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Michael West

CoderDojo Toronto – March 10th, 2019: Wrap-up

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In celebration of International Women’s day, CoderDojo held a Learn to Code event on March 10th, 2019. It was a great success with 14 learners attending. The theme for International Women’s Day was Balance for Better to create a gender-balanced world. If the attendance of the event is any indication, we have a good foundation for that in the next generation of coders.

This event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the mentors as well as Bitmaker General Assembly, who provide us with a place to run our CoderDojo events.

During the event

Learners working on Scratch projects

This event was a Learn to Code event, which had 3 workshops. A getting started with Scratch workshop, a Twine workshop and an intro to HTML/CSS workshop. Scratch and Twine were held in the main room, and Twine was held in the workshop room. There were many students being introduced to programming through Scratch and some learning the basics of how to build a web page in HTML/CSS. Several people joined in the Twine workshop

Scratch is a great intro to programming tool as games, interactive animations, and stories can be constructed easily with scripts being ‘snap-together’. International Women’s Day themed resources were available to help learners build stories and animations. Several learners made use of these, while others constructed their own fantastic Scratch projects.

Learners working on Twine projects

Twine is great for interactive ‘Choose-your-own-adventure’ style stories. Your story can have multiple paths, but also have a more programmatic flavor to really make the storied tailored to not only the readers choices of the story path. The learners taking the Twine workshop learned the basics of creating Twine stories, and started to create their stories.

Showcase

At the end of the session several of the learners presented their work in the showcase. The first project is called Find the dot-game. The player has to find and click on the orange ball on the screen with increasing numbers of other colored balls moving on the screen at the same time. Each time the player clicks on the orange ball, they finish the level, which increases the difficulty level by putting more moving balls on the screen.

Learner explaining their project

The second project presented during the showcase was a project in Scratch, which is an animation about Rosa Parks, who was an activist during the civil rights movement in the USA. The Scratch project is a story with 4 scenes, showing the major scenes in her story. The story has a narrator who tells the major points of the story, as well as dialogue that details some of the events Rosa was a part of.

Learners talking about their Rosa Parks Scratch project

Lots of fun and learning was done by everybody. If you couldn’t make this event, this month CoderDojo is also running a Kids Drop-in Coding workshop on the 17th. There will be another event in April. Stay tuned for details.

CoderDojo Toronto – March 17th, 2019

By | Uncategorized

T-800 Terminator from the Terminator movies. It probably wasn’t programmed in Python

While you are busy celebrating International Womens Day with us tomorrow at Bitmaker, don’t forget to start thinking about what you are going to do at our regular Coderdojo Kids Coding Club event that is being held on March 17th, 2019. We didn’t put all the excitement into our IWD Learn to Code event. This month, in addition to the regular drop-in lab, we are exploring the Python language in our workshop.

Python is a fantastic language to learn. It is very easy to write and has English like syntax. It can be used to build many different types of programs, from web servers to games. Right now it is a very popular language used by Data Scientists and other types of Data Analysts. They use it to process their data to help them understand and solve complex problems.

Python has been around for a long time so there is a large list of libraries you can use to help create your project. These can be fairly simple things like Tweepy, which helps you connect to Twitter and get tweets. Or really complex things like OpenCV (Open Computer Vision) which you can use to build vision for your robot, or anti squirrel bird feeder defenses (the full, very technical, “how it was done” presentation is here). This is just a taste of some of the things you can do with Python. But don’t worry, we are starting with the basics, so you won’t be building a Terminator just yet.

Register

The event is free and being held at Bitmaker at 220 King Street West on the 2nd Floor, starting from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. To attend, please register at Eventbrite.

What is happening?

This event will have a Drop-in Lab, and the workshop will focus on learning Python.

Drop-in Lab

Bring your own ideas, or use our project guides that are available for all skill levels. Everybody works at their own pace with help from the Mentors. Available activities for our drop-in sessions are:

  • Scratch – creating interactive stories or games (beginner, ages 6-10, minimal typing)
  • Web Development – make your own website or application (intermediate, ages 10+, typing skills required)
  • Arduino – learn hardware program with this easy-to-program circuit board (intermediate, ages 10+, typing skills required)
  • Something else? – tell us what you’d like to learn! Let one of the mentors know what you have in mind, and they will assist you with finding resources

Python

An image of Python Turtle with a script and visual design

Python Turtle with a script

The Python workshop will be run by CoderDojo TO Chapter Champion, Tyler, to learn Python using Trinket and Turtley, which allows you to create Python in a web browser (usually you need to have to install lots of stuff). This makes it very easy to play around and get comfortable with Python. The workshop will use Python Turtle, which is a Python version of the old (1967) educational language Logo. Logo uses a ‘Turtle’ which you can move around the screen and draw lines and shapes. Python Turtle programs can be very complex and you can make interesting artwork programatically.

Everybody will be encouraged to be as creative as possible with their designs and shapes. There will also be plenty of examples that you can work from to make something that looks really amazing!

Things to Remember

  • Kids coding drop-in lab, ages 8 – 17 only
  • Bring Your Own Laptop or Android Device
  • All skill levels welcome
  • Bring your own ideas or use our kid-friendly resources
  • Adult accompaniment required at all times
  • Bring a snack, but remember that we are a Peanut-Free environment
  • Have Fun!

If you have any questions, please email toronto@coderdojo.ca

CoderDojo Toronto – March 10th, 2019: International Women’s Day

By | Monthly Event

The countdown is on! In 7 days we will be having a special CoderDojo Toronto Learn to Code event on March 10th in celebration of International Women’s Day 2019. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Balance for Better” to work towards building a better gender balance in the world. This is a special CoderDojo Toronto event in March that is running in addition to the regular CoderDojo Toronto events that normally run on the 3rd Sunday of the month.

Hedy Lamarr in Come Live With Me trailer

Hedy Lamarr

Women have made significant contributions to technology which often go uncelebrated. Ada Lovelace, generally considered to be the first computer programmer during the 1840’s when the very first mechanical computers were being conceived. Or Hedy Lamarr, an Austrian/American movie star and inventor who developed frequency hopping radio transmissions, a technology still used today. More recent contributions by people like Dr. Lisa Su, an electrical engineer known for her work on Semi-conductor design, the building blocks of CPUs, who is the CEO and President of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) a large CPU, Graphics and Semiconductor company.

These are just a few more well know contributions from individual women. There were many women who contributed just as much without anywhere near the recognition. For instance the women who made up the majority of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park trying to crack the Enigma code during WWII. Or the women who made up the human computers and programmers at NASA during the space race.
This special CoderDojo TO event will focus on the contributions of women to technology through creating a game, story, or webpage about a woman who inspires you.

Register

The event is free and being held at Bitmaker at 220 King Street West on the 2nd Floor, starting from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. To attend, please register at Eventbrite.

What is happening?

At this event there are 3 technologies that will be focused on to build games and stories. Scratch, Twine, and HTML/CSS.

Scratch

Who uses ScratchIn the main area, we will be working on Scratch to build a story or game with material about a woman that inspires you.

There will be lots of ideas on what you can make and resources to get started. Mentors will be in the room to help out. Scratch is a great tool to get your feet wet in coding as it allows you to very easily create interactive stories games, and animations with all the code built with drag and drop blocks.

Scratch is web based, so all the Scratch projects you make will be available from anywhere to work on them or share them. Scratch is a great to get even for adults to get a basic understanding of programming. For more information on Scratch go to http://scratch.mit.edu

Twine

Twine LogoThere will be a special workshop run by CoderDojo TO mentor, Karen, doing storytelling with two main topics: women in STEM and women role models. Twine will be used to create interactive storytelling games. Twine is a great start to any coder’s journey into programming, as it teaches event-based logic and conditionals. Typing is required, but don’t worry, as we will pair learners up with mentors to help facilitate typing and idea generation for the stories.

Everybody will be encouraged to be as creative as possible in building their stories, whether they’re about a woman super hero, women they respect and admire, or about themselves make record-breaking achievements in the future! Guardians are welcome to participate as well.

For more information about Twine, please visit: http://twinery.org/

HTML/CSS

A second workshop will be run by CoderDojo TO Chapter Champion, Les, building a website around the theme of International Women’s day. HTML and CSS is a great place to start if you want to build anything web related. HTML and CSS form the basis of anything you want to display in a web browser. HTML provides the content, and CSS provides the styling. Once you have HTML and CSS under your belt, you can later move onto to building something interactive on your web page using JavaScript.

There are many ways you can go about building a web page, but a great resource to use is Mozilla Thimble. Which allows you to build and publish your webpage.

Things to Remember

  • Kids coding drop-in lab, ages 8 – 17 only
  • Bring Your Own Laptop or Android Device
  • All skill levels welcome
  • Bring your own ideas or use our kid-friendly resources
  • Adult accompaniment required at all times
  • Bring a snack, but remember that we are a Peanut-Free environment
  • Have Fun!

If you have any questions, please email toronto@coderdojo.ca

See you there and don’t forget to wear something purple!