Congratulations to all our ninjas who received belts in Summer 2017!

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On 27 May 2017, at our final CoderDojo Athenry session of the 2016-17 year, we awarded a total of 93 belts to our ninjas for their great individual achievements in acquiring and demonstrating coding and computing skills. And then we had a party with pizza!

Here is a link to our presentation from the day: CoderDojo Athenry Belts Day 2017

We are very grateful to Clarin College Athenry and the principal, Ciaran Folan, for their enabling CoderDojo Athenry by making the school and its wifi available to us.

We are also very grateful for the sponsorship and support we have received this year:

  • Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board, who provide us with an annual Youth Club Grant
  • Medtronic, employer of our mentor Declan Fox, who provide us with a grant to match Declan’s excellent volunteering
  • HP Enterprise, employer of our mentor Mark Davis, who provide loaner laptops that we make great use of
  • Boston Scientific, employer of our mentor Kevin Madden, who provided us with a set of 3D printers this year, which allowed a great new learning experience

Because of these supports, no child or parent/guardian ever has to pay to participate in CoderDojo Athenry.

This year also, mentor Martha Fahy introduced a new idea, “Java Dojo”, where parents can buy a cup of tea/coffee, providing additional funds. With these, we have been able to buy a speaker system, electronics needed by some of our groups, and our own 3D printer! Thank you, our CoderDojo ninja sidekicks!

And of course we must thank our mentors, who volunteer their time and expertise entirely without charge week after week, to make CoderDojo Athenry the success that it is.

Here is the full list of belts we awarded:

  • Explorers:    44     (39 Yellow & 5 White)
  • Advancers:  18
  • Bodgers:     17
  • Hackers:      8
  • Creators:     5
  • Black Belt:   1

Special mention must go to Eoin Clarke, who received our first ever black belt award. Eoin has been in CoderDojo Athenry for several years, working his way up through the groups, and this year took on the role of Mentor. Well done, Eoin!

Above are some photos of the belts awarded. You can find more on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CoderDojoAthenry/posts/1465673366786859

CoderDojo Athenry is now closed for the summer. See you all in September!

Bodgers – Belts And Other News

Hi Everyone.

I haven’t posted here for a while as we’ve been working on projects for the past few months.

First of all I would like to congratulate the seventeen Bodgers who were awarded belts yesterday. It’s been a pleasure mentoring you and you are all welcome to return in September and spend another year with us in the Bodgers group.18673158_1465672443453618_5357526197824397574_o

I would like to thank Dave for helping me out with the group and thanks also to Alaidh who helped us up until Christmas.

Dave and I are already making plans for next year and we’re very excited about what we are going to do. Tune in next September when we will have more information.

In other news the CoderDojo Foundation and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have merged. I’m sure this will make very little difference to what we do day to day at CoderDojo Athenry, it may mean more resources will be available for us as a group involved in STEM activities. You can read more about it from CoderDojo here and from Raspberry Pi here.

Enjoy the summer and see you in September.

Declan

Bodgers – Reaction Game

reaction_bb.pngHi Everybody

This week we finished coding our Reaction Game. We then had Reaction Game tournament congratulations to Darragh our winner. I have a few slides from today which are available here reaction and you can also check out our code on Dropbox here.

For the next few weeks we will be building an Attendance/Clock In machine using our Laptops. You will need a version of Python 3, if you don’t have it installed you can download it from here.

See you all next week.

Bodgers – Robot Duels At CoderDojo Athenry

Hi Everyone

As part of the show and tell session the Bodgers group held a Robot Wars Style event. We used the two wheeled robots from last year controlled by Nintendo Wii Remotes.

If you want to build your own two wheeled robot you can check out my notes from last year here.

To control the robots using the Wiimote I followed Matt Hawkins Wiimote tutorial from here (If you have a Raspberry Pi 3 you can skip step 2 as Bluetooth is already working. Don’t forget step 3  install Python Cwiid). I then added the code to control the robot using GPIO Zero, you can get my code wii_robot.py here.

Happy Christmas everybody.

Bodgers –Getting Started with Your Own Raspberry Pi or Arduino

Hi Everybody

This Saturday the Bodgers group looked at some of the tools available to set up and use the Raspberry Pi or Arduino at home. We looked software for formatting SD Cards, some of the SD card images available for the Raspberry Pi, putting images on SD cards, configuring the Raspberry Pi and connecting to the Raspberry Pi.

We also did a quick overview of the Arduino IDE. This software allows us to write and upload software to the Arduino.

You can find the links to the software we used short tutorials on how to use them in my slides from Saturday here pi-and-arduino-tools.

We also took a look at the MagPi Magazine which is the official Raspberry Pi magazine. there are a load of interesting articles in the Christmas issue which is in the shops now or is available for download for free from https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi-issues/MagPi52.pdf . There are a few nice articles on basic stuff like breadboards and GPIO Zero and there are also some articles on robot sensors which anybody who wants to continue from where we left off with robots will find very interesting.

There is also news of a new programme from the Raspberry Pi Foundation which is aimed at kids that are around the same age as the Bodgers group. The Pioneers is a series of challenges that will roughly last the length of the school term and will be open-ended to allow you to come up with your own ideas. Unfortunately the competition is limited to the UK for now but it will be open to the rest of the world soon. Check out The MagPi for more information.

The MagPi needed to show some examples of what kids can make for the Pioneers article so obviously they looked to CoderDojo Athenry for inspiration :).    capture

Bodgers – BackTo Basics

Hi again everybody.

Over the last couple of Saturdays the bodgers group have been preparing to build our own circuits. Two weeks ago we looked at some of the theory behind electronics, how the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi work, how to use GPIO Zero the main Python module we will use and we watched some videos which explained how some of the components we will be using work together. Last Saturday we built some simple circuits.

The first circuit shown above uses GPIO pin 17 to light a LED and the second uses GPIO 2 to read from push button switch. Here are my slides from both sessions back-to-basics.

As we have only a short session next week and the Christmas party is the following week we will return to building circuits after the Christmas break.

Next week I will demonstrate some of the tools I use to set up the Raspberry Pi, this will include tools to format and write to SD cards and tools for finding the IP address of your Raspberry Pi. I will also do a very basic overview of the Arduino. So if you have or are hoping to get some hardware to experiment with at home this session shouldn’t be missed.

I will also talk about what looks like a cool new challenge from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

See you all next week.

Bodgers – Remote Controlled Robot With Webcam

Hi everybody, this week we changed from preprogrammed automated robots to remote-controlled robots. We converted our simple Pygame script from last week which controlled a small rectangle on our screens so it could control our robots.

As Pygame needs a screen to operate we had to get VNC going before we could start, I think we had it working for most people by the time the session ended. VNC will be a hugh advantage to us as we start to write more code as we can use a mouse and copy and paste with a GUI text editor instead of Nano on Putty.

We also added a webcam to our robots which worked well, we would probably need to work on mounting them properly if we wanted to use them for real life applications.

Here is a video of them in action.

I will go over the code again next week, if you want to take a look at the code check out pygame_robot.py and robot_cam.py here.

We will leave robots for a while and go back to basic electronics for the next few weeks.

 

Bodgers – Robots and Pygame

Sorry for the delay in posting, I’ve been very busy this week. Last Saturday we started the session by testing our robots on an obstacle course. Here is a video of them in action.

Then we had a quick look at Pygame which we will use to control our robots this week. If you missed last week don’t worry as I will do a recap tomorrow. Meanwhile here is a very good Pygame tutorial. Here are my slides from last week pygame-101.

Bodgers – Finishing Our Automonous Robots

bodgers

This week we worked on the function calls for our robot, however as most of the robots were low on battery power we didn’t get a chance to test them properly. I will have new batteries when we return on November 5th and we’ll spend a while running through the obstacle course. You can find code with the finished function calls on Dropbox.

We also talked about The Future Maker Awards which is a competition being run by CoderDojo and Liberty Global. I mentioned that you can use video as part of your entry this is an example of a video from Google Science Fair.

Here are my notes from last week obstacle-course.

See you all after the break. Happy Halloween.

 

Bodgers – Finishing Our Robot Functions

iconHi Everyone

This week we created our own folders on our Raspberry Pi3s, this will allow us to each find our own code and  keep working on it.

We finished off the code for our own robot functions which we will use to navigate an obstacle course next week. The finished code is available on Dropbox here. These are my slides from Saturday finished-functions.

After we are finished with the obstacle course we will look at controlling our robot from our keyboard. I will use Pygame to do this and as Pygame is used for Graphical applications such as games and GUIs we will have to use VNC to connect to our Pi3s. Pygame will also allow us to use a webcam to capture video so if you have an old USB webcam please bring it in.

CoderDojo and Liberty Global are due to launch the Future Maker Awards this week FAQ here and more information here scroll down to see how one of our Bodgers uses his super power. I’ll have more information next Saturday after the launch.

See you then.