Tiles for Tales @ Mozfest 2016

Mozfest takes place in London next weekend and we’re excited to be running a workshop in the Youth Zone. Mozfest is a creative and inclusive conference, living up to its tagline ‘Arrive with an idea, leave with a community’.

We’re busy gathering resources for our Tiles for Tales workshop and really looking forward to see what people will create in it. The workshop involves designing a tile using felt and cardboard to represent a character or scene, adding LEDs, wiring and a processor (based on the ESP8266) giving wifi control of the tile. We’ll then write scripts in ScratchX to control the LEDs on the tile. At the end we’ll put all the tiles together and put on our own light show, sharing the work we’ve done.

Our example tiles. What tiles will be created at Mozfest?

Our workshop aims to give a simple introduction to wiring circuits and writing programs to control things, using cheap and cheerful hardware and materials that works as an individual or collaborative activity. In order to make it widely accessible, we use gel crimps in our circuits (commonly used in the telecomms industry), as an alternative to breadboarding or soldering circuits, making it simple to create circuits and to avoid the need to strip wires.

Example of a circuit with two LED’s connected using gel crimps

The Tiles for Tales project is a collaboration between the student leaders of the Warwick Technology Volunteers and members of my family, who are inevitably drawn in to these activities. :-)

The Technology Volunteers are a student led group of volunteers at the University of Warwick, each year student leaders recruit new volunteers from a range of departments across the University. Volunteers go into local schools in teams to run sessions on Arduino and Scratch. The aim is to encourage creators rather than consumers, and the project is in its 8th year.

This year the Technology Volunteers setup the Coventry Coderdojo and its now an integral part of the groups activity. They also design and built the Experisense board to enable arduinos to be programmed by Scratch.

We’re looking forward to Mozfest and sharing our work, but even more interested to meet with others and find out what they are doing, and how we can share it with our own local community.

Margaret Low @megjlow

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