driven “coworkers”. It’s important that we prepare children for the possible future that robotics and machine learning could open up. We need to empower them to contribute to creating robots with capabilities that complement and benefit all people.

To see what free resources we’re offering to help young people understand and create with machine learning and AI, check out this blog post about our Experience AI learning programme.

Getting started with robotics

So, how can kids start diving into the world of robotics? Here are three online resources to kickstart their journey:

Physical computing with Scratch and the Raspberry Pi

Physical computing with Scratch and the Raspberry Pi‘ is a fantastic introduction to using electronics with the block-based Scratch programming language for young learners.

A girl with a Raspberry Pi computer.

Kids will learn to create interactive stories, games, and animations, all while getting a taste of physical computing. They’ll explore how to use sound and light, and even learn how to create improvised buttons.

Introduction to Raspberry Pi Pico and MicroPython

This project path introduces the Raspberry Pi Pico, a tiny yet powerful digital device that kids can program using the text-based MicroPython language.

Blink on Raspberry Pi Pico.
A Raspberry Pi Pico.

It’s a great way to delve deeper into the world of electronics and programming. The path includes a variety of fun and engaging projects that incorporate crafting and allow children to see the tangible results of their coding efforts.

Build a robot

‘Build a robot’ is a project path that allows young people to create a simple programmable buggy. They can then make it remote-controlled and even transform it so it can follow a line by itself.

A robot buggy with a Raspberry Pi.

This hands-on project path not only teaches the basics of robotics but also encourages problem-solving as kids iteratively improve their robot buggy’s design.

The robot building community

Let’s take a moment to celebrate two young tech creators who love building robots.
Selin is a digital maker from Istanbul, Turkey, who is passionate about robotics and AI. Selin’s journey into the world of digital making began with a wish: after her family’s beloved dog Korsan passed away, she wanted to bring him back to life. This led her to design a robotic dog on paper, and to learn coding and digital making to build that robot.

Selin is posing on one knee, next to her robot.

Selin has since built seven different robotics projects. One of them is IC4U, a robotic guide dog designed to help people with impaired sight. Selin’s commitment to making projects that help make the world a better place was recognised when she was awarded the Aspiring Teen Award by Women in Tech.

Jay, a young digital maker from Preston, UK, started experimenting with code at a young age to make his own games. He attended free local coding groups, such as CoderDojo, and was introduced to the block-based programming language Scratch. Soon, Jay was combining his interests in programming with robotics to make his own inventions.

Young coder Jay shows off some of his robotics projects.

Jay’s dad, Biren, comments: “With robotics and coding, what Jay has learned is to think outside of the box and without any limits. This has helped him achieve amazing things.”

Open up the world of making robots for your child

Robotics and machine learning are not just science fiction — they shape our lives today in ways kids might not even realise. Whether your child is just interested in playing with robots, wants to learn more about them, or is considering a career in robotics, our free resources are a great place to start.

If a Greek mathematician was able to build a flying pigeon millennia ago, imagine what children could create today!

The post Make a robot: A fun and educational journey into robotics for kids appeared first on Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Kids’ coding languages

Post Syndicated from Marc Scott original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/kids-coding-languages/

Programming is becoming an increasingly useful skill in today’s society. As we continue to rely more and more on software and digital technology, knowing how to code is also more and more valuable. That’s why many parents are looking for ways to introduce their children to programming. You might find it difficult to know where to begin, with so many different kids’ coding languages and platforms available. In this blog post, we explore how children can progress through different programming languages to realise their potential as proficient coders and creators of digital technology.

Two kids share their Scratch coding project on a laptop.

ScratchJr

Everyone needs to start somewhere, and one great option for children aged 5–7 is ScratchJr (Scratch Junior), a visual programming language with drag-and-drop blocks for creating simple programs. ScratchJr is available for free on Android and iOS mobile devices. It’s great for introducing young children to the basics of programming, and they can use it to create interactive stories and games.

Scratch

Moving on from ScratchJr, there’s its web-based sibling Scratch. Scratch offers drag-and-drop blocks for creating programs and comes with an assortment of graphics, sounds, and music for your child to bring their programs to life. This visual programming language is designed specifically for children to learn programming fundamentals. Scratch is available in multiple spoken languages and is perfect for beginners. It allows kids to create interactive stories, animations, and games with ease.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has a wealth of free Scratch resources we have created specifically for young people who are beginners, such as the ‘Introduction to Scratch’ project path. And if your child is interested in physical computing to interact with the real world using code, they can also learn how to use electronic components, such as buzzers and LEDs, with Scratch and a Raspberry Pi computer.  

Young person using a laptop to code in Scratch, our favourite of all kids' coding languages.

MakeCode

Another fun option for children who want to explore coding and physical computing is the micro:bit. This is a small programmable device with an LED display, buttons, and sensors, and it can be used to create games, animations, interactive projects, and lots more. To control a micro:bit, a visual programming language called MakeCode can be used. The micro:bit can also be programmed using Scratch or text-based languages such as Python, offering an easy transition for children as their coding skills progress. Have a look at our free collection of micro:bit resources to learn more.

HTML

Everyone is familiar with websites, but fewer people know how they are coded. HTML is a markup language that is used to create the webpages we use every day. It’s a great language for children to learn because they can see the results of their code in real time, in their web browser. They can use HTML and CSS to create simple webpages that include links, videos, pictures, and interactive elements, all the while learning how websites are structured and designed. We have many free web design resources for your child, including a basic ‘Introduction to web development’ project path.

Three kids coding at laptops.

Python 

If your child is becoming confident with Scratch and HTML, then using Python is the recommended next stage in their learning. Python is a high-level text-based programming language that is easy to read and learn. It is a popular choice for beginners as it has a simple syntax that often reads like plain English. Many free Python projects for young people are available on our website, including the ‘Introduction to Python’ path.

A kid coding in Python on a laptop.

The Python community is also really welcoming and has produced a myriad of online tutorials and videos to help learners explore this language. Python can be used to do some very powerful things with ease, which is why it is so popular. For example, it is relatively simple to create Python programs to engage in machine learning and data analysis. If you wanted to explore large language models such as GPT, on which the ChatGPT chatbot is based, then Python would be the language of choice.

JavaScript 

JavaScript is the language of the web, and if your child has become proficient in HTML, then this is the next language for them. JavaScript is used to create interactive websites and web applications. As young people become more comfortable with programming, JavaScript is a useful language to progress to, given how ubiquitous the web is today. It can be tricky to learn, but like Python, it has a vast number of libraries of functions that people have already created for it to achieve things more quickly. These libraries make JavaScript a very powerful language to use.

Try out kids’ coding languages

There are many different programming languages, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are easy to learn and use, some are really fast, and some are very secure.

Two kids coding together on Code Club World.

Starting with visual languages such as Scratch or MakeCode allows your child to begin to understand the basic concepts of programming without needing any developed reading and keyboard skills. Once their understanding and skills have improved, they can try out text-based languages, find the one that they are comfortable with, and then continue to learn. It’s fairly common for people who are proficient in one programming language to learn other languages quite quickly, so don’t worry about which programming language your child starts with.

Whether your child is interested in working in software development or just wants to learn a valuable — and creative — skill, helping them learn to code and try out different kids’ coding languages is a great way for you to open up new opportunities for them.

The post Kids’ coding languages appeared first on Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Register your project for Coolest Projects 2023 now

Post Syndicated from Helen Gardner original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/register-for-coolest-projects-2023/

Young creators, it’s time to share your ideas with the world! Registration for Coolest Projects is now open.

Coolest Projects logo.

Coolest Projects is an online showcase celebrating all young people who create with digital technology. From today, Monday 6 February, young people can register their projects on the Coolest Projects website. Registered projects will be part of the online showcase gallery, for people all over the world to see.

By entering your digital tech creations into Coolest Projects, you’ll have the chance to get personalised feedback about your project, represent your country in the online showcase, and get fun, limited-edition swag. Your project could even be selected as a favourite by our very special VIP judges.

What you need to know about Coolest Projects

Coolest Projects is an online celebration of young digital tech creators worldwide, their skills, and their wonderful creative ideas. We welcome all kinds of projects, from big to small, beginner to advanced, and work in progress to completed creation.

A young person creating a project at a laptop. An adult is sat next to them.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Coolest Projects is all online and completely free
  • All digital technology projects are welcome, from very first projects to advanced builds, and they don’t have to be complete
  • Young creators up to age 18 from anywhere in the world can take part individually or in teams of up to five friends
  • Projects can be registered in one of six categories: Scratch, games, web, mobile apps, hardware, and advanced programming
  • Registration is now open and closes on 26 April 2023
  • All creators, mentors, volunteers, teachers, parents, and supporters are invited to the special celebration livestream on 6 June 2023

Five steps to taking part in Coolest Projects

  1. Imagine your idea for a project
  2. Choose your project category
  3. Gather a group of friends or work by yourself to make your project
  4. Register the project in a few clicks to share it in the showcase gallery
  5. Explore the other projects from around the world in the showcase gallery, and join the community at the special celebration livestream
A group of young people plan their projects on laptops.

If you’d like help with your idea or project, take a look at our free, step-by-step Coolest Projects workbook and coding project guides. You can also get inspired by all the creations in the 2022 showcase gallery.

You are also very welcome to register a tech project you’ve already made and want to share with the world this year.

We offer free resources to help mentors and parents support young people through the process of taking part in Coolest Projects, from imagining ideas, to creating projects, to registration.

A parent and young person work on a digital making project at home.

There are loads more announcements to come, so make sure to subscribe to the Coolest Projects newsletter to be the first to find out about this year’s VIP judges, limited-edition digital swag, and much more.

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