Skip to main content

Code Club Session 2 - Witch-whacking

Screenshot of a completed CodeClub 'Whack-a-Witch' project

The second session of CodeClub at St. Berndette's Primary School in Milton Keynes took place yesterday. We managed to sort out most of the technical problems so things got started a lot quicker this time.  As planned, the children spent the first half of the session finishing off their 'Felix and Herbert' games, with those that finished early helping their friends.  There was also a lot of 'tweaking' going on to the scoring code, sprite costumes and sounds - which was great because it made the children really feel that they'd created their own personal version of the game.

Once everyone had completed the first project, we moved on to the next worksheet - the 'Whack-a-Witch' project.  This time I just handed out the worksheets and let them go at it.  Now that they were familiar with the Scratch interface and got the hang of using the colours to help them find different program blocks, everyone found it quite straightforward to follow the instructions.  We only had about 15 minutes left, but everyone had got their Witch to move backwards and forwards across the stage and quite a few had got her appearing and disappearing randomly.  The only tricky bit was making sure everyone declared their variables as 'only for this sprite', so that we could avoid having to do lots of rework later.

We ended the session with a short Q&A / reflection session about what the children have enjoyed so far, what they've found difficult and what they've learned.  They've all enjoyed making their own games and most of the initial difficulties have been to do with finding their way around the Scratch interface.  However, everyone who mentioned this also indicated that they are now finding it much easier and could point to how quickly they've progressed with the second project as evidence of this.

My plan for next week is to start with a little reflection on the program they've built so far - particularly the idea of using variables, scoping and the use of random numbers.  This should help them understand what's going on and hopefully as a result they will all be able to do the 'Challenge' activities on the worksheet as well.   Both the sessions so far have gone really well and it is great to see the kids are really excited about what they're doing.  Running these sessions every Wednesday is fast becoming a highlight of my week!
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Visual programming for 'wiring' the Internet of Things

There is a proliferation of devices being developed to form the building blocks of the Internet of Things (IoT), from Internet-connected power sockets and light bulbs to kettles, toasters and washing machines. However, to realise the full potential of the IoT, it will be necessary to allow these devices to interconnect and share data with each other to deliver the functionalities required by end-users. In recent research on end-user programming for the IoT, my colleagues Pierre Akiki, Yijun Yu and myself have proposed the notion of Visual Simple Transformations (ViSiT), that provides a visual programming paradigm for users to wire together IoT devices. The video above shows a demonstration of the ViSiT solution and full details of the approach will appear in an upcoming special issue of the ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (ToCHI).

This work is highlighted in a recent IEEE Software Blog: Empowering Users to Build IoT Software with a Puzzle-like Environment and full deta…

Privacy-by-Design Framework for Internet of Things Systems

IOT-2016 7-9 September, 2016, Stuttgart, Germany from Charith Perera
Recent DDoS attacks on key internet services, like the attack that affected the Dyn domain name service, highlighted the security challenges associated with the proliferation of insecure Internet of Things (IoT) systems.  This attack exploited common vulnerabilities like the use of default administration passwords on IoT devices such as internet-enabled CCTV cameras, internet-enabled appliances and smart home devices, to recruit over hundreds of thousands of nodes into a botnet.   This capability highlights the cyber security threats associated with the IoT and brings into sharp relief the importance of considering both security and privacy when designing these systems.

In recent work, presented at the Internet of Things Conference, we describe a privacy-by-design framework for assessing the privacy capabilities of IoT applications and platforms.  Building on more general design strategies for privacy in informaiton …

Are we losing the Internet Security battle?

I was recently invited by Heimdal Security to take part in an expert roundup, with the theme of "Is Internet Security a Losing Battle?".  The main thrust of my answer was to question our use of analogies of conflict in the context of Internet Security or cyber security.  As I said in my response:
"... in this context the metaphors of conflict, such as ‘war’ and ‘battle’ are unhelpful because they suggest that internet security is the responsibility of the technologists who act our defensive force against attackers.   Instead, as has been argued by technology activists like Cory Doctorow and others we might have more success by thinking of cyber security using the analogy of public health and communicable diseases.   By using this analogy, we make cyber security issues more relevant to people and spur them to gain a better understanding that, like diseases, any of us can be afflicted by a cyber security attack.  We can also adopt an analogous approach for handling cyber …