Ysgol Bryn Elian – Digital Pioneer School

It is with great excitement that we can announce YBE as a Digital Pioneer School that will work with a select few schools across Wales to shape the curriculum for the future. We push the limits of technology at YBE and have a great team working hard to bring latest technologies and innovation into the classroom. We can’t wait to see where we can take this!

Find out more here


Summer Tech-Dojo – Rhyl 2015

Come and learn all about the fun and exciting things you can do with a Raspberry Pi. There will be a range of activities including hacking Minecraft using Python and creating an artificially intelligent chatbot.

This event is aimed at 10 year olds and above, if your child is younger than 10, please contact the event organiser prior to booking.

Each day is exactly the same so you only need to book your child on to one of the days as places are limited therefore BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL ON ONE OF THE DAYS ONLY. 

Parents/carers are encouraged to attend with their child however only a child place needs to be booked.

The Rhyl Tech-Dojo will run for 3 dates in July, please book using one of the links below.

Monday 27th July 2015 10am – 2pm

Tuesday 28th July 2015 10am – 2pm

Wednesday 29th July 2015 10am – 2pm

Rhyl TD Flyer

Introduction to Programming Using Computer Craft in Minecraft

Comms I’ve been messing around with ComputerCraft for a while now and I think it’s a great mod for Minecraft. Recently I’ve been working on a series of lessons to introduce programming using this mod and in particular the programmable turtles and terminals.

I’ve created a series of 7 lessons:

  1. Command line and Conditionals
  2. Variables and Boolean Logic
  3. Logical Expressions
  4. While and For Loops
  5. Functions
  6. ComputerCraft Communications
  7. Programming Challenges

The lessons can be run on any version of Minecraft with the ComputerCraft mod installed. There is also an accompanying map you could use with programming challenge stations set up. 

The lessons are on GitHub and the link to the map can be found on the main page.

I hope you find the lessons useful, please send feedback via Twitter @MrAHeard

As always, enjoy! :)

Happy Halloween, Frozen Style!

With Frozen seemingly taking over the planet and indeed our household, it was no surprise that when I asked the children what kind of pumpkin we should carve this year, my two year old daughter immediately said “Frozen pumpkin!”

So with Pinterest as our guide the only digital bit about this task, (the iPad clearly visible in the background as our muse) we set about on our carving mission!

The children really enjoyed watching us make it, and even set about drawing Olaf, hopefully the trick or treaters tonight will enjoy it just as much!



PumpkinPi – Raspberry Pi powered Pumpkin

I got the Halloween stuff out of the loft today in preparation for the scary end to October. I decided to get a bit creative with a few LEDs, a speaker, a Rasbperry Pi, a Pibrella, and of course a large plastic pumpkin.

What followed was a mini-make session where I mounted a battery powered pi on the back of the pumpkin and wired up to a button ready to scare any unsuspecting trick or treaters!



Ysgol Bryn Elian Sports Day 2014

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!