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Red Hat CO.LAB_Jan 2019

Red Hat CO.LAB_Jan 2019

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A day of mentoring with Red Hat CO.LAB at the Tate Modern alongside Femi, Nishka, and Avni!

On Wednesday 30th of January, I was part of the team running a CO.LAB workshop

at the Tate Modern. The event was organised by Red Hat, who are the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source solutions. In 2017, Red Hat launched CO.LAB, presented by Open Source Stories, in Boston. Since then they have shared the principles of open source and collaboration with more than one hundred middle school female students in five US locations. CO.LAB teaches students how to work together to solve problems, encounter new ideas, and create something entirely new out of a shared experience. They also aim to create diversity in the tech world. It was the first time that Red Hat organised the CO.LAB event in London. 

The curriculum was developed by Femi (aka Hackerfemo). Working collaboratively with the Red Hat team, Femi, Nishka, Avni and myself mentored the 12 schoolgirls from two different London secondary schools. They were faced with the challenge of developing an interactive music tool using the Micro:bit to send instructions to a musical installation. The girls were introduced to coding, the concept of open source and learned about the power of collaboration.

As I was a mentor, I had to arrive earlier (9.00am) than the schoolgirls who were due to arrive at 10.00am. I was warmly greeted by the Red Hat team & led to the workshop location in the Tate Modern. I thought it was really cool of them to give me a Red Hat backpack filled with surprises. I was also given a RedHat CO.LAB tee-shirt to wear for the day. With the other two mentors (Nishka and Avni) we were given a run-through of the day by Grace (Femi’s mum).

Immediately after 10 am the 12 girls came in and were shown to their tables. At first it was a little daunting speaking to the girls on my table but as soon as we started the workshop it became easier and easier. The session started with an introduction from the Red Hat team who talked about Red Hat, their mission and the aim of the day – which was to be collaborative. In addition, Femi, Nishka, Avni and myself got the chance to introduce ourselves to all the attendees. Next, we all played a little interactive game with the Micro:bit. When you pressed button A or B on the Micro:bit, a picture appeared and you had to find someone else in the room with the same picture as you. It was a nice touch as it acted an ice breaker.

The first part of the workshop was an introduction to the Micro:bit given by Femi. He explained what the microcontroller was, the cool features it has and what you could do with it. For example, the girls learned how to code the Micro: bit’s LED display, the simulator, the accelerometer, temperature sensor, etc.

Leading on from the first part of the workshop, the girls used the Micro:bit’s accelerometer to trigger musical notes using different hand gestures. They modified a woolen glove so that the Micro:bit could be worn on one hand.

During the third part of the session, the girls coded their Micro:bit musical glove to send melodies, rhythms, and harmonies, using radio group signals, to a musical box. Personally, I think this final stage of the workshop was the most fun and collaborative part of the day. As a team, we tried to make a tune with each other. Similarly, the decoration of the box was fun and really brought the girls together.

After the workshop sessions, I did a small presentation on what else could be done with the musical glove. I demonstrated how you could generate music with the Micro:bit and the Garage Band app. I was glad that after my presentation David Whale also presented a similar concept and showed us how other cool sounds could be created.

Throughout the day, I think the girls really enjoyed themselves and hopefully they will carry on coding in the future. To make sure the next workshop is the best it can possibly be, Femi, Nishka, Avni, me and the parents sat down together and discussed what we thought could be done better and what worked well.

I would like to say a big thank you to all the Red Hat team, they were very welcoming & supportive. The film crew was awesome and put everybody at ease! Big kudos to Femi & members of the tech and maker community (David Whale, Neil Boggie, Thomas Stratford & London Makerspace team) for coming together to create a stunning sound box!

Overall, I think it was a big success and everybody left happy!


Hi, my name is Avye and I love making, coding, designing, exploring new technology and swimming! This site is about the things I get to experience, discover and enjoy. Welcome to my world!

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