During the transitional summer break between primary and secondary school children from six London schools took part in the SPACE Studios Summer School programme, faciliated by Codasign and in collaboration with artist Stefanie Posavec.
As a Codasign tutor I led the workshops, which involved introducing the students to methods of data collection and visualisation, outside of conventional diagrams, graphs and tables. Each day small groups were given data collection devices powered by Raspberry PI’s and a number of environmental sensors to go out into the Olympic Park and collect quantitative data using these devices, whilst also observing their environments and collecting data about their personal qualitative experience.
Each student then discussed and examined their data for patterns and interpreted this through a personal artwork using various craft/art materials and maps of the area.View Project »
Artist and educator Anna Blumenkranz teaches a module at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich to media and art pedagogy students. This involves a variety of open source hardware and software technologies as platforms for creative expression and critical thought. Anna invited myself and artist Emilie Giles to facilitate a two day workshop with her on critical computing.
Over the two days the students were introduced to the physical computing platform Arduino and given the tools and guidance to create a working prototype for presentation at the end of day two.
As an introduction Emilie and I explained our working practices as part of Open Systems Association; a group of artists and practioners who collaborate on projects that explore the various technologies and systems that surround us. Anna, Emilie and I each produced a prototype project prior to the workshop in order to facilitate discussion about our practice and approach to critical computation.
At the end of the final day the students had created three diverse prototypes involving e-textiles, conductive objects and homemade skin conductance sensors.
Camp Loco was a series of creative workshops for 4 to 7 year olds in the Hackney, which involved introducing children to unusual, creative and material practices. Each workshop was planned and facilitated by a creative practitioner with a specialism in a particular area.
One day of the series consisted of 3 science related workshops, one of which was an Analogue Computing workshop that I devised. The intended goal of the workshop was to excite the children about the inner workings of computers (software and hardware) and to introduce concepts of computing as problem solving…whilst also having fun, pretending to be robots and not using anything recognisable as a computer.
Camp Loco was organised by New Future Collective who are also responsible for the fantastic Disco Loco events.
In collaboration with the Open Systems Association, YoHa, Southend Education Trust and Digital Exploration Centre I was involved in producing and facilitating a Hack Day devised to introduce Southend teachers to the open source hardware platform, Arduino, as a method of engaging children in programming and computing.
This ongoing project is a response to news in January 2011 that the Education Secretary was axing the existing ICT curriculum and giving schools the opportunity (albeit with no further funding or training) to devise their own curricula.
The project aims to help schools develop new ways of learning and teaching technology, that will engage young people in the creative applications of computing and programming. Artists and technologists within OSA devised, planned, built and thoroughly documented three open-source Arduino projects for the first hack day held at Digital Exploration Centre in Southend-on-Sea. As part of the workshop/hack day itself teachers and students were presented the projects and offered the chance to interrogate the technology as well as the methods of conception and production. This was with a mind to employing strategies into classroom activities that are outside of the realm of conventional computing and IT teaching methods.
Images courtesy of Cliff Hammett, Alexandra Joensson, Renee Carmichael and Emilie Giles.
See video documentation.
During the workshop participants were guided through the process of creating a piece of software in the Python programming language, which could be constructed to have its own personality. This was achieved using some primitive natural language processing directly inspired and appropriated from the ELIZA library.