Free: Code Cards >>>
This is freely available and easy to install on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
python 3 installers
Win a Treasure Chest at BETT
The huge educational BETT show takes place at the ExCel centre in London next week. Cambridge University Press have hired me my own Coding Club pod. If you are attending, please make sure you head over to the STEAM Village and introduce yourself. Obviously I will be showing off the Coding Club resources and explaining how to use them in a classroom environment but I will also be available to talk about any of the Press's Computing resources including their popular Computer Science IGCSE materials both digital and otherwise.
To encourage you to come over we have a digital take on the "guess the number of sweets in a jar" competition. We literally have a Treasure Chest for you to win, in fact it is a Mega Treasure Chest containing all 14 Flotilla modules enabling you to build amazing electronic creations with your Raspberry Pi in a friendly plug and play environment.
I will also have a few Code Card pocket books which I will be selling at a special BETT price of £1.50.
All titles now available on Elevate
Fantastic news! As promised, all four Programming books in the series are now available at the prices shown below on the Cambridge Elevate Platform. I am very grateful to my friends in Cambridge for working so hard on these and hitting this deadline.
New Affordable School Editions
Great news for schools! For the cost of less than 20 paper books, ALL your students can now have access to the Coding Club books as enhanced school edition e-books on Cambridge University Press's brand new Elevate platform for a full year. This means no more managing class sets, no more worrying about how to ensure the students all have the same edition and no more worrying if they have remembered to bring their copy of a text in from home!
Although we have worked hard to keep the cost of the paper books down, I have become increasingly aware that for schools buying class sets of all the books can be costly. I am really pleased to be able to announce that the pricing for these editions is now great value:
1 title: £100 + VAT
2 titles: £180 + VAT
3 titles: £250 + VAT
4 title: £300 + VAT
Now you can ensure that all students can easily access any of the books at any time allowing proper differentiation. The books are all being released over the next few months with all four being available by the ned of January. Don't forget to look at the new curriculum map for teachers to see how the series can be used to deliver the majority of the KS3 National Curriculum.
To find your CUP sales rep and express an interest visit here:
Black Flag book and website live
The fantastic Black Flag book by Matt Langley has been out for a couple of weeks now. The accompanying website, where you can join the Anarchists hacking and coding along with the characters while guided by Danni, is now also up and running. Meanwhile take a moment to read Matt's blog about how this project all came about.
Don't forget to add the book to your Christmas list - it is guaranteed to fit in your Christmas stocking!
A First Coding Club Mission
Here is a sneak peak of some fantastic news. In September Coding Club will be releasing a Coding Novel! This is a fantastic adventure written by Matt Langley. It can be read, in its own right, as a normal book but for the full experience there will be a companion website that will go live at the same time where readers will be able to register and start their training as an agent.
All the tools that the characters have available to them in the novel will also be available to readers who register on the companion website and, uniquely, readers will have the chance to try and solve the same coding problems the characters face!
More info as we get nearer to publication date. In the meantime you can already pre-order from amazon if you want to make sure to get a copy as soon as it is out. If the price drops you are guaranteed to get it for the cheapest price available.
Python Programming Art out now
Finally a level 1 supplement book joins the series. For those of you who have finished Python Basics and want to learn about how to create Art with a computer, we have just the thing for you. While learning to control a turtle you get the chance to practise all the things you learnt about in Python Basics. Then on to the main project where a fantastic Art App is built. Here you learn how to add background images, how to add keyboard and button control to your graphical programs, plus have a lot of fun.
As usual the code is carefully but succinctly explained as you go along and so, by the end, you are able to completely hack all the programs and make them look and do just what you want them to.
Sam joins the team!
The Coding Club is going from strength to strength: more children are joining the club and no one ever misses any of the week-end sessions! This of course makes Mr Campbell fantastically happy but he is also very pleased that he now has a new helper. Sam features for the first time in Python: Programming Art which is being published at the end of April and going through its final production process at the moment.
Sam is a secondary ICT and Computer Science teacher who runs a coding club at her school for 11-14 year olds. She definitely knows her stuff as she also teaches the A level Computer Science course. Sam has already brought some great new ideas to the club and the children adore her.
When she is not coding and teaching, Sam loves travelling, keeping fit and taking part in "anything outdoors", especially if it involves beaches.
Mr Campbell's Tutorials
There are a few things that are easier to show than explain in a book. Mr Campbell now stars in his own videos on this website! He shows you how to install Python 3 and test it is working OK on a Pi, Windows and a Mac. He also shares a few of his favourite tricks in IDLE.
Your own Raspberry Pi controller
Got a Raspberry Pi but want a cool USB controller to play Pong on? Why not design your own?
This controller only has three buttons and uses Playdoh but when you design your own there are many other options. These are discussed at the end of this tutorial. Playdoh is very colourful but it does lose its shape if you get excited!
Coding For All
I was so proud to be asked to showcase the apps from the Coding Club series at the #include launch party in London recently.
#include: "Our aim is to increase the diversity of the students studying Computer Science, to challenge the stereotypes and to create accessible opportunities for all students to experience the subject first hand." How cool is that?
I believe that everyone is unique and as a consequence, different things appeal to different people no matter what group they belong to. This is why the Coding Club books available, and those currently in the pipeline, feature games, calculators, an etch-a-sketch app, interactive storytelling and art apps. The hope is that everyone will find something they are naturally interested in and hopefully also find new interests while at the same time learning to code well.
It really worries me that youngsters worry so much about fitting in with stereotypes, that they limit their own freedom to be interested and enjoy anything. Why shouldn't a guy in the school football team also enjoy and pursue a ballroom dancing interest without worrying what his friends will think? Why do some girly girls who also enjoy programming worry that their friends won't understand them?
It is great when I hear about people breaking these moulds, such as will.i.am taking up coding. It is people like Will who help free kids to try whatever interests them. There are many things that imprison us: our fear of the unknown, poverty, lack of a safe home, but worrying about peer pressure and stereotypes shouldn't be one of them. And to quote Kate Russell, from the BBC's flagship technology program Click: "Why wouldn't anyone want to learn programming?"
Raspberry Pi Mini Pi Out
All the code in the Coding Club books works really well on a Raspberry Pi. The Pi is also great for embedded programming, using computers to control everyday objects such as garage doors. There are many systems out there that enable you to get quick access to the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi but none of them are very easy with my PiBow case, until now ...
This is the web site that supports the Coding Club series of books. These are aimed at anyone who can type and wants to learn to program. Unlike most computer books, these are quite short books. Each has a project that practises what has been learnt. The books emphasise why the code is written the way it is and how to design Apps. All this while being fun and interesting too!
Each book is graded just like a reading scheme. The first book is required but then there is a choice - pick a book that interests you from the level that interests you:
Level 1 books use:
>>> while loops
>>> a tiny bit of tkinter to enable windowed apps.
Level 2 books add:
>>> container data-types (tuples, lists and dictionaries)
>>> for loops
>>> more tkinter to enable windowed apps
>>> there is often some optional theory included for those who are interested. (e.g. binary)
Level 3 books add:
>>> classes and objects
>>> the idea of algorithms (readers are not expected to come up with their own)
>>> the idea of breaking large projects into manageable parts
>>> designing code for re-use.
"Why download games off the internet when you can make your very own versions and control exactly how they work and look!"
The Coding Club series of books can be used with any computer. There are versions for Mac, Linux and Windows. What if you cannot get on a computer easily? The answer to this is, surprisingly, just go and buy your own for about £30 from the RaspberryPi foundation!