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    Back in April, we challenged our element14 Community members to tell us about summer code club initiatives in their local communities. Whether through assisting in the setup of a brand new code club or working with an established group, our goal was to empower our members to pass on their coding and electrical engineering skills to the next generation.

     

    The response was overwhelming, and after much deliberation we are now pleased to announce the ten shortlisted applicants. These STEM champions hail from all over the world, volunteering their time and resources to ensure that all children have the tools to thrive in modern world.

     

    Each finalist will receive a micro:bit Club Pack and a batch of Kitronik Inventor Kits -  the latter kindly donated by our colleagues at Kitronik. Over the next few months, they will document their activities here on the element14 community as they set up and run their code clubs, using the equipment provided to create a full resource of projects and challenges for their students.

     

     

    In addition, at the end of the summer the participants will work with their students to develop a simple interactive game incorporating the micro:bit and Kitronik kits. A panel of judges will select one of these games for special recognition and an additional prize of 10x Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Starter Kits, to help them to take their coding classes to the next level. Two additional runners-up will receive a prize package consisting of micro:bit project and development kits from Binary Bots, Kitronik and more.

     

    Here are the ten successful applicants in their own words...

     

    Dr. Sujit Bhattacharya - Cambridge, United Kingdom

     

    We have been running the Cambourne Electronics and Robotics Club (CERC) in Cambridge with more than 100 kids registered in the age group of 7-14 years since September 2017. CERC meets every fortnight to perform various projects with BBC Micro:bit. The club is mentored by me with more than 30 years of experience in Electronics and having worked in leading space and defense organisations. We have beginners batch and advanced batch. The beginner batch carries on projects with Micro:bits and Makecode whereas the advanced batch is working on Micro:python. The advanced batch will gradually make use of Pi once they have got a good grip on Micro:python. The members of the club participated in FIRSTLEGO (Cambridgeshire champion), PiWars 2019 (Silver medal), Global Micro:bit competition and ESA's Zero Pi. The club has featured in local Newspaper and magazines.

     

    This summer code club challenge will infuse huge enthusiasm in the kids of the club and surely will be able to submit their own innovative projects. This will also bring in more kids from four primary schools and a secondary school that we have in our village.

     

    The club website (under development) is Dream Big – Be Different – Create – Enjoy!

     

    Nicoleta Cindea - Petrila, Romania

     

    We are First Line Petrila, a fresh coding club established at the public library from Petrila, a small ex mining town in Romania, Hunedoara county. There are 1 librarian, 2 ambassadors and 15 members in our club, aged between 9 – 13 years. We were born due to a project initiated by Progress Foundation, named “Code Kids – Copiii fac coding în bibliotecile publice” (“Code Kids – Children are coding in public libraries”). It is a long term program aiming to facilitate digital competence mastering for children living in rural and isolated urban backgrounds.

     

    Finding about this competition and the kit prize has made us very very elated! We are making our first steps into the wonder of coding universe and we are so eager to learn more! Winning this challenge would make our summer such an unforgettable one! We start dreaming and… planning! And… it was not only us who planned. We did it together with Wafy team – our town high school robotics team, these experienced high school youth will work together to us, the very beginners, for a whole summer! Please, let this happen!

     

    Our summer code club happy time will start on 15th of June 2019 and it ends on 30th of August 2019. We’ll continue our weekly meetings, fulfilling our Code Kids program tasks. Once a week, Wafy members will come to the library, our headquarters J and together, we’ll make, one by one, every experiment that The Kitronik Inventor's Kit and micro:bit Club pack provided to us.  And we can hardly wait to create our own game! We already have some games ideas but we wait to see the Kits and their functions. Certainly, we’ll create a great game!

     

    We are the best candidates for Summer Code Club Challenge because:

     

    • The public library is the perfect place for this code club service; it assures continuity – lots of children would benefit from these kits.
    • You would do a very good deed; our town is facing huge economic problems since the two mines were closed (more than 60% of our population worked in these mines) and there are no funds for the equipment we need to learn and to create robots. lots of youth and parents live their homes to work abroad for sustaining their families;
    • We are so eager to learn robotics science and we are very disciplined; We proved we are great despite the lack of resources; thanks to our results we caught the attention of informatics mentors of the University from Petrosani, a nearby town who are willing to teach us more, voluntarily.

     

    Thank you for this opportunity ! Good luck to all candidates.

     

    Carlos Iszak - London, United Kingdom

     

    I work for Urbanwise.London as education officer and this summer we are launching the ESTEEM club. ESTEEM stands for Environmental Science Technology Engineering Entrepreneurship and Maths. ESTEEM clubs aim to encourage children and young people to lean about the environment with an entrepreneurial perspective through hands-on practical STEM activities.

     

    We will work with children from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them learn new skills (coding, crafting, making, design thinking and prototyping) and work on projects with an environmental focus and citizen science ethos. We aim to foster STEM skills while learning about the local environment and developing ‘21st-century skills’ such as innovation, cooperation, creativity, critical thinking, communication, entrepreneurship, and resilience.

     

    During the program, participants will first develop basic skills (coding and crafting) and then will be presented with a series of projects with an environmental focus.  By the end of the program participants will then be challenged to invent for social and environmental good, to help them further develop their skills and confidence.  We aim to provide participants life-changing learning experiences to empower them to make the difference they want to see in their community using technology. We'll have 15 participants in our first project, aged 9-12 yo.

     

    Erik Leitner - Fort Lauterdale, USA

     

    Each summer I coordinate and facilitate the STEM program for our local ALIGN Camp, held at Fort Lauderdale High School in South Florida.  The goal is to take struggling 6-8th grade students who have never coded before through a 2 week crash course that culminates in a creation of a device for social good.  Some of what the students generate are truly amazing and I would love to incorporate these kits into my program. I will be working with approximately 200 students total throughout the summer.

     

    David Lockett - Florida, USA

     

    My name is David Lockett, Apple Teacher, and Microsoft Innovative Educator. I currently teach middle school CS, STEM, and Robotics. Around 2013 I started partnering with colleges, community centers, and innovation studios to provide non-profit STEM-based camps for students to prevent summer learning loss.

     

    The result? A Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) based program with 21st-century learning activities each day. At each weekly camp, children participate in themed enrichment activities. Students also use the engineering design process to ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve when it comes to various challenges of the week.

     

    Camp STEM brings CS, STEAM to life in new, different and fun ways. We host programs in Florida and Tennessee and have recently partnered with educational programs in Chile and South Africa. We plan on running coding clubs each week this summer with a new group of students benefiting each week. Camp STEM serves roughly 100 students in grades K-8 each week throughout the summer months of June to August. We plan on integrating computer science and coding projects that will reinforce unique learning opportunities and provide a plethora of challenges and opportunities for children that may otherwise not have the opportunity.

     

    I strongly believe we would be good candidates as our non-profit programs are open to all students., provide hands-on instruction and incorporate authentic instruction for various programming languages. The focus on learning to inspire with micro:bit through hands-on computing with a physical device gives them something extra.

     

    Gus Merckel - State Puebla, Mexico

     

    I'm Gus Merckel, Programme Director at Jacaranda Education, an NGO that works with 21st Century Learning and Maker Ed. We are also Growth Leaders from the Code Club Foundation.

     

    This summer we are planning to work with an indigenous community called Yohualichan, in the Northern Sierra from State Puebla.

    The community used to have a computer center but someone robbed the computers and now they are doing a Kickstarter campaign to get new equipment.


    Our NGO managed to get 10 Raspberry Pi Kits for them to work and we plan to go there in the summer to do a "Tech Camp", but we still need the equipment to do physical computing and basic electronics.

     

    The sequence of workshop would be something like this:

    • Mon-Tue: Set up the computer lab based on Pi (as we have done in the past: https://youtu.be/GTVSzOGnlsI)
    • Wed-Thur: Basic introduction to Code Club and Micro:bit.

     

    The school will host a weekly Code Club in return for the donations, which will serve as the only Internet/Computer spot of the whole community. We already work with the local teachers and some community leaders on the site, we are only missing equipment and arrange the logistics

     

    Thank you so much for this efforts, the world really needs this type of initiatives,

     

    Marco Morello - Perugia, Italy

     

    We are located in Perugia, an ancient town in the center of Italy (the region is UMBRIA, also called THE GREEN HEART OF ITALY). We recently started a collaboration with a local store that sells sewing machines. They do courses for moms and people that want to learn to sew. They also sell fabrics and other stuff related to sewing. They are opened to start a project dedicated to kids where we create wearable technology and they help us to insert into dresses (or things like bags, laptops' custodies, pillows and so on).

     

    I was thinking about small electronic components to insert in our work.

     

    Kids will design and program the cards and our partners will insert it into a real object to wear.

     

    If we will so lucky to receive the cards before the first half of July, we will use it in the CoderDojo activity (I am the champion of the CoderDojo) for the FIRST MAN ON THE MOON anniversary, that we will celebrate in our official dojo July 20th.

     

    Our summer camp will be dedicated to 2 different groups:
    - children 5/9 yo and their moms (max 8)

    - kids from 10 to 13 y.o. (max 12)

     

    The first group will be guided in creating programming by us. The second group will be autonomous in programming (they will be ninjas from our CoderDojo)

     

    Ashutosh Pandey - Bangalore, India

     

    Many students start college in India without any background in computer science, particularly students from poor and underprivileged communities. They struggle through subjects in college such as basic C programming and Micro-controllers, because their fellow students have already learnt these subjects at a private school (Which are too expensive for them).

     

    I am a 21 year old 2nd year engineering student from the same college, and I've worked in an Aero design team that also conducts workshops for students.

     

    I would like to start this community within the college campus, with school kids (There are many government schools nearby). The student strength is well over a thousand, so i will be looking to run a modest, manageable club of 50-75 students.

     

    I myself have experience working with Micro-controllers and Single Board computers, (Arduino, Attiny, Raspberry pi, NodeMCU)  I've implemented my designs in a couple of Backathons and have won them. Should I need support I have friends who would be more than willing to help me out.

     

    I also have experience writing blogs, so I will make sure my submissions for the same are top notch. Here is a link to my blog (Mostly about science and technology) : https://sapience2017.wordpress.com/

     

    Julian Rendell - British Columbia, Canada

     

    Hi everyone - where ever these kits go, they're going to be put to good use!

     

    In our case, should we be selected, they'd be coming to Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. We are already planning two summer code & build camps for 8+ year olds, which will include using Microbits. These kits would let us further explore what can be done with MicroBits - especially if we have enough to distribute them around a physical space. I think there's real potential to make some sort of augmented reality game/experience!

     

    Our camps will be for up to 8 participants at a time, and last a week. But having access to some more 'bits would allow us to also create some more informal 1-2 hour sessions on Saturdays; and these sessions would be all ages- there are a lot of adults, and retirees who are interested, but more scared than kids are to try their hand at programming and electronics. It's super fun watching someone discover a new way to play and imagine. Microbits are so easy and friendly that they're a great starting point for explorers of all ages! Our Saturday sessions are sometimes a bit hectic (up to 25 participants), but typically are more manageable with around 10 people participating.

     

    There are is also a brand new makerspace (SparQ) on a nearby island - the grand opening is next Wednesday - and another about an hour away; in principle more microbits might allow us to share our kits when we're not using the microbits ourselves. We would also be willing and able to do some remote mentoring thanks to videoconferencing and that all the code is in the cloud. This would be a stretch goal; we've done some remote sessions with one of the spaces. But I'd love a good reason to stretch the technology we have further! (And it presumes that they would be interested, and be able to find staff/volunteers to put on sessions. All TBD!)

     

    I have a fairly broad background and tend to set up sessions with a general goal, and supporting reference material, but encourage participants to come up with their own projects. And then we start building and exploring.

     

    If we were to be selected, the supporting material and information will be well documented, and made available to the community. Here's an example: Micro:Bit Creatures - creating a kinetic scene with Micro:Bits

     

    Thanks to Element14 for creating these opportunities to help facilitate people of all ages to discover electronics and explore technology and engineering!

     

    Melissa Wrenchey - Washington, USA

     

    The student advisors from the STEM Reach program at Tesla STEM High School would love to hold a fun summer camp for students to learn about Microcontrollers. They have a passion for introducing younger children to STEM fields and have held camps working with micro:bit for the past few years. The goal of this camp is to introduce the idea that programming can be fun and accessible for all through coding games and interactive robots using micro:bit and cardboard.  We estimate approximately 20 students will come to our camp over the summer.

     

    We think we would be a good candidate for this program because we truly believe in spreading the knowledge we have about STEM. We have seen that many people do not get introduced to STEM until they are in high school, and that significantly affects their career choices and their levels of interest in programming over time. We have seen firsthand the level of excitement that these students feel when they see their robots move for the first time and we want to hold this camp as a way to expose these students to the STEM fields at a younger age, helping them see how these ideas can affect their day-to-day lives.

     

    Congratulations to all of the shortlisted applicants, a massive thank you to everybody who applied and stay tuned for more developments!