The growth of CodeUp

The Beginning of CodeUp

Back in November 2014, the idea for a Code Club for adults was devised, and CodeUp Manchester was born. In February 2015, we saw our first ever meetup. Fast forward to March 2016, and it’s astonishing to think of how much the organisation has accomplished.

The number of attendees at the regular monthly Manchester sessions has steadily increased, from 27 in February 2015, to 81 in March 2016. So far, we have had over 650 people in attendance since we began, and in 2015, 29% of our attendees were women, and 18% of attendees were from a black or ethnic minority background.

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Doctor Robot’s Heart Rate Monitor – Raspberry Pi Project

Last week I attended the Manchester Picademy training, and became a certified Raspberry Pi Educator! As part of the training, we spent a day creating our first hack. We could be as creative as we wanted to be, and produce anything we liked. We produced, the Doctor Robot’s Heart Rate Monitor.

I arrived in the morning with my box of kit, things I have acquired over the last few years, but not really used (as I didn’t know what to do with them), and teamed up with my partner in crime Claire Foster. We decided to come up with a project that used the coolest items in my kit, which we decided would be;

  1. Adafruit Heart Rate Monitor Educational Kit
  2. Display-O-Tron
  3. 4tronix Picobot

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Picademy – The best CDP you’ll ever experience

Earlier this week I attended the Picademy CDP workshop in Manchester. Organised by Manchester Hive, hosted at the Google Garage, and delivered by highly experienced Raspberry Pi educators and community members, Picademy is a two-day workshop designed to create the latest cohort of Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, and I was one of them.

I’m not entirely sure how to sum up my two days in one sentence. The word awesome just doesn’t seem awesome enough, I learned more than I can comprehend right now, and I have so many ideas on what to do with my new knowledge, that I don’t know where to start. So I’m starting here, and I’m sharing everything I experienced at Picademy Manchester.

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Making the most of WordPress – Plugin Essentials

It’s become a common consensus now, that if there is anything you want to achieve with your WordPress website, then there’s probably a plugin that will allow you to do it. At the time of writing this post, there are 42,728 available plugins in the WordPress Plugin Directory, but how do we know which ones to use?

With so many plugins at our fingertips, it’s easy to get carried away, but we need to remember that plugins tend to be third party, and so each time we update WordPress, update our theme, or update another plugin, we run the risk of something stopping something else, or even our entire site, from working correctly.

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The Basics of using Command Line

During my recent decision to take on some projects for my Raspberry Pi over Christmas, one of the little things I often struggle with is using the command line. I loved working on Craig Richardson’s Python Programming with Minecraft Pi, but sometimes it referenced tasks such as installing a program, creating a directory or copying files from one directory to another using command line, and I think it had an assumption that the user would know how to perform these tasks. Unfortunately, not only am I not confident using command line, but when I do learn how to perform a task, I often forget it quite quickly.

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My Christmas Python Project 2 – How to learn Python using Minecraft Pi

Even though my first Christmas project turned out to be a bit of a bust, I was still determined to carry on with my Christmas projects, and this one I was very much looking forward to.

On a quick glance, Craig Richardson’s idea was really good. Using the Python track of Codecademy, this workbook provides little coding projects within the minecraft world to work alongside the relevant Codecademy chapter. The premise being that a person uses Codecademy to learn the basic concepts, then here the concepts are applied within minecraft as ‘real world’ practice.

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My Christmas Python Project 1 – Minecraft Pi Projects from Stuff About Code

Last week I decided I would dedicate some time in between Christmas and New Year to improving my Python skills with some fun projects.

The first project I came across when looking for fun things to do was the Minecraft Pi projects on <Stuff about=”code”/>. The website from Martin O’Hanlon details the projects he has done using Minecraft Pi edition, and I saw some really cool stuff on there that I fancied trying, specifically, the Hide and Seek game and the Planetary Gravity Sim.

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Starter Python Projects for the Raspberry Pi & Arduino

Since completing my Coursera course I have been continuing to improve my Python skills using Codecademy, and lately I’ve been feeling pretty confident. I feel like I am grasping concepts better with practice, and when I do get stuck, I am more confident using the Python documentation to find a solution, without feeling the need to run to a forum or stack overflow for help. So I’m on the hunt for some python projects to test my skills.

Hopefully during my time off work over the next few weeks, I want to dust off my Raspberry Pi, and if I’ve been really really good this year, Father Christmas should be bringing me an Arduino Starter Kit, so I’ve decided to find some Projects I can work on to further improve my skills. It’s also important to note that these projects can all be completed using only the Pi or the Arduino Starter Kit, no other components are required, (except monitor, keyboard etc to get your Pi up and running).

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CodeUp Manchester – Helping adults who want to learn how to code

Quite some time ago, when I first started this blog, I wanted to learn how to code. Since then I have made some progress! First I researched what language I should learn (and I decided on Python) and then I started a Coursera course entitled “Programming for Everyone” & found support at a local user group Python North West.

While trying to learn more and improve my skills, one thing became very apparent. If I was under 16, I would have an abundance of events to go to where experienced coders would help me learn, such as Code Club, or CoderDojo. But now I’m 31, no one wants to help me out. I think that it’s great that there are all these initiatives to get young people into technology, but I also think that it’s highly unfair that these initiatives exclude adults, because some of us want to learn too! And what about the parents of these kids who want to support their child learning how to code, but haven’t got a clue about how to get involved with something they don’t understand?

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Programming for Everyone – A free online Coursera course for learning Python

On the 7th April I started the Coursera course Programming for Everyone with Charles Severance (Dr Chuck). Programming for Everyone is a 10 week course, using the free text book Python for Informatics, online lectures and assessments and forum support to allow someone who has little or no coding experience to be able to write programs in Python (2.7).

Each week a new lecture is released via video, where Dr Chuck covers one of the first 10 chapters of the accompanying textbook. The course syllabus is as follows;

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