September in Twickenham

It’s been a couple of weeks now since we hosted our most recent Coding Evening in Twickenham and I’m still reeling from how amazing it was!

Firstly, our venue, The Stokes and Moncreiff in Twickenham, had been renovated courtesy of Coca Cola for the Rugby World Cup and so the room we usually use was brighter and more inviting than usual; the whole atmosphere of the pub felt more upbeat and welcoming!

Secondly, we were joined by PiTop, who not only had their recently finished PiTop laptop ready to show us, they brought along a sample of their newest product, a Raspberry Pi monitor and case which reminded me of an iMac for some reason. They also demo-ed a cool eighties-style RPG to learn command line, which was pretty fun and would appeal massively to children (quite a few of the adults were keen to give it a go too). We were pretty lucky to have a chance to have a play with both their products and are looking forward to seeing them at our Coding Evening Special at Mozilla this week!

Most excitingly, the generous pirates at Pimoroni offered to buy attendees their first drink, which meant that everyone could enjoy a relaxing beverage without breaking the bank – for some reason this seemed to appeal to a lot of the teachers in the room who were really happy to relax with a pint (of coke of course…honest). Thank you pirates, we are so, so grateful for all of your support!

The atmosphere in the room was best described as excitable, as we saw guests ranging from complete novices, to Python software gurus. We were pleased to welcome CAS Regional Coordinator for London, Jane Waite, three graduates from the recent Skycademy held at the Raspberry Pi Foundation in Cambridge along with a host of new attendees; September turned out to be our most successful evening yet and we’re excited about our upcoming special event in Mozilla now. Keep an eye out for some special announcements soon about this upcoming sell out events as well as some future events and more Coding Evenings around the country.



Special Guests at Coding Evenings

We are so lucky to get so many fantastic volunteers who give up their time to help out at Coding Evenings and the next few events are no different!

So on that note, we are pleased to announce the following special guests at forthcoming Coding Evenings:

At Peterborough Coding Evening on Tuesday 22nd September, organisers of CamJam and Raspberry Pi gurus Tim Richardson and Michael Horne along with co-author of Adventures in Minecraft, David Whale.

At Twickenham Coding Evening on Thursday 24th September, Python and Pygame guru, Tim Golden, Active Lit creator Alex Warren and arduino expert Ben Dornan along with regular guests and ever willing all star volunteers Richard Hayler, Nic Hughes and Marc Grossman.

At our special event at Mozilla for Code Week EU, we are excited to welcome both Fuze and PiTop with demos of their hardware for using Raspberry Pi in the classroom, as well as Code Club London Coordinator Dan Elwick.

We’re really excited that so many people are willing to give up their free time to help support us all with the teaching of coding in the UK and hope to see lots of you there!



Coding Evening – Code Week Special Event

We are pleased to be able to announce that we will be hosting a special Coding Evening in Mozilla HQ, London for Code Week EU on Thursday 15th October. This will be an excellent opportunity for existing members of both Coding Evening Twickenham Coding Evening Peterborough to come together & meet as well as for anyone interested in running their own Coding Evening to meet us and get a better idea of how a Coding Evening works.

Don’t forget we have both a Twickenham and Peterborough evening coming up in September too!

We’re really exciting to have this opportunity to meet somewhere as special as Mozilla and we really hope you can join us!




First Peterborough Coding Evening

July 7th 2015…. #CodingEvening

In the year since we graduated #Picademy my fellow graduate @CatLamin has been super busy. Amongst all the amazing stuff she does in our community Cat organises the Twickenham Coding Evening. Cat’s initiative was to set up a relaxed, informal environment in which educators and local community members interested in programming and the new Computing curriculum could come together for a pint and some food, support, networking and resource sharing. as you can imagine the evening was a huge hit. Cat has now organised four events since January 2015 and other members of the Coding and Education communities are starting to contact her about setting up their own (follow the link above if you’re interested) including me!

Peterborough’s first Coding Evening took place on July 7th 2015. I reserved out an area of a local pub and we turned it into Geekdom! Our gathering included local teachers, TA’s, potential school volunteers and members of the local community.

We were also extremely lucky to have the lovely @Geeky_Tim who is one of orgaisers of @CambridgeJam and also the wonderful @WhaleyGeek who co-authored Adventures in Minecraft and had spent all day with the BBC releasing the BBCMicrobit. We were also lucky enough that he brought along a flip the egg frying pan game that used the Microbit (except I kept calling it a MicroBOT because I’ve been studying Big Hero 6 with my English class).

Tim brought along Raspberry Pi’s and HDMI-Pi’s and we had people involved in Minecraft and trying to program RGB LED’s through Scratch. A couple of people went away with a lent out Pi kit on the proviso that they have to come back with it and show us something cool they have managed to do. Discussion was flowing around the new curriculum and what resources people are using and having started at 4.30 those of us that were still going strong at 8pm sat down to get some food. The evening was a great success and as a result I will be running one every two months which seemed to be a regularity that everyone agreed on. So if you’re in or around the Peterborough area please contact me @digitaldivageek (Twitter) or digitaldivageek@geektools.com and come along!

“Really well organised amnd resourced – I had wondered whether we might be sitting around in a circle saying “Errrr…”, but it wasfar too well planned for that to happen!….Re-inspired to play with the RPi!”

Join us for our second coding evening here.


Twickenham Coding Evening July AKA the furnaces of hell

The July Coding Evening was set for July 1st, which turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far and the hottest July day on record…good. The upshot of this was that a number of new & existing guests got stuck in heavy traffic or non moving trains, or else quite simply just went home to sit in front of a fan (which a huge part of me wished I could do too). Add to that that the leader of our planned soldering activity was called away for a family emergency and I was a little bit anxious before we started.

I needn’t of been – the evening was another huge success with the amazing Richard Hayler coming to the rescue and taking charge of soldering in spite of the heat (along with his first student, Nic Hughes, who was eager to share his new knowledge with his next victim…er, I mean student). Marc Grossman had his Makey Makey on hand and Jon Coop brought along a PiCamera set up that he was eager to demonstrate to everyone.

There was a good selection of new faces, mostly teachers, one of whom was desperate to get a volunteer to help out with her SEBD children at the local college and her luck was in when one of the volunteers mentioned his apprentice, also a student at the same college, who would love to help out! Success – one very happy teacher.

Overall, the evening was another fun one, albeit quieter than usual and, once again, everyone was eager to share and discuss what they were doing in schools. It was a great community atmostphere and I can’t wait until the new term starts to host another evening!

Our next Twickenham meetup will be on 24th September (after we’ve all been on an adventure to PyconUK in Coventry, which is fantastic CPD if you can get there). Sign up here.