Families Enjoy Hands-on Day of Developing Digital Skills at Second CAFÉ Family Digital Making Event

Posted: July 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm

After a successful pilot event in March, the second CAFÉ Family Digital Makers Day took place on Saturday 16th July featuring an exciting schedule of robotics and coding workshops. The event was held at the new Creative and Digital Centre at The Sheffield College Hillsborough Campus with modern performance spaces and high tech studios.

CAFÉ (Computing as a Family Experience) is a programme training Student Ambassadors from six Sheffield Secondary Schools in digital making, covering App development, open data, Raspberry Pi and robotics. Once trained, 90 Student Ambassadors cascade their computing knowledge, enthusiasm and skills to pupils in 18 connected primary schools and their families. The Saturday event was an extension of the programme, connecting young people and their families from all areas of Sheffield to engage in digital making.

Mike Garnock-Jones, from Sheffield City Council’s Lifelong Learning and Skills team, who leads the CAFÉ project, opened the event and welcomed guests to the day. Families were also provided with information, hints and tips on the wide range of digital making activities and computing careers in Sheffield, before heading off to the hands-on workshops.

The workshops varied from beginner to intermediate and were suited to a range of ages, everybody including parents was able to get involved with some hands on coding and robotics. Some engaged in programming a robotic arm with Sheffield Robotics, whilst others tried their hand at turning recycled materials into Agobo robots, using Bluetooth controllers to control them. A workshop for beginners was also on offer where participants learnt to code their own Code Bug, a programmable piece of wearable technology.

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Mike Garnock-Jones was extremely pleased with the success of the event, “As with our March event the atmosphere was really positive and it was great to see so many families working together on digital projects and having fun.”

“There is clearly a significant appetite for more events like these in school and out of school in Sheffield, as we discovered at our first event in March. These events have unearthed significant interest from children aged seven upwards, wanting to improve and learn more digital skills. We now aim to make these events a regular feature throughout the academic year.”

There were also workshops for more experienced coders and makers which included using a Raspberry Pi with Minecraft, building on their Python skills with UTC Sheffield, and a digital imaging workshop using Photoshop with The Sheffield College. All workshops saw families having fun working together whilst improving their digital skills.

One attendee commented, “The day was amazing, I enjoyed learning how to create digital images and code a Code Bug! I can’t wait for the next event.”

Parents also found the day to be enjoyable and one commented, “It’s great to see coding languages such as Python being taught at this event which is something I haven’t experienced at other similar coding days. We all learned something new.”

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Attendees were encouraged to carry on developing their skills ready to enter Sheffield’s annual Digital Making competition, CODE>MAKE>WIN, which is open to 9-19 year olds across the city. The competition offers cash prizes to winners and has a series of bonus prizes sponsored by local businesses, including Benchmark Recruitment, Can Studios and Barclays. The 2016 run of the competition has just come to an end, and will re-start for 2017 in November. You can keep up to date with the latest news and find more information about the competition at: www.codemakewin.org.uk.

To hear about the next CAFÉ Family Digital Makers Day and other similar events, and be first to hear about CODE>MAKE>WIN 2017,  please sign up to our mailing list here.

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