Tag Archives: digital art

Virtual Futures

Hello! Ben Neal here, I’m a Creative Coder and Gadgeteer who’s been working with years 5 and 6 to create futuristic computer controllers to navigate around virtual worlds filled with our artwork.

During last term we used the LittleBits kits and MakeyMakeys to create our own Human Interface Devices made from recycled cardboard boxes and padded envelopes to replace the mouse and keyboard.

We made drawings of what we think we’ll look like in the year 2097 and added these to an interactive 3D world around which we can navigate and explore.

Below you can see some screenshots of what we’ve been up to and an animation of a virtual wall full of students work.

Click play to watch the video above

LittleBits kit
LittleBits kit
3D World
Inventor’s Schematic
Interactive vitual boxes


Coordinates, Electronics and Treasure – Aspire Day

My name is Ashley and Im a Digital Artist who has worked in Hobmoor as part of the Every Child Is An Artist project.

Today for Aspire Day I worked with pupils and we used a combination of Maths skills, alongside engineering and electronics to be pirates out to discover and retrieve treasure.

Problem Solving

Most of the Maths we used today involved problem solving. One of the most used skills across the curriculum from subjects such as science to sports and all areas of development.

Logical Thinking

Working iteratively and making decisions based on estimates and coming to conclusions based on a process of thinking and elimination.

Coordinates and Maps

Using columns and rows to describe a position on a map and to use terminology to pinpoint a place.

Directions / Instructions

Using instructions to create a series of coordinates so that a route could be followed across the map to avoid the obstacles.

Electronics and Engineering

Using Little Bits to create a pirate winch to haul up the treasure chest. We worked iteratively to improve our design to build a strong enough winch to lift the weight of the treasure box.


What did we make ?

The pupils created instructions from the Maps to find routes across the seas to reach the Treasure and then constructed a working crane winch to lift up the treasure box containing a stash of chocolate bunnies !




Creating our own Drawing Tools

One of the amazing things about technology is in the way in which it can enable all of us to become makers and creators. We can learn a tool and then apply our own artistic and creative understanding to produce different outcomes from it. We can even make our own tools for expression.

This week the pupils in Year 5 and Year 6 have been programming their own drawing machines using Scratch.



Last week we looked at how programming is much like reading a list of instructions and making sure we apply those instructions in the correct order. Using our (if this, do that) method of understanding, we could build up a series of instructions to perform a program.

Computers are not as clever as us humans and so we need to give them exact instructions or they will not do as we ask. We can also figure out ways of getting them to perform lots of tasks with as little effort from us as possible.

We must remember that there can often be many different ways to solve the same problem in programming.



Last week we also explored variables – values that are stored on the computer and can change either via instructions from the program or from user interaction, such as pressing a key on the keyboard.

We looked at 2 types of variables: strings which are characters, letters or words and integers which are whole numbers.

Our integer variables this week were the co ordinates of the character on the screen, called ‘x’ and ‘y’. By changing the numbers we could manipulate the character and make it move. Using our (if this, do that) structure we could create a keyboard press IF and a variable change THAT to produce the movement. We had to press the key a lot of times to make our character move about !



To create instructions that repeat themselves over and over again we learned about ‘Recursion’ or Looping/Repeating. This enables us to take a few instructions and repeat them many times without having to keep sending the same instructions again and again.

Making our character move with one instruction was really fun. Making him move 20 steps in one direction involved a lot of key presses; imagine that it needed to move 1000 steps….

By taking an instruction and repeating it we could have one key press perform many actions for us!




Drawing Tools?

Learning repetition is much more fun when we can use it to draw shapes for us on screen.

Understanding how to repeat a simple instruction such as move forward and turn right 90 degrees we could build up repetitions to allow us to instruct the computer to move in a square shape and draw it out for us. (Hint: we repeated the instruction 4 times)

Using Scratch, we were able to take simple instructions and repeat them to create our own creative drawing tool. Using the Pen commands we created a spirograph/etch-a-sketch tool that responded to our inputs from the keyboard.

By changing the variables we could create different shapes and colours. By adding in the ability to stamp our character sprite on the screen we could create colourful spiral drawings made of ghosts, unicorns and cats.