Amazon Web Services Educator Leader Puay San – Alexa skills project

ALEXA SKILL COMP!

Hey everyone, we have a big announcement! Next Thursday 28th June from 4: 30 pm until 5: 00 pm we have Puay San from Amazon arrive at 2pi Software CoWs (Co-working Space). She is a leader in the Amazon Web services (AWS) Educator program, she’ll be here to teach us and the students more about AWS, Alexa and help out with any of the team of students ideas for a skill in the Alexa Skill Competition.

The competition, held by Amazon and 2pi Software, is about the Artificially Intelligent VUI (Voice User Interface) “Amazon Alexa”! We are getting as many Students as we can to gather teams.

A presentation was held by myself, Jorden Dakis, and local student Hunter De Jong, at the last Code Night at CoWs about the details of the competition as well as introductory information on Alexa Skills. The competition is focussed on building an agricultural themed application for the Alexa using the Alexa developer and other Amazon Web Services to create a skill over the next 3 months. The skill can be created in teams of 3 or less. We encourage any High School student who is interested to contact us at 2pi Software to get involved and get their team together! A great opportunity! Whoever develops the most creative skill wins an accommodated trip to Canberra’s AWS summit, and other prizes yet to be announced.

Here at 2pi Software and CoWS Near The Coast Bega, we will be holding a support session every Friday from 3: 00 pm until 5: 00 pm where we can help out the students competing with any problems or with their ideas for the Alexa as well as interest them in what we have created. The first session is held this Friday the 22nd of June! Anyone is welcome to come so bring all your mates! Again 3: 00pm to 5: 00pm! Can’t wait to see everyone and help with their ideas. This Friday is a good chance to get stuck into it so we can all be prepared for Thursday 28th of June when Puay San is here.

So form a team! Come to CoWs this Friday 22nd of June! Learn from Puay San next Thursday 28th of June! Win Prizes!! Can’t wait to see you all and what you can create!

I’ll be back to write about Puay San’s visit and what the students learned.
Thank you, Jorden Dakis 2pi Software.

Upcoming Event – Bega AgTech Days

Hey everyone, we here at CoWS are exicted to be part of the Bega AgTech Days event beginning on the 28th of march in Bega. The event is being held by intoIT a local non-profit organisation focused on linking professionals with an interest in technology together.

The event runs for two days and covers the following themes:

  • AgTech Lean Canvas fast-growth startup strategies
  • CSIRO funding opportunities
  • Introductions to new AgTech Startups
  • Networking functions with highly informed sector leaders
  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
  • Food Security using smart trade-marks
  • Application of ‘The Internet of Things’ to farming

Head over to begaagtech.com.au to learn more and register for any of these captivating talks.

First regular Code Night next Thursday 5th February

Regular coding nights at CoWS!

Every first Thursday of the month.

Date and Time: Thursday, 5th February, from 5pm to 8pm.

Location: CoWS near the Coast at 101 Carp St, Bega.

Format: have fun, code and meet people, share and get help with your ideas.

What to bring:

  • laptop, power supply!!
  • a snack and drink (NO alcohol)

What’s the cost? It’s FREE!

Please RSVP as there are only about 20 spaces! (or bring a camping chair)

1st Introduction to Coding Workshop at CoWS, Sunday May 18th 1pm – 5pm FREE!

Who is this for?

Foremost we aim at beginners of all age and gender.
We encourage anyone with a curiosity about how computers and modern devices like smart-phones work to come along and explore the wonderful world of coding.

What you can expect:

  • a fun learning experience
  • beginner friendly
  • female friendly

The setup:

  • we use Clojure, a modern, functional programming language that is great for exploring the fundamentals of coding.
  • very hands-on: we explain a concept or coding idea, then you try it out
  • work in pairs: two minds, one keyboard and screen
  • initial session will be a half day / 4 hours
  • at CoWS in Bega
  • more sessions by popular demand
  • online support when you explore further on your own and have questions

Details:
Free event
Time: Sunday May 18th from 1pm till 5pm
Location: CoWS at 209 Carp St, Bega
Web: http://cowsnearthecoast.com.au/
Bring a laptop if you can, Windows, Mac and Linux are all fine (Java 6 or 7 is needed but we can help you set it up at the workshop)

Please sign up by sending an email to harry.binnendijk@gmail.com and tell us how many are in your party

Who we are:

Harry Binnendijk, Clojure developer

Liam O’Duibhir, Carsten Eckelmann, CoWS near the Coast

See you soon!

An evening of Scratch with the Sapphire Foundation

Last Tuesday the CoWS was host to the first meeting of this year’s Sapphire Foundation students and parents. To celebrate the occasion and technology, Karl was invited to lead another workshop about programming in Scratch. It was a fun and successful evening and one of the students said afterwards: “I learned more about programming in these 2 hours than in one whole term of computing at school.”

The Sapphire Foundation recently had its kick-off meeting at the CoWS and Warwick Adams, the founder, had this to report:

We had the kick-off meeting for the steering committee of the Sapphire Foundation. This involved the parents of the 6 science scholarship students at Bega High and SapphireCoast Anglican College. The scholarship strategy focusses on the ‘non classroom’ elements of getting kids interested in and involved with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) – extra-curricular activities, parental involvement and mentoring.

We discussed what the students had been doing so far – four of them went to science camps over the last school holidays (a CSIRO ‘Bootcamp’ and 3-day ‘Science Experience’ programs at Sydney and Macquarie Unis) and a couple families had also gone to a whole range of exhibitions and venues in Sydney.

Several of the kids are about to start CSIRO ‘CREST’ projects, where they choose their own topic and go away and research or build it. They can spend anywhere from 30 hours to 100 hours on the project, depending on what level they want to tackle it. One of the Year 9 students has also just won a place in the ‘Gifted and Talented Discovery Program’ which runs at Sydney Uni in July and October – the first time ever for a Bega Valley student.

Everyone is interested in the concept that you are developing – we feel that robotics, computing and UAV’s in particular would be a hit with 14 to 17 year-old kids – but we recognise the real issue of finding a group of volunteers with enough time to get it going properly.

The steering committee decided, as our next step, to get all the kids together at the end of April (along with the parents) to get to know each other and talk about stuff – we think there are some common interests that can be developed.

The committee meeting wrapped up (after 2.5 hours) and was very successful. The parents went away still chatting and very enthusiastic about the direction the scholarship program is taking.

Warwick Adams, Chair, The Sapphire Foundation 
www.sapphire-foundation.org  www.facebook.com/thesapphirefoundation 

Kids Programming Night was a Great Success!

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw that there were 12 young people sitting here and soaking up Karl’s introduction to Scratch programming! After Karl’s demo there was some time to hack together some quick experiments and start on more interesting games.

Later in the evening Aurin showed how he navigates the multitude of radial menus to create and change games in Kodu, a really eye opening experience to some of us old geezers, but also very interesting to the kids. Karl commented that “Kodu is like Scratch on steroids!”

We were lucky to have Ben Smyth from the Bega District News shoot some really nice photos and write up a very positive article:

http://www.begadistrictnews.com.au/story/2202936/begas-young-cows-a-tech-savvy-herd

Chris Sheedy from EdgeFM was also around and took some very professional photos:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/re-flexe/sets/72157643488499855/

For all those who want to get into Scratch or Kodu programming, here are the links again to get started:

http://scratch.mit.edu/scratch_1.4/

http://www.kodugamelab.com/

Please stay tuned for more events like this in the near future!

This Friday: Kids are programming at the CoWS

Announcing a first programming workshop at the CoWS this Friday – for parents and children.

We will be looking at programming environments that are appealing to kids. The workshop will be led by Karl Auer.

When:  This Friday, 4 April 2014, 6pm
Where: At CoWS (209 Carp Street Bega), where else?
What:  A demo of the programming language/game Scratch
(And maybe a demo of the Corona SDK for mobile development)
Who:   Karl Auer, Aurin Yang
Cost:  Gold coin donation to CoWS, kids free
RSVP:  Not necessary, but appreciated.

Scratch is a programming tool. It’s a graphical environment with colourful programming elements that you can drag and drop so they snap together. It is really easy to make and control things like sprites, plus there are lots of pre-made ones that you can use straight away. Programming gratification is literally only minutes away 🙂

Behind the fun there is a serious purpose – teaching programming. Anyone will get a buzz out of it, but it is aimed squarely at the absolute beginner – and definitely including kids of pretty much any age. If they understand click, drag and drop, they can probably enjoy Scratch.

Most programming features are there, like repeat/until, if/then/else, global and local variables, arithmetic and logical operators and so on. Plus it’s inherently object oriented, with a simple but effective message-passing mechanism. None of which you need to know about, care about or understand to get started and have fun!

Scratch works on a bunch of operating systems including Linux, MSWindows and OSX, and there is also an online version that you can use if you don’t want to actually install it. A thriving community means there are zillions of sample programs to learn from, and of course you can contribute your own.

The demo will go for half and hour or so plus questions, longer if the interest is there.

You can download Scratch here: http://scratch.mit.edu/

Aurin will demo the Kodu Gamelab, an immersive environment for developing 3D games and simulations. It currently runs only on Windows and XBOX and it is very fun to play with. Like Scratch, it has a very active community and lots of example games to get inspirations from. Aurin has played with Kodu during most of his computer time (which is only 2 hours on weekends) and he wants to share his enthusiasm for this platform.

You can download Kodu here: http://www.kodugamelab.com/

See you Friday!

An Evening with the Toastmasters of Bega

The members of the fledgling Toastmaster club had a wonderful evening at the CoWS. I must say that it certainly was the largest number of participants to one of the meetings yet, and that is thanks to 3 new members who turned up on the night and signed up on the spot!

Toastmasters of Bega

 

If you are interested in becoming a Toastmaster to practice public speaking you can find the contact details in our previous post.

Toastmasters in the House

Announcing the Bega Toastmasters will be meeting next Tuesday 18th March, 5:30 pm at the CoWS.

Toastmaster meetings are a great place to practice and improve your public speaking skills in a safe and friendly environment.

The Bega Toastmasters Chapter is still very young, but has already been featured in the Bega district news: http://www.begadistrictnews.com.au/story/1878577/bega-toastmasters-raise-a-glass/

More information on what Toastmasters is all about: http://www.toastmasters.org/

CONTACT DETAILS

Email: toastmastersbega@outlook.com

or call

Jacqui Brown 0499 766 361

Leanne Atkinson 0414 417 315