Smacky Cars in Scratch

If you haven’t seen the new game called Smacky Cars on the AppStore it won’t be long until you do. On the playability and annoy-ability front, think Flappy Bird with cars!

Smacky Cars

The aim of the game is to dodge the cars as they come whizzing towards you. I only saw this game last nigth and straight away got my Scratch skills out to see if I could remix it a little.

Here is the final product, feel free to remix it on the Scratch site, I tried it out with some Year 7’s today and they loved it!!

Let me know what you think.

As always, enjoy :)

Pearson Teaching Awards 2014


Having been kindly nominated by my school, Ysgol Bryn Elian, I went through an assessment process in early April. Two assessors visited the school where I had my Year 7 students playing with the Raspberry Pi’s and Pibrella breakout boards. It seems like a lifetime ago since they came in, and today finally arrived. Thank a Teacher Day.

I arrived at school in anticipation of the result and waited for some news, any news, an email, phone call, anything to put me out of my misery. Yet it did not arrive in the timely manner I had originally hoped. I got to break and still no news, people coming up to me saying have you heard anything yet and my answer remained “no not yet”, I was beginning to think it was not looking good.

After break I was teaching my Year 11 students when the head’s PA asked me to go and help the head with a problem in studio 1 as the IT manager was out of the building, so I promptly went on my way to assist. As I arrived at studio 1, I saw Mrs Hughes coming towards me, apologising for requesting my assistance, and as I got closer to the entrance, I saw the IT manager in there. At this point I thought she had lost the plot as I felt like saying “Kev is there look!!”

Where my story ends, the video takes over. Can I thank Mrs. Herbert for her very kind write up that was my nomination, very kind words. You don’t realise how lucky you are until you hear something like that. Secondly, thank you to the awesome team of people who I work closely with who in addition to me, make this stuff happen, Kev, Craig, Mel, Nick, and the leadership team for thankfully sharing my vision for the future of technology use in Bryn Elian and for allowing me the freedom to run, experiment, learn, share and succeed, and lastly Liz at Raspberry Pi for highlighting the work I had done in education with the Raspberry Pi that the foundation saw educational value in. I continue to strengthen my own expertise in this area to continue assisting colleagues in my region and beyond.

I now head to the House of Commons on the 24th June for a celebratory tea, I’d better be on my best behaviour. Then on to London in October for the final. Fingers crossed for the gold award. In between now and then I’m busy working in Primary schools doing Raspberry Pi training and doing CPD in North Wales for Minecraft and Raspberry Pi, so I’m sure it will fly by, enjoy the video and seeing my “fix a problem face” turn into shock and realisation.

#CPiD – THE Raspberry Pi CPD in North Wales

CPiD gives teachers across all education authorities in North Wales, the chance to get familiar with the Raspberry Pi. Having attended the recent Picademy at Pi towers in Cambridge, and now a Certified Educator no less, I will be helping both primary and secondary teachers with all things Pi. There are three dates available in June with more to follow in the next academic year, all promising to be packed with examples of how you can use the Pi to great effect in your classroom, whilst at the same time, helping you understand some of the basics to build confidence.

The events are being held in Conwy on the 16th June, 18th June, and 20th June 2014, to book your place, visit the links below.

16th June

18th June

20th June

There are only 10 spaces on each day so book early!

Places cost £99 and include an absolutely awesome goodie bag thanks to our wonderful sponsors:

Cyntech – David, extremely helpful and all round super awesome, can’t thank enough!

CPC – Lindsey, super duper person to deal with!

ModMyPi – Jean, one of the nicest suppliers we’ve ever dealt with, like EVER!

The MagPi Magazine – thanks Will/Colin, i’ll be sure to send you the story afterwards too!


I look forward to seeing you all there, ready for some really exciting #CPiD




Seven Segments of Pi Lesson Plans

Here is a set of four lesson plans to use the seven segments of pi, leading up to the final project. All links to resources are included.


As always, enjoy!

Control Fla-Pi Bird with a Pibrella

If you want to control Fla-Pi bird with the lovely big red button on a Pibrella, make two simple changes to your code.

Instructions can be found here and take a look at this video below:

As always, enjoy!

Pi-Land in Minecraft – Map Download

Just over a week ago I posted about Pi-Island, a Raspberry Pi made in Minecraft with the main (not all) components on a pi. Mainly aimed at KS2/3 pupils to introduce the pi from a component/make up point of view and to promote discussion and interest in the Raspberry Pi.

After a few comments and a bit of feedback, here is the map ready to download. Yes, it’s for Pocket Edition but Craig Richardson (@CraigArgh) assures me the map can be imported into Minecraft Pi too, I was VERY pleased to hear this. Also, Adam Clarke (@thecommonpeople) also said we could wire it up to and create a PHP mod (I’ll leave that one to him, I can’t wait to see it!)

The map can be put on any iOS device running Minecraft Pocket Edition, you will need to download the free program iFunBox (Windows), and connect your device(s) via the cable. Firstly, open iFunBox and click iFunBox Classic:

iFunBox Classic

Then, put the unzipped Pisland folder in the minecraftWorlds folder (User Applications>MinecraftPE>Documents>games>com.mojang>minecraftWorlds):
minecraftWorlds Folder

Disconnect the device, load up Minecraft and open the island map to take a tour around a Raspberry Pi in Minecraft!

Welcome to Pi-Land

I hope you like it, and look forward to seeing what else you do with it, feel free to comment below or tweet me at @MrAHeard

As always, enjoy!


Fla-Pi Bird in 6 Lessons

A while ago I created Flappy-Bird as a basic Scratch file and posted it here on my blog and put the basic files in Dropbox. Since then I have done some work that will hopefully come in useful if you want to create this game in class.

Click here for the introduction and links to all of the lessons. All the game saves at various points to match the lessons, graphics, and sounds are available in the same Github repository.

I hope you enjoy using it!

If you like it/use it, please feel free to comment below.

Fla-Pi Bird


Creating a Pi-land in Minecraft

There is an update to this post here that includes a map download.

Here is a resource I am working on at the moment, it’s a Raspberry Pi island in Minecraft, soon to be complete with signs so KS2/3 children can walk around it and learn about the components of a Pi.

Broadcom view.

Ground zero of the Pi.

Any thoughts much appreciated at this early stage of development.

Picademy – The Raspberry Pi Academy

It’s been almost a week since the Picademy began, and for me I suppose it held a different meaning to the majority of teachers that attended. I’ve had a Pi since day 1 when I was frantically clicking just like everyone else to get hold of one. Again, like most, I plugged it in, thought “Kewl!” And then it sat there for maybe a month or so until I cracked to open to have a real go at what it could do. For me, being a child who coded back in the 80’s and spent most of my young life on Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and the like, one of the first things I got it doing was retro gaming, this provided a spark of interest amongst the children in my school, most of which had never heard of the likes of Frogger! I digress, back to Picademy!
As a lead teacher at Picademy, I was invited because of the success I have had in integrating the Pi into the Tech-Dojo events I have organised at Ysgol Bryn Elian and for some of the innovative tasks I have had children complete using Scratch.
So bright and early on Monday 14th April 2014, we all waited in anticipation of what lay ahead. The agenda for the day was absolutely jam-packed, and rightly so. So much to cram in that was fun, relevant, useful, and had a deep learning outcome. We played with the PiCamera initially, something I’d yet to have a go with, I’ve got to say, the libraries of software that comes with this is impressive, with lots to do and learn along the way. It was at this point that my focus in Picademy took hold.

I was completely immersed in watching how teachers learn.

They obviously learn in the same way children do, and face the same issues children do, and experience the same things children do. Fear of embarrassment, exploration, discovery, awe, wonder, intrigue, sense of achievement, but then teachers have that extra facet to their learning, application. The conversations throughout the tasks often centred around where the best learning outcome was in the task for children. Of course there were many. Creativity, coding, and problem solving to mention a few.
Working with another Wales based colleague I guided him through coding in Python where we encountered syntax errors and then shared the joy when we were successful.

We then moved on to physical computing and experimenting with the GPIO pins on the Pi, coding traffic lights. A task I’d already completed with my Year 7 class using Scratch last term. Again, seeing how teachers tackled this was really intriguing. Here we were, only two sessions in and complete novices were confidently plugging in hardware.
This was a completely new experience for most of the teachers, but one which they all found a lot of fun and extremely rewarding. I heard lots of of people burst out with “Yes!” a few times when it worked as they wanted it to.
Next up was Minecraft, the tasks provided by Craig Richardson were absolutely brilliant and allowed all to code Minecraft using Python. Dave Honess couldn’t overstate just how much children love Minecraft and that by using this as a hook, once again, deep learning could take place. If you haven’t seen the Minecraft work by Craig before, it is seriously top drawer and well worth a peek! You’re children will love it!
What followed in the afternoon was a session using @SamAaron‘s Sonic Pi. Sam is one of the most inspirational, motivated coders with an absolute passion for what he does it was a pleasure to be in his company. He provided a session on Sonic Pi before everyone got coding music. It all went a bit disco/90’s rave by the end of it, but some great music was being coded across the room.
The second day began with talks from Eben Upton, Matt Manning, and Sam Aaron, before a day of hacking and making got underway. Lots of great projects took shape and teachers were busy playing with components, LED’s, PiCameras, and breakout boards. There was a real buzz in the air as everyone started hacking their projects.
Here is a video of our bullet-Time Babbage project, unfortunately, not the desired matrix style as we ran out of time, but not forgetting, the production as well as the filming of the video was all done on a Raspberry Pi!

For the Foundation, it’s vitally important that the whole Education arm is sustainable, particularly as far as educational resources are concerned. For that reason, we enjoyed a session on GitHub from Ben Nuttall about how best to go about documenting lesson plans and schemes of work. Lincoln even made an appearance here which he was very pleased with.
The event was wrapped up by Carrie Anne Philbin who did a superb job in putting this quality CPD together. Attendees shared their experiences of the two days before eagerly heading off on their individual journeys to a life of Pi.

For me personally, I look forward to mirroring the success of this event when I take Picademy to the teachers of North Wales this summer. One thing is for sure as far as the Foundations core aims are concerned building and getting the Pi to where it is now was the first part of the job, now, it’s up to educationalists alike to populate a wealth of resources to really take the movement forward so that computer science can once again become commonplace amongst our young learners.

Look out for more Picademy events in the future!