Who likes robots? EVERYONE that’s who! Yesterday MMU hosted 4 local primary schools to the launch of the MMU Learning Hive Community. Hive Networks were developed in America (read about them here) and seek to establish local, sustainable networks that work to harness the knowledge, skills and resources to bring together people who want to make, create and code and those that can help them on their way.
We’re at the beginning of exploring what the Manchester Hive might be like. It’s headed up by Steven Flower and Damian Payton but we at MMU wanted to see how we can plug in and help develop the network. The Learning Hive Community just makes a lot of sense to us. We have loads of talented students wanting to develop their skills and contribute to the community. We have numerous primary schools in walking distance with pupils wanting to explore and have fun with creating and making. So we thought why not bring these together, using Hive, as a common banner and approach.
The first step is the Robot Challenge, which we launched yesterday. 6 local primary schools are participating, and four made it to the launch. The event was hosted in the awesome Learning Resource Centre in Birley Fields. It was exhilarating to go from an empty room and a hundred little tasks that needed to get done to 20 minutes later talking to a room full of 10 year olds, excitedly throwing up their hands when we asked ‘who likes robots?’
The Robot Challenge is going to take place over the next 5 weeks (see the activity sheet, produced by the awesome Liz Smart here.) The pilot yesterday introduced the student participants to the school pupils they will be working with, and then give the pupils but really everyone an opportunity to play with some fun tech stuff… including a robo-ball or some such thing that had a mind of its own. Everyone will be back on 1st April to share what wonderful creations they’ve been a’creating.
I’d like to thank the tech team in the Student Resource Centre for helping us at every step of the way, and Manchester Regeneration Team for providing a tech goody bag for each school, Kevin Tan for bringing the NAO robot, Robogals for just being awesome, Yasemin Allsop for bringing lots of fun stuff, Mark Peace and Caroline Davies for doing lots of behind the scene stuff… and everyone else who came along, participated and contributed. Lots of people found a little money in their budget, asked to students to volunteer, or were students are taking the time to participate. Liz Smart was instrumental and central to the pilot launching, so a special ‘thanks’ to her.
It’s some pretty inspiring stuff and I’m looking forward to what the pupils make and then all the planning and scheming as to what we do next with the Hive.
James Duggan (on behalf of the MMU Learning Hive)