BETT 2016 & Gaming Development with Coderdojo London

Raspberry Pi

HI everyone – I have been away for a while dealing with Entrance Exams but it’s mostly over now so it’s back to weekly blogs.  It’s great to be back doing coding stuff again and this weekend was brilliant.  At BETT 2016 ( Technology Educational show) me and my mum met up with lots of our friends from the coding community who we hadn’t seen for a while  and met some new people linked to the MicroBit. In the afternoon, we hopped over to Shoreditch to join Coderdojo London, at the  ustwo office, for the first of four Gaming Development sessions. It was a totally amazing day. Here is a review of both events.

IMG_0993BETT 2016

We got to BETT 2016 really early so that we could make the most of the morning, fully intending to do as many Raspberry Pi activities as possible at the Raspberry Jam there. But can you believe it, in the end I didn’t do any. There were so many interesting exhibitors and people to meet … ok and also an awful lot of freebies to collect!!! We checked out all the excellent learning resource that are available for teachers ready for Year 7 to get their MicroBit after half term – not fair because I’m just in year 5!

David Whale showed us his MicroBit ‘frying egg’ and ‘catching raindrops’ games and then showed us the display of 1000 MicroBits and the Samsung phone stall where students will be able to programme their MicroBit to control their phones. It was nice to see Hannah (Minecraft expert) and Isreal (Robot creator) too.

We were really lucky to meet Mark Cantrill ( in person – who made the first PiZero robot which was featured in MagPi. At BETT he had an even smaller one. He told us he used the CamJam Robot kit but used smaller motors and soldered the wires from the motor controller board directly onto PiZero. He also used a tiny board to covert power down from 6v to 5v with a wafer thin insulator called ‘Kaptor’. When I’m ready I might to talk to Mark again about this. After I finish working through using all the sensors on my Cam Jam Robot, I’m going to build my PiBorg with a Camera – Tim from Cam Jam said we should use ‘Opencv’ to stream it. Anther thing to come back to.  After saying hi to Philip – CEO Raspberry Pi Foundation  we went on a Freebie hunts which was very successful and mum got to talk to lots of people. It was really friendly


It was great to catch up with Jesse at the Pi Top stall ( Josh, the engineer and Jesse asked if I wanted to try out their new OS update. He’s going to send it in the week and I’ll be one of the first to look at it. I will try it out and then he’s invited me to come over and spend some time with him and Ryan – the software engineer and we can rig up my Raspberry Pi camera to my Pi Top – they have an add on circuit board that clips into the Raspberry Pi to add functionality.  Thanks for the Pi Top T-shirt!

IMG_1040Then to top it all – I met Stuart  Ball from Microsoft and  Ross Lowe @rlowe0008 (13 yrs  with a company – producing software for the MicroBit) who were super inspirational! I got given a Physical Computing kit for the MicroBit – which is very cool, if only I’d get hold of a MicroBit. I think I’ll have to join a code club. Stuart said it was great to be good at coding but what am I going to do with it? How do I started to develop my own business/ career ideas? Next year he said he wants to know what I’ve come up with!

After a photo with the largest BeeBot ever and  a quick visit to Alan’s beach bar (@exaeducation) for some refreshments, we had to leave. Thank you Andy @southendtech for guiding us around – see you at the Chelmford Jam where me & mum are going to run a CamJam Robot session!  Thanks Andrew & Joseph for  the  Github idea. What a productive 2 and hours -really looking forward to next year.


Codordojo London: Games Development Workshop- Session 1 

IMG_1053This is the first time that Codordojo London have run an in-depth Gaming Development course over four sessions and I feel so lucky to be one of the 20 young coders ,from the age of 7 to 15, there. It is being run at the ustwo office, a Software/App company who also design and develop games. They won the Apple App of the 2014 with Monument Valley. There were two members of staff from ustwo and one of them said that their own developers would go through the same process that we are about to go through.


First of all we got put into random groups of 4 -5 and I did feel a bit anxious about who’d be in my group. With the Festival of Code, I felt like the older, more experienced  coders  took over a bit.  But actually, with a little bit more experience and a nice group, it was ok and we all contributed (and argued our views/points) equally. In fact one of the other team members plays in  my orchestra in South London, the cello like me – small world!.  Making the graphics of our game in Game Maker, is really tricky as I’m more comfortable with Scratch and Python – but maybe I’ll get to learn some new software tools.  We had lots of support from the volunteers and it was nice to see Zak (@zcutner)and Loius – who ran  a Processing workshop at our first South London Raspberry Jam. They were really good.  Our group ‘Frontier’ presented our initial ideas for a game called ‘Neighbourhood Heist’ at the end of the day. It’s a 2D game – with a bird’s eye view based around a school where you get given challenges – like stealing conficasted things back or Exam papers within a set time.  Anyway here’s a clip of our presentation – which some of the parents found amusing in some parts. You don’t have to view it but I’ve put it here for prosperity – I’m sure it’s going to completely change over the next few weeks. There’s a Gaming competition for us all to enter and the winnersget to go to Dublin.

Happy to be back blogging – next week I’m off to the Kent Raspberry Jam and looking forward to seeing Dorine Flies (@DorineFlies )from Mozilla once again.  Ill let you know how it goes.






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