During every year of my 4 year course at university I volunteered with Warwick Volunteers in a project called the Technology Volunteers. The aim of this project is to get children interested in programming. For this task we use a program developed by MIT called Scratch. This is a brilliant program as it gets children to understand the concepts behind programming in a simple and fun way and often the children don't even realise they are 'programming'. At the end of my second year of volunteering I decided that the Technology Volunteers should also be teaching the Arduino platform so I obtained the necessary funding to setup the project and started running the sessions myself under the Technology Volunteers banner. The Arduino is essentially a small computer you can program to interact with inputs such as light sensors and buttons and outputs such as motors and lights. By teaching Arduino to children they not only learn the concepts behind programming but also gain basic electronics knowledge and children love robots so they really enjoy it too. As leader of the project my roles included attracting and training volunteers, contacting schools, booking school visits and leading school sessions. I was also responsible for producing the syllabus and worksheets we would need to use during our school visits (The final set of worksheets can be downloaded from the 'Arduino' tab).
While managing the Arduino project I also helped out the leaders of the Scratch project in many different events. These included events such as teaching Scratch in the local community at the BBC Open Center, helping to judge the BCS IT Challenge 2013 & BCS IT Challenge 2014, as well as helping out with volunteer training and school sessions. Also while volunteering with the Technology Volunteers I have attended many conferences presenting our ideas and resources for Scratch and Arduino (see more below).
While volunteering with the Technology Volunteers we had several opportunities arise for us to present our resources and collaborate to create new resources. To make these opportunities a reality I had to apply and win various funding sources from around the University. This money allowed us to participate in many opportunities including a New York Collaboration with the Eleanor Roosevelt High School and presenting multiple workshops and presentations at conferences including the European Scratch Conference, MozFest, CAS Conference and MIT Scratch Conference.
Read more about the New York Collaboration and European Scratch Conference and our involvement by clicking here
Read more about the MIT Scratch Conference and our involvement by clicking here