Global Chapter Case Study: Manchester CoderDojo

Look inside the Manchester, UK littleBits Chapter

March 28, 2016

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As the littleBits Global Chapters program grows and our School Chapters program launches, we wanted to highlight the unique spaces using littleBits and hosting events around the world. For this series, we’ve interviewed a number of Chapter leaders (from different types of spaces) and encouraged them to share their experience with us.

1) Please describe your space and what you do in there.
We’re in a space called “The Campus”, which is a central area for a big space called The Sharp Project in Manchester, England.

The Sharp Project host and incubate a wide variety of tech and media businesses – all based in the former warehouse of Sharp Electronics (hence the name)

We host our Dojo there once a month, on a Sunday. Around about 150 attend, of which around 90 are young people. Due to this size, we will have a mix of activities and areas on any given month – ranging through Scratch, Python, physical computing and – lately – littleBits.

 

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2) How do you use littleBits in your Coder Dojo? Which set do you have?
We have the Workshop Set, plus some Korg synth gear. We dedicate a whole table to littleBits and find it a really useful area that people drop into throughout the day. As we progress, we will start to build more specific activities and projects around littleBits – we’re just learning right now.

 

3) What kind of projects have your community members made using littleBits?
Right now, we’ve been getting used to the kits. The size and scale of our events means we see lots of small hacks which people try.

Additionally, because we have so many littleBits, we lend them out to other groups elsewhere in the city. So, we’ve had littleBits sessions in two schools, one college, one other CoderDojo , and a community project.  It’s been really helpful – both in terms of giving them some content/material, but also building links across providers (following the Hive / Mozilla model).

One more concrete project we participated in was in February. Manchester, is currently the City of Science, with a dedicated strand around building a Robot Orchestra. We took the littleBits along to a workshop to create such an orchestra. Check out some of the music we created.


4) What impact has the presence of littleBits had on your space and/or community?
It’s been very positive. We’ve found them to be really useful to engage new people – and have been surprised how the kit can scale across different ages and interests.

 

5) What’s been the most exciting part about running a Global Chapter in your Coder Dojo?
Since many people are seeing littleBits for the first time, we jokingly tell people we’re a local exclusive.