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Physical Computing


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PGCE Primary Session

Published in: Education
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Physical Computing

  1. 1. Physical Computing Image: Amber Case Flickr CC
  2. 2. Physical computing? Definition: Physical computing, in the broadest sense, means building interactive physical systems by the use of software and hardware that can sense and respond to the analog world. While this definition is broad enough to encompass things such as smart automotive traffic control systems or factory automation processes, it is not commonly used to describe them. In the broad sense, physical computing is a creative framework for understanding human beings' relationship to the digital world. Wikipedia, 4 November, 2014
  3. 3. MaKey MaKey
  4. 4. Activity #1 In groups of three, make a console of inputs to connect MaKey MaKey to the outputs available at the following sites:
  5. 5. Variables “work with variables” - Subject content KS2 Variables are containers for data. They enable us to store, retrieve or change data. A variable could be used in a game to keep track of a user’s score or to remember a player’s name.
  6. 6. Activity #2 Piggy Bank Using variables and a ten pence coin as an input, program the Piggy Bank to keep an accurate account of your savings
  7. 7. LEGO WeDo This is a kit with a range of sensors that can be linked to Scratch or used with it’s own visual programming language: • Inputs - distance sensors, and tilt switches • Outputs – motors or onscreen objects
  8. 8. Installing Lego WeDo Blocks 1. Open Firefox browser 2. Go to 3. Go to Create 4. Choose ‘More Blocks’ in the Scripts tab 5. Click ‘Add an Extension’ button 6. Click ‘Lego WeDo’ and then OK 7. In the panel on right, click ‘Windows’ to download the plugin 8. Locate and run the plugin installer that you downloaded, the status indicator should turn from red to yellow. 9. Plug in the grey WeDo USB hub to a USB port on the front of PC 10. The status should turn green and you’re ready to start programming
  9. 9. Activity #3 Sensors & Switches Connect the Lego WeDo sensors and switches to Scratch and write a simple programme to control them. Work your way through some of the examples and activities. See the following document for guidance:
  10. 10. Follow up from today: Resnick, M. (2013) Mother’s Day, Warrior Cats, and Digital Fluency: Stories from the Scratch Community,Keynote paper available at warrior-cats.pdf Before the next EV682 session: Read: Clarke, S. (2005) ‘Defining formative assessment’, Ch 1 in Formative Assessment in Action; Weaving the elements together. London: Routledge