A Million Children (and MicroPython)

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Nicholas Tollervey - A Million Children (and MicroPython) The BBC micro:bit is a small programmable device for children. A million of them have been handed out to the UK's 11 and 12 years olds. The Python Software Foundation was a partner in this moon-shot scheme and, thanks to the efforts of Damien George, MicroPython runs on the device. My talk will tell the story of the project, describe Python's role in it and explain how the wider Python community can become involved. It may involve demonstrations, live coding and audience participation.
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OK everyone non I am really happy to interviews Nicholas and he's going to tell you my mole an amazing story evolves on 1 million gets and microgrids soul or please give a big hand for Nichols thank you market afternoon Europe I
think on so my name is and it's a great pleasure to be talking to you about this afternoon and for those of you who don't know me unaccustomed trained musician this is what I used to do on to the plant i'm also philosophy graduates
and I also write books for arriving mainly and in a previous life I used to be a school teacher and this is me on my 1st day as a fully qualified teacher with my new form and these are a bunch of 11 year old children in 1 in the UK we call year 7 years 7 years when you from 11 to 12 years old can you spot here the person who is not ignoring the dress code of wearing a tie at the school I never
wore at school and at the very end they didn't buy me a time when I left so I'm not the only person
who spoke that your life about education and I'm sure you remember this is my friend carry and you get barnstorming keynotes last year about Python in education on I'm not quite sure what it is that she's wearing which appears to be very pleased about that so I believe it's a helmet with raspberry Pisoni maybe it's sort of some brainwave device I'm not quite sure anyway I hope you can remember what it is that carry on said that the variance of the soul and that the I think everyone should read this book it's called Platinum education by consolidating his hand and it's really small work I believe it's free and it's my writer anyway so you go about translation dependencies and it's not free and you should read it because it really does help explain about like with education and so this is all you that for for next year's SUM actually what's in your diaries and plants I will be checking so she said some homework and what have you done it because I'm here to collect it for and take it back to the UK solution remark actually no 1 on the actually I'm going to tell you a story about how since about this time last year the U. K. Python community has stepped up and work with the BBC and other organizations to deliver an educational project but out before I explain what project is I want to give you some some history so this is my 1st computer the BBC microcomputer on and in the 1980's every school in the UK got 1 of these and my father was a head teacher and so I decided 7 or 8 years old and as old as my son something that and I might and brought it home wanting to learn
how to use this use in school it's at my brother I about half an hour to the graph of with a candidate set this is a simulation of the
PC market and I'm going to have that program here but looking at my short I have you have to give the type of thing and so I remember my 1st computer it the the the basic what goes on that the uh it's you 20 year that's OK hi mat I'm insulted you will let me again so and David Allen who is the project reviews explained that at the aim was to democratize computing and we didn't want people to be controlled by technology put to control it and for this sort of 8 year mean this was a moment a revelation I could I could tell people that their immediate automatically with a computer
this is also and I suspect that you guys will have a very similar experience where 1 day you were typing something into computer and you maybe do something and you will see that this is way to make a computer do a wonderful thing there's a sense of of not just power but the fact we explore in remarkable thing to do so fast forward to today and the BBC want to get back into the education space and help in UK and that they created something called a microgrid project and that this is the trade of making showing on BBC TV over the summer it is the nature of whole
versions that by the time that I shall certainly not infants began inside the library
is white light white
line yes yes home with the
given idea you know as soon as trampoline
issues of no more than I do
not wish is that it has
a so so you read that right at
this moment in time 1 million in these small computing devices have being handed out to this year's you've 7 in UK bifurcating life or and the aim is to rekindle that sense of wonder and computing and exodus of foster can do on attitude competing models becoming consumers of technology in all asking what of so we so cherish creativity exploration of rote learning in the test things so how is this delivered of facts and time the BBC got together with a bunch of partners some of whom are listed here and they range from big multinationals like all and Microsoft down to communities of projects like the code club and uh and universities like like Lancaster universities in the world of work for this arm and also the presence of foundation on the PSF fellow and when I heard about this project I possible with the appropriate for me to come to be seen as would like to be a partner and they said yes and we were accepted on the program because the BBC said that they would like to use Python with the device Python
is but 1 of the 4 languages this device called the of the of the talk to you about path in Europe I on when this device was announced in here is that the press release him on the PSF describing education partners we're only going to provide educational resources and somebody else is going to provide a Python runtimes with and then at about this time last year the BBC going to me and said the person who's going to do Python has dropped out of and we need Python on the micromega you know my so I was in a bit of a pickle
but I'm I met somebody called Johnny from all that's how we introduced himself a Johnny from all strengthening anyway he had he lived next door to a chap called being enjoyed and joining the person who designed the hardware for the market and Damien as I'm sure some of you created microparticles and I'm ending in apart and you can also go to the thing and and Damon got hold of 1 of these devices and we got like a python 2 run on the market is remarkable and take a little bit about my Python and Damien is actually physicist and we have he created marked by the sort of side projects on and that from remarkable site project to
think about it more tried I know all implement Python 3 but microcontroller so we have a complete reimplementation by the running on 1 comes from this remarkable achievement and Damien is an outstanding and talented development and he ran an extraordinary successful Kickstarter the way the raising of money actually gets uh get Michael Python out into the world on on core PPI called and like I said it's for implementation of Python 3 and it runs on lots of different sorts of microcontroller-based hardware on that's a flourishing community and uh it's a sort of a test of the titanium talent and determination markup I is the successor to this and we have it running on 1 of these devices using the BBC wanted to do was prove to provide the code editor for children to use so this is an online coordinated I register JavaScript-based affair and kids go to the website of BBC that's they choose 1 of 4 languages they type in whatever the coded and they click the download but they get a hex file that copied onto the device and then the program runs came under but we discovered when we were testing this with teachers and students in the autumn and that's actually what we need to do is build a whole ecosystem around this remarkable device so that they and I met in London just before we went to a meeting 2 years for me to BBC over a cup of coffee and and we drew up what we saw operation of this ecosystem to be very minded world volunteering on time well this is all all about motivated these get involved so you kind of got touch developed which is Microsoft offering into which we slaughtered that web-based python editor and but we people telling us that actually they prefer writing encoding of proper editor was an editor that they could use on the test on having to go online and and also they want to choose which editor they want to use on and they want to go to a site where they could uh where they could become find out more about specifically part so we the cross-platform nature it we need tools the command line so you could flush the device and without having to use a special status that we needed projects to inspire others as well and website to sort of spread the Python education work so we got to work this is me you might get a joke but it's a very small simple python editor for children currently it's main just at the microgrid but we have plans to make it available for other sorts of types of Python development and uh uh so what you will see is something that life code in a minute from all the using you to make that happen will hooks and so I also want to mention that while new is that the whole philosophy of news that you have the 0 effort to get you to where you need to be the simplest possible way that kids get coding straight when there's no impediment to the and this is part of a wider movement going on in the UK Parliament was started by and so on which you can hear talk about this later on down created a particle Pike into so this is an API that sits on top of my game on 4 children so again it's it's 0 effort you should be able to write a game with little or no upfront would and we have GPI 0 0 by benefit from not quite Foundation a similar sort of project for the part GPI invulnerable right we have network 0 as well which is the 10 which is based on 0 and q again it's a very thin wrapper on the top itself and so we're asking ourselves what other things could be 0 as well and maybe you can put thinking and so on and come up with something else 0 and that's a child-friendly I like the kids to use and so the of the summary is a child simple friendly simple child-friendly AP on top of real modules on program mission to and so this is a microphone which which is a command line tool and the module is used to interact with the devices detect where you devices and you can use it to flash your scripts and you want a script and whatever editor you want to use a flash of script onto the device and so you have the freedom to choose whatever tools you will just use my question to you to do it yourself from now most of the work on market market was done on 1 single device which Damien at and that the BBC gave PSF 5 1 wants to know how are we going to engage with the means they produce resources are inspiring children that will get people interested in
this and so on we will talk and that the microwave went all over the place at the south pole vehicles and with the British Antarctic Survey down sample to Australia to US all around Europe and and there we we got rather a lot of really cool projects out it now random you know from Poland
created a robot which I was going show you a video of but this morning and the and up and said seeing this and that this is a little like a robot he's he's improved and on and put on the table here ominous like a switch in the back and we'll just have to see what happens I OK so the while
another by important thing is that it's the microgrid that's controlling the
controlling the might His GPI say if you look very carefully their balls here making connections with with the with the motor of and with the help and support of the parts of a foundation we and creates we are in the process of creating a python in educational all website this is the initial designs for the home page and I hope that some of you consider helping out with because we want to put all the resources that we create for not just the micromega the ferocity pie and all the other amazing Python education things are happening around the world in a single place of people can and can be inspired and reuse these resources so this is a demo time you don't have to know this
I feel so the problem of having a marker of it is that I can't really hold it open you're going to get you can see the back so can hold of this if you want a quick tour of the hardware so on the front ofyour by 5 energy
matrix of the squash you have 0 to 9 brightness a couple of buttons for input across the bottom part you labor and some of which are thinking of you can attach crocodile cracking on the back you can see that this is where a battery goes up to reset looking micro USB ports here is a brief you can also communicate wirelessly with other devices from if you're reading carefully you'll see that the process is here and there's a compass and accelerometer here as well so that there is way it's facing which way more so that's the uh certainly the hard way but this is me sorry that is me and I'm gonna have to care that much older so here's what appeared earlier this is the simplest possible and scripts Hello world and I once In fact you can see have gone to the function to say OK this communication choose world
they it works was
OK but we can't we don't have to just scroll text we can do animations as well so that I displayed option and we've got some built-in images all clocks isn't as is a list of all the common ranges of the clock at and it's going to be 100 ms between each frame of the animation and I want to just keep you think you can see this is very very simple because we have it in this to you little radon
and we are going OK so it's going just keep doing that until after the stop
so a bit more advanced example some of the built-in images before going on here but in not very many lines of Python on choosing X and Y on the and the matrix I'm sitting around the world have brightness I'm going to set up pixel is put neighbors was press this is not sound like pseudocode because we've taken a lot of effort to make sure that the API that is used to interact with the money that is very simple but just show a random image from this list here and it will be was possible world accelerometers with gesture shape OK shown and face you have is and if I can't look going
money this is talk about it patterning going and so on and so on go and be the guy had will programs this the continuity that we have OK flashing she's very do it again using the might it just shaking the if a know OK but wait
there's more quite right so this is the record this is Python running on the MicroVAX so place where and how and why can do is I used to be a musician and and so why they're doing is making use of part of why the answer by putting the speaker I should be able to make it plain User again and my shoulder so import music analysis of in top layer In this talk we have to have completion of what you want your case somebody pick a tune what kind already we know that that's why why why what what what 1 should be the end an Bloom sucked
from by that I can also do this
but were so if you're a musician let me whole 14th infections from the for concentrates on and play 1 2nd and how can the evoked by searching most of our starts doing things like this and like of the this and on yes and no you 1 of the world's were true I'm trying to typing without looking at the end of world trade so I want you to know child pitch walking from accelerometer gets and the 20 seconds but the the the
I don't know know about the strength and imagine if you will a roomful of old on a Friday afternoon the so I've made a very simple musical instrument can I need to mention now mark Sherman mark is that contributed to the Python is practical developed age and and and Marcus than amazing would help this and when we have initially analysis and in the markets contributed to the project mounted display was forced by the way but OK let me just
recently 1 can do no knowledge of the musical performance we have a speech synthesizer I can't imagine what you to get the same with size the important thing is is that it's inspiring that they get well how and can I get this thing to do more automated can so
that the next thing we a single you know
and and and that always and this is going to be a re-creation of the sentence and so it goes like this should hear some things my by then going to be then all where he he I'll show know he was in what we you will always go to all the uh
the bull so part of so at
its mining good so have much of it on its money 1 of the I have my than to there are also some of the needs which the of the volume because somebody sarcastically shattered at the European national and just a moment ago these devices can communicate wirelessly I'm going to latch onto here has
to call and auditors is so tender signal with the string go and and these devices I'm programmed them so that's what it's ready smiling at me that they were seen Beethoven's Ode to Joy we on this is to be the template works telling well in the world of God and he need now there's only 1 of them was working many going discovery right this resets ready didn't can people in the world and you and I had it in German and that
so I'm going to have to hurry up but so was is education was doing the on I was having a discussion with some people on Facebook and this is what I said when said wide that we got to invest in education but will asking what sort of education and learning community supports how we decide what so the community become that is through education and learning that we engage with our future colleagues friends and supporters this is very very important game and we need help us I'm asking for help we have yet with all the zeros with the website and with place full resources as well and the cool stuff we have a Jupiter and notebook for much of its that's what in the world and I'm very very
pleased to announce that this week and everything to do with the BBC marked the project is going to be open sourced by the BBC that includes the whole West and so if you can
be thanks
to the BBC thanks to the
everybody who attends your Python and has tickets will get a much of it for you to play with if you'd like to learn more about that a bit more technical information about month for the ongoing speaking here in about 2 minutes time I after this the next time I was good salary questions but you cannot be into the next thing if you want to questions that's it this not after the it
only world