Making the future in Australia
Not content with just inspiring the kids of England with technology, we have spread our wings and flown Fire Tech Camp to the amazing City of Perth WA for the inaugural Fire Tech Camp Australia.
We had an incredible week creating, experimenting and learning at Tech Hub in downtown Perth, beginning with our ever popular Minecraft Maker course. 14 eager students arrived on Monday morning ready to learn everything about Minecraft and more! Lead by long-time Fire Tech tutor Jim Christian the campers explored creating worlds in Minecraft, modelling their own structures and decorations using TinkerCAD and bringing it all together with external software such as McEdit.
On day two campers got to grips with Redstone, the electronics system built into Minecraft itself. Using Redstone to create secret doors, traps, puzzles and even complicated logic gates all within Minecraft.
The third and final day of Minecraft Maker saw the students using Bananas, Play Dough, Tinfoil and paper plates to create their own Minecraft controllers using the brilliant Makey Makey kits, learning all about circuits and electronics in the process.
On Thursday Ozobot made its mark for the very first time in Australia. Students began the day by discussing to robots and their uses before being introduced to the Ozobot mini-robots. Students put the Ozobot through its paces by testing it out on a variety of race-tracks and mazes, seeing how the robot followed lines and detected colour.
Next they learned how to modify the Ozobot’s behaviour using colour codes to make the robot speed up, slow down, change direction and even dance! Using the colour codes campers were then challenged to complete a series of increasingly difficult problems using their logical thinking skills to guide the Ozobot through obstacle courses and mazes.
After a break outdoors to teach us all about Australian Football or AFL we returned to Tech Hub to learn how to program the Ozobots using Ozoblockly.
But what do you program a tiny robot to do? You program them to dance of course! Campers spent the afternoon learning key programming concepts by making their Ozobots dance, solve puzzles and even recreate famous movie scenes!
Ozobot proved to be incredibly popular down under, with one camper even remarking “I LOVED IT! please make me come back!”
Programming games with Java
On the 5th and final day an older group of campers got to grips with the popular Java programming language. Using Java and the Greenfoot game development software campers created their own incredible games in just one day!
Exploring complex programming concepts including functions, loops, object orientation and inheritance campers gained a host of useful programming skills while having loads of fun at the same time!
Most students had never coded before but by the end of the day everyone was a confident coder, with not a missing semicolon in sight!
The first Fire Tech Camp Australia was a massive hit and we can’t wait to return to Perth in July! Keep your eyes peeled on http://www.firetechcamp.com.au/ for more information about upcoming camps in Australia and https://www.firetechcamp.com/ for our camps back home in the UK.