From Lindsay, Digital City Executive: The Digital York Team recently welcomed another work experience student into the team. Joshua McDowell is a 15 year old student from All Saints secondary school and as part of his placement I asked him to write a blog on his week working for the team! This is the first time Josh has written a blog and it was great to see that he had such a great experience with us! Josh was an absolute delight to work with and if he would like further work experience then we would snap him up straight away!! Read his blog below....
During the course of my one week placement at the City of York Council West Offices, working with the Digital York team, I have had a fantastic opportunity to learn how Lindsay and Jae work together to make York companies more active digitally to help them expand and grow. In addition to this I have been able to witness how they organise all their projects to keep on top of everything so they don’t lose track of the end goal.
Throughout the week I have been able to take part in meetings; copy up notes for the meeting so that they can refer to them and find their information easily and clearly; observe their CodeYork classes; plan a project using a microbit; spend a short amount of time with a Raspberry Pi; and learn all about the work the Digital York team do.
One of their projects includes volunteer-led after school coding clubs which is designed to help children grasp and master the discipline of coding. This project has expanded from the start of this year to them being able to run classes that range from years five and six all the way up to college year two. Hopefully, it will continue to grow and educate students from schools across York of the same age. Furthermore, the team are hoping to run advanced CodeYork clubs in several schools throughout York, to keep the increasing number of children interested in coding growing.
My best part of the week was being able to spend time with a micro:bit understand how they work and planning a project that the team will be able to teach in the future. When I was given the micro:bit I was shocked at how small the device was. At first I was able to work through some of the resources the team already use to teach classes to become comfortable using the device and get my ideas flowing. After working through the resources I started to learn what the micro:bit was capable of, and then I was asked to make my own mini project. In all honesty I didn’t know where to start, but Lindsay and Jae helped me come up with several ideas that might be possible. My favourite idea involved creating the game ‘Snake’ to be displayed and controlled on the little machine. To begin with I thought it was going to be impossible but the team encouraged me and a fellow work experience student to create the videogame concept where the player manoeuvres a line which grows in length, with the line itself being a primary obstacle. I have to admit it was hard work making the game and at times I wanted to change it but we pushed on and in the end, we were able to complete a fully functioning version of the retro videogame, ‘Snake’. Then it was time to have fun playing the game we were able to create. Moreover, I believe that applause should be awarded to Jae for getting the highest scored, which is frustrating as I couldn’t beat it myself!
In addition to this, I was asked to create a resource using Python, a programming language which I learn about at school, to do so I decided to develop an Excuse Generator that allow the user to generate an excuse for forgetting their homework by entering a few details, such as their name, their teacher and subject. If the user didn’t like the excuse they were given the option to be displayed another excuse to the screen and so on until they found an excuse they like. I decided to do this as I thought the pupils would find this interesting and be able to relate to it as everyone forget their homework occasionally; at the same time, they would learn some valuable programming techniques that will allow them to advance their ability and skills for the future.
Additionally, I was able to attend one of the CodeYork classes that are held at the Mount every Wednesday that run between half past three and five o’clock. These classes are open for any student for the Mount School to attend. During these classes I observed Jae and the CodeYork volunteers help the pupil advance their programming language knowledge and skills, while having fun in the process.
To conclude, I have toughly enjoyed my week at the City of York Council and working with the Digital York team. I would like to say a big thank you to Lindsay and Jae for being very welcoming and friendly towards me and allowing me to do my work experience placement with them. I hope you both continue to be successful with all your projects and continue the Digital York program to help businesses across York expand and grow and keep improving the coding skills of all ages!