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Su Adams

Su Adams

Su Adams has been working with schools for over 10 years and is passionate about computing in education.

Website URL: http://www.ucantoo.org.uk

Digital Futures - The Prelude

Becca

In September 2016, at the WOW Talks, Women in Technology event, I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca Evans, an exciting individual passionate about her art.  Rebecca, is the founder of dance company Pell Ensemble, and through this dance company Rebecca is able to explore and develop her deep interest in the collaboration between dance, technology and coding.  With my own small amount of history in dance and music and my obvious interest in creative computing, we quickly struck a chord and enthusiasm was flowing through our conversation.

I discovered that since 2014, Rebecca has had the wonderful experience of working with leading digital artists in the form of coders, developers, projection mappers, app artists and 360 story tellers.  She has worked with these artists to create a walking performance app, interactive handheld lights and in her most ambitious project 'David', an app led performance that responds to the audience’s choices, changing the destiny and outcome of the show.

Following several subsequent meetings, in November 2016, I received an interesting invitation from Rebecca… to support The Bridge at Waterloo and Pell Ensemble in delivering their Digital Futures programme for 2017.TheBridge Logo

Digital Futures is essentially a digital employability program with a tangible, performance outcome.  Following interviews, 16 adults would be invited to join the program, to learn about programming and to go on to implement what they had learnt by digitally enhancing a dance performance.

I loved the idea of the program, that it would also develop the soft skills of the individuals alongside the hard skills and so we began planning.  The first port of call was to decide what the digital involvement would be.

Anyone who knows me understands that physical computing is something which I find hugely creative and that I feel creativity itself is extremely valuable. I’m often heard sharing my concerns over the depleting opportunities for creativity for children and the possible effects of this on the inventiveness of our future minds.  It will come as no surprise that Rebecca and I decided to create digital interactions to help the dancers in their performance, with a strong focus on individual creativity. 

So, Rebecca and I embarked upon a somewhat unknown journey. We had ideas about what the end result could be, but the actual result was somewhat unknown.  We would teach the skills, support the Digital Futures participants in exploring the tech and see where their creativity lead the piece.  In addition to creating physical interactions, we also decided to recreate the music through a coded music platform, Sonic Pi.

Angus MacRae 2017 promo 1a

To achieve the music element, we would need to enlist a talented composer who could create a piece of music in layers for the participants (coders) to build up in their own creative way.  In comes the next key creative member, Angus MacRae.

Of course, there would need to be certain rules to be met for the sake of the dancers, but nothing that would hamper their opportunity for creativity; there’s that magic word again!

With the decision made, I began planning in earnest, considering the various possible end results, along with which controllers would work well as the brains of the interactions.  Then onto thinking through which inputs and outputs might be particularly interesting or demonstrative in the realms of dance. Finally, planning of the progression path to ensure that individuals who have never coded before would have the tools they needed to be able to achieve these goals.

We also had the interesting challenge of needing a group of people, previously unknown to one another to learn together, work together, project managed together and ultimately reach the outcome of a successful performance in a field which they might have no knowledge of, music and dance.  Whilst dance was not likely to be too much of a problem, music could pose more of an issue, once the coders began to explore and manipulate the sounds.  This element would need to be taught also.

Key elements that were included in the discrete teaching would be teambuilding, an introduction to project management, an introduction to music, computational thinking and the core fundamentals of programming.  We could then build on these to develop skills of the individuals as needed.

There were also many soft skills that would be taught as part of the Digital Futures program.  These would mostly be taught by external companies and individuals.  Citizens UK would visit to run a negotiation skills workshop, we would see Debate Mate visit and also have talks on time management, LinkedIn and conflict resolution. 

Alongside these talks, I was also able to arrange an exciting visit to Facebook HQ at Brock Street.  During this visit the participants would get an introduction to Facebook and a tour of the office.  This would then be followed by a talk about CV creation (including some extremely valuable insider information), a talk on impactful interview techniques, neatly rounded off by a CV surgery.

Arts Award Centre LogoWith all this variety and the planned enrichment, it became clear that there was a great opportunity here to explore if we could include a qualification.  Given the importance of creativity to both Rebecca and myself, and conversations that we had around the topic, it was decided that the 2017 program would also offer an Arts Award Silver.  Arts Award Silver is an the Regulated Qualification Framework that would see any participants who choose to take up the challenge assessed at a standard comparable with a GCSE grade A* - C.  Arts Award Silver is a qualification recognised by Further & Higher Education and employers; it holds a credit value of 10.  All well worth the effort, and with support provided by the lovely Julie Neville we could ensure a good result for participants who wanted to take up this opportunity..  As I am an Arts Award Advisor for Bronze, Silver and Gold, The Bridge at Waterloo were able to register as an Arts Award Centre and offer this accreditation as part of the Digital Futures programme.

The overall plan for Digital Futures was that it would take place annually in July for a total of 5 years. Each of the projects from 2017 onwards would be linked to the heritage of Waterloo and the 2017 link was to tell the story of the women who are said to have rebuilt Waterloo Bridge, during the Second World War.

To support the participants in having a focus and vision for the end goal, the performance piece would be created and performed at St John’s Festival in June.  The musical composition and choreography would be in place for this performance and would provide a starting point from which the Digital Futures project could develop.  The performance would be filmed so that the participants could view the performance.  This is especially valuable in helping any individuals who may not know what contemporary dance is, or those who may struggle, to envision how a story could be told through dance.

The Bridge Performance at the Flower Festival

 

Coders will use this performance as a basis for their digital enhancements.  

Let the creativity begin!

 

- Read about the delivery and success of the Digital Futures project and the ultimate creation

Summer Tech Workshops

Summer Tech Workshops

22nd - 24th August 2017

  • Ages 7-14  

crumble critters

  

  o Learn the Tech

  o Plan and Design the Solution

  o Build the Solution

  o Test your Make!

Once again, we are pleased to be offering tech workshops during the school holidays.  

You will find our summer workshops in the list below, including the location and detail on the focus of the session.

Once you have decided on the workshop(s) that you would like to book, simply scroll down to the PayPal add to basket

Day Date Time Activity Focus Location
Tues 22nd August 1pm - 5pm

Programmable Drones Assault Course:

Stop Motion & Green Screening

Device Needed: PC, Mac, Linux or iPad / Android

Staplehurst - Village Ctr
Weds 23rd Aaugust 1pm - 5pm

Musical Instrument Creator:

Make instruments with code and creativity

Device needed: PC, Mac or Linux 

Staplehurst - Village Ctr
Thurs 24th April 1pm - 5pm

Crumble Controller:

Vehicles and Art

Device needed: PC, Mac or Linux 

Staplehurst - Village Ctr
       

During each activity, techies will be introduced to the software and hardware that they'll be using.  They will then apply gained knowledge to plan their solution, whether than be the story that they will tell through their animation, or a design in response to a given problem.  Techies will then work either independantly or collaboratively to make and build their creation.  

As well as the skills that are being directly taught, such as circuits, or programming etc... there will be lots of opportunities to gain soft skills (team work, communication of ideas, mindmapping, collaboration etc...).

Participants should bring a laptop, if possible (if this is not possible, let us know, we have a small supply of our own).

As always we will endeavour to collect images and video across each session and share on the U Can Too Clubs facebook page (where permission is given), enabling children to proudly share their work with family and friends.

Book your place

Workshop Dates
Device Needs
First Name & Age of Child 1
First Name & Age of Child 2&3

Note: On occassions the PayPal links do not work.  If this is the case, pleae email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will raise a paypal invoice to overcome the issue.

 

What do I need to know?

Q: Where is the workshop?

A: We're back at Staplehurst Village Centre - South Hall, High St, Staplehurst, Tonbridge TN12 0BJ

The South Hall entrance is to the back of the building, there will be green arrows pointing the way.

Q: When can I arrive?

A:  We ask that you arrive no earlier than 12:55pm.  Before this we will be setting up, and it will be challenging for us to ensure that we are ready in time.

Q: What do I do if we arrive late?

A:  Of course sometimes uncontrollable circumstances get in the way and cause us to be late; if this does happen, please still come in, but you may need to wait a moment for us to find the best time to include your child

Q: When should I collect my child(ren)?

A: Please collect your techies promptly at 5:00pm for Staplehurst. 

Q: I'd like someone else to collect, is that possible. 

A: You must advise us if someone else will be collecting your child, or if your child is to walk home alone.

Please ensure that this is agreed with us in advance by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Q: What age-groups are invovled.

A: These workshops are aimed at ages 7-14. 

Q: What should my child bring?

A:  A laptop, with relevant software installed and ability to connect to our Wireless Device. Also, please bring a drink, it's thirsty work!

Q: What software do I need to install before the workshop(s)?

A:  Please refer to the table below for links to the relevant software.

22nd August  

mBlock (as appropriate to the platform you're using)

http://www.mblock.cc/

Free

23rd August  

Crumble Software (for your operating system)

http://redfernelectronics.co.uk/crumble-software/

Free

24th August  

Crumble Software (for your operating system)

http://redfernelectronics.co.uk/crumble-software/ 

Free

Your techie will also need the ability to connect to the internet, please ensure that they have rights to add a wireless device which we will bring to enable this. If you don't have a laptop, let us know.

Q: Will there be more clubs?

A: We intend to run sessions during every school break 

Q: You have previously offered Arts Award accreditations, will you be doing the same with the Summer workshops?

A:  We foud that the Arts Award Discover Level, didn't have a high take up.  We did have more interest in the Arts Award Explore Level which is a recognised qualification.  However this takes approximately 1 week to complete (either consecutively or over a course of sessions).  With this in mind, we need to consider how to best fit this into our offering.  If you are interested in hearing more about the Arts Award Explore Level QCF recognised qualification, then please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Q: Can you tell me more about Arts Award?

A: From Easter 2017 we began to include either the Discover or Explore Arts Award within some workshops.  The workshops themselves will be exactly the same for everyone, but there will be an opportunity to apply for a certificate at the end, should you wish to.  There is a fee for the certification, charged by Arts Award, the fee is dependant on the award level achieved.  We would, in time, like to add value to longer courses, in the form of higher levels of accredication. Achieveable levels would be either Bronze or Silver (GCSE equivalent), possibly moving on to Gold, (A Level equivalent/16 UCAS Points).  These longer courses, would be completed over several sessions over several months and will provide the opportunity for techies to gain accredidations recognised by Higher Education and Further Education institutions as well as Employers.  I'm sure you can see the value in exploring these as much as we can.  

Q: Why Arts Award, isn't this a techology club?

A: It may come as a surprise at first to see that we are offering Arts Award certification.  What do art and technology have in common?  If you have a closer look at our workshops, you'll see that there is a lot of design, and creativity involved and it comes into play more than you might first think.  Creatvity is very important in the realms of technology and qe feel that the inclusion of Arts Award can really encourage and develop that creativity as well as nuturing many additional soft-skills which youth will find invaluable, not only in their education but also in employment.

Q: How will I know if a workshop includes the option of an Arts Award?

A: We will let you know if the workshop/course that you have booked on has an Arts Award associated with it. Please note, that whilst the Arts Award certificate does incur a separate fee, there is no expectation for you to apply for the certificate and not applying for the certificate will not affect the value of the workshop in any way.  If you have any questions relating to the Arts Award, please just let us know.

Q: What is the cancellation policy?

A: If you find you need to cancel, we provide a full refund for cancellations make 1 week in advance of the session. any advice provided between 2 and 7 days in advance of the session will receive a 50% refund, for cancellations made less than 48hours in advance of the workshop session, no rfund wil be made as the session space will be booked and resources purchased etc...  All advice must be provided in writing by email and by phone on 07771 747499.  

Useful to know:

Su Adams and Volunteer Mentors have DBS checks

Helen's coffee shop, the village shops and the library are all just a short walk away, for those who would like to stay local.

We are an inclusive club.  Everyone has a right to be involved, to join in and we all have something to offer as well as learn.  If you have concerns, or feel that your child would benefit from the club more if you provided extra information, then please get in touch.

U Can Too & Cedars Forest School are also planning a collaborative day combining Tech and Outdoor Fun next year, so watch our events page here on our website or our facebook pages to keep up to date!  More dates will follow in the new year.

Click here to find out more about Cedars Forest School

 Have we forgotten something?

If you have any queries not covered above, please just email and let us know This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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