Are you working or studying in the STEM industries, keen to debunk some myths about engineering and inspire young people's dreams?

How can you make a difference?

HACKcampUK is an innovative and exciting programme designed to connect children to careers in engineering and to play a part in shaping change in a rapidly evolving world.

The project is being delivered as part of the This Is Engineering programme with The Royal Society of Engineering and is designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, inventors and problem solvers.

Sharing your story has the potential to inspire our next engineers, just like Sophie here:

Who can apply?

We're running this first training event on Saturday 18th January for university undergraduate or postgraduate students, professionals or recently retired people working in the STEM sectors.

You might be a software, agricultural, biomedical or environmental engineer, a computer scientist, a creative technologist, a mechanic, an aero engineer, engineer in theatre or fashion design.....absolutely anything that involves making and engineering.

What's the commitment?

You'll be joining a programme of support that will include an event at Eureka Museum in Halifax on Saturday 7th March, when your engineering experiences and activities will be shared with some of the young visitors and families on the day.

eureka museum halifax

You'll need to commit to attending both events at PlayLab (18.01.20) and Eureka Museum (07.03.20) and there'll be plenty of support available in between to help you develop your activities - visits, online chats, workshops and the network of other engineers across the North involved in the programme.

There's also a small bursary available to support each engineer with materials or resources needed to deliver their activity at the March event.

playlab in leeds

We've hooked up with the Trans-Pennine STEM Ambassador hub at The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and will be using their Action Zone space for a mentoring session with engineers on Wednesday 29th January, too. It'll be a chance to learn more about their network and get involved as a STEM Ambassador.

national science museum bradford

Dates for the Diary

Saturday 18th January: Launch event at PlayLabs in Leeds 12-4pm

Wednesday 29th January: Optional meetup at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford 4-6pm

Monday 24th February: Optional meetup at Barclays Eagle Labs in Leeds - 4 until 6pm

Saturday 7th March: Sharing activities at Eureka Museum in Halifax

Where can you sign up?

Registration is now open through this Eventbrite page

What's the plan?

This first session will be very hands-on and workshop activities will cover how you can run everything from a 5 minute assembly to an hour long workshop, practical sessions in schools or a Scout camp, a school careers day or assembly.

We'll include information about how you can enthuse young people by telling your story as an engineer, start to plan and co-design resources with us, look at how to plan an engaging session in libraries and schools and how to tackle safeguarding and diversity issues.

Who's involved?

The HackCampuK team sees The Foundation for Digital Creativity, Wigan STEAM, Edge Hill University and MakoCreate coming together again to equip engineers across the North of England to plan and deliver sustainable engineering workshops to young people. We're all very excited to be working with you!

Thanks to PlayLab Leeds for hosting this first workshop and Eureka Museum for inviting us to work with them at the final engagement event in March. Other organisations supporting the programme include the Trans-Pennine STEM Ambassador Network, Barclays Eagle Labs in Leeds, local libraries in each area across the North and academic links.

'Objects-to-think-with' in a Climate Emergency

Ada Day 2019 saw us planning and co-designing an event themed around the climate emergency with computing teachers from Sirius Academy North in Hull.

Students from years 7, 8, 9 and 10 designed and built working prototypes over the day, with each team submitting a new wearable idea into the Ultimate STEM Challenge national competition.

The images above show the variety of activities, all linked to the computing curriculum and school enrichment programme, with the chance to test out and strengthen some STEM pedagogies linked to a constructionist approach to learning.

prototyping wearables

Pear programming?

That's an opportunity for student voice to be part of evaluating learning through pair programming! What's the perception of learning as a navigator and the impact of sharing what you know?

Themes around technology to mitigate climate change ranged from projects to collect outdoor and indoor air quality data, conservation projects for endangered animals and plastic pollution with its toxic impacts on humans, animals, waterways, oceans, and the environment.

The day also offered students the chance to collaborate with engineers and conservationists on a new project linked to protecting the oceans from plastic pollution.

With planning to embed into the formal curriculum and additionally into learning through the Lego First League initiative, first objectives focused on understanding networks and data transmission between digital devices.

unplugged data packets activity

We know that unplugged computing activities are a powerful learning tool for understanding concepts and it was important for us to co-design an exercise based on protocols and transferring data. Mapped to KS3 and KS4 schemes of work, the students explored reliability and considerations when receiving and transmitting data across networks.

Look carefully and you might spot the students developing their own protocols as 40 sets of song lyrics travel across this network in Hull, with some of those data packets facing uncertainty (teacher sabotage!) from an unreliable internet.

Sense and Sense Air-bility

We jumped at our invite to present successes and lessons learnt from Sense and Sense Air-bility at Wuthering Bytes last month. The festival has an amazing programme of activities and events bringing together an open-source community filled with ideas, new collaborators and support, so it was great to talk with maker friends old and new.

Read more about Wuthering Bytes from the festival website or this great write up from Laura James, compére on the Friday. And watch out for the next project on the map from Lighthouse School in Leeds, shaping learning opportunities with the new hardware sponsored by the festival.

How can technology help us to understand and question the world around us?

Recent adult workshops and learning programmes in schools and universities have flagged up the capacity for data to spark more even questions, conversations and hypotheses.

Not always answers, as we've take the Internet of Curious Things activities across more areas of the curriculum and project themes including improving air quality into more communities, and that's given an opportunity to share findings across different regions.

Our mission is to deliver improved digital skills and inspiration to enable social good, and that inevitably links the UN Sustainable Development Goals to give context, purpose and a global perspective to activities.

un sustainable goals We get involved in discussions about empowering everyone to make the world a better place with technology, and have become great advocates of using low-cost sensors to underpin understanding of innovative possibilities. That raises questions in itself.

Putting tools (including those low-cost sensors) into the hands of more groups to understand the world around them has seen a rise of problem-finding, as described through Engineering Habits of Mind, in project-based learning programmes.

This year has seen some interesting research coming out of a project where low-cost sensors have been deployed across school sites in Southampton, and the continued discussion it has supported about a long-term field comparison of multiple low-cost particulate matter sensors in an outdoor urban environment. This quote in particular resonates with what we're trying to support:

"Low-cost sensors.........they may provide useful information on personal exposure to PM" (Bulot et al, 2019)

For the students at Manchester Met University who had their own theories about levels of pollution around campus, the groups embarking on the first Science Walk in Roundhay Park during Leeds Digital Festival or our latest project with adults funded by LNER, it is the knowledge, understanding and application of data collection that is empowering more people to make healthy decisions using physical computing.

Putting tools and decision making into the hands of communities.

Raising even more questions to investigate together.

Bramley Community Weather Stations and Air Quality Monitoring

This community-led project has now adopted the name ‘Bramley Weather Stations’ after first activities sparked ideas about how intergenerational groups can work together to improve air quality.

microbit temp and humidity monitoring

A series of imaginative and hands-on digital workshops launched with the first stations built and collecting data on the hottest day of the year!

The programme will continue over the coming months and explore the quality of air in Bramley and respond to concerns from local residents and groups.

More air quality monitoring projects will be built and deployed around the community with individuals, youth, adult and local Scout groups all learning new skills and gaining a deeper understanding about how they can address environmental concerns together.

map 1 bramley

Part of the programme will focus on sharing ideas and data to make better informed decisions, and that's an introduction to data science in an accessible and fun way for everyone.

You'll see these examples, from a mapping and data visualisation activity, showing routes taken with air quality sensor projects around Bramley Community Centre and a supplementary CSV file has all of the raw data.

What's brilliant about this example is the age of the digital makers as young cubs and scouts from the local group. They were able to interrogate their own data and tell their own story about changes in air quality as they walked away from the centre and towards the road. Moreover, they could consider and discuss the impact of action and choices made as a result of their findings with a group of adults.

bramley 2 map

The programme is multifaceted and a powerful insight into how equipping a community with the tools, knowledge and skills needed to make their own changes can impact on a wider scale.

We'll share updates, events and news throughout the summer and in the meantime the ‘Bramley Weather Stations’ group are collaborating with meet-ups, workshops and their own online collaboration space.

jaffa cake box casing for digital project

Some of the resources and inspiration from the first making day to create new stations and understand this climate emergency that's spoken about at school, around the community and across the city.

resources from bramley launch

national lottery community fund logo The Bramley Weather Station programme of activities and change is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

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