Thursday, 20 February 2014

Some links to interesting resources

Ok a "lazy" post of curated links.

Pair Programming

There still doesn't seem to be as much buzz at the moment for the UK version of An Hour of Code as the original US one. I'm not sure why. However I was looking at the site and came across this link on there to information on Pair Programming. On the UK Hour of Code site they suggest using it in the following situation:

  • "Don't have enough devices? Use pair programming. When students partner up, they help each other and rely less on the teacher. They’ll also see that computer science is social and collaborative."

However as Alan O'Donohoe will tell you (and mentions usually in his podcast) pair programming is of use even when you do have enough devices (that's computers to you and me) for learning programming. So if you haven't given pair programming a go! I hope after reading the information linked to you will feel inspired to give it a go.

Raspberry Pi, USB 360 Controller and a USB Robotic Arm

At the CAS meeting earlier this month I was having a conversation about how a couple of students of mine last year (back then year 1 level 3's) were thrown in the deep end with a project. They were basically given a USB Robotic Arm (got mine from Maplin - usually about £40 but often a lot cheaper because they do get put on promotion reducing the price), a Raspberry Pi and a USB XBox360 game controller and told try and get these working together. The two students hadn't seen a Pi before, and not used Linux, didn't know Python. Yet over a period of three weeks, coming in on a Friday (a day they were not required to be in college) they got it working. The two students found tutorials on the web to help them. Which at the time happened to be the ones I had also found. And there is my secret. I had already before giving the students the challenge researched how to do it, to make sure it was possible, and also to make sure there was the information out there to help them. I didn't want to give them an impossible project, just a challenging one.

Anyway there is a point to this not so short story, I was asked for the links to the information. My response I said I would put them on here to share. So here are the two links:

Matt Dyson robot arm article

PyUSB for the Raspberry Pi

After finishing the project the students then got to show it off at our STEM Fair, and I have used it at open days since. The two students can be proud of what they achieved, I am.


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