Chris Napier, Newcastle University
mBlock (http://www.mblock.cc/) is a free, extensible version of Scratch with blocks for connecting to and programming the Arduino (https://www.arduino.cc/) electronics platform. We have used it successfully for robotics workshops with children from KS2 upwards. It provides an accessible introduction to physical computing using a programming environment familiar to primary schools students. It also converts Scratch programs to their equivalent in C++. Therefore, it can also be useful for transition from block based to text based programming in secondary. All with the immediacy of feedback, lessons in experimentation and debugging and engagement that are the hallmarks of physical computing.
This is a hands-on workshop that will give you the opportunity to use mBlock with Makeblock robots and enable you to explore the potential of programming with Arduinos more generally.
Chris Napier's biography
Chris Napier is in the final year of his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Newcastle University.
During his time at the University Chris has been active member of the School of Computing Science outreach team and has also led a programme of code clubs for the Student Union's computing society (NUCATS).
Chris is due to embark on a PhD in computing education with the School and will continue as a member of the outreach team.
Relevant Key Stages: KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5
Room: BSTC G.36 - seminar room 3, ground floor, Barbara Strang Teaching Centre
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