Get Kookin’ With Kookaberry
|Countdown link||Open timer|
I’ve been a big fan of the BBC micro:bit for years now, but then I heard there was a new Aussie kid on the embedded systems block, the “Kookaberry”. I was interested to hear more but skeptical that it could lure me away from the micro:bit lifestyle where I’d invested my time learning and developing content. But here I am, 6 months into my Kookaberry journey, and I’m a total convert.
I’ll take you through my journey of discovery and show you how Kookaberry gives you an easier entry point to MicroPython and embedded systems for beginners, more extendable, realistic, and relatable project experiences for your existing programmers (without having to get the breadboards out!), and how you can utilise Kookaberry in a huge range of cross-curricular applications.
I’ve spent the last 6 months getting to know the Kookaberry, the AustSTEM Foundation’s new MicroPython based embedded system aimed at getting Aussie kids engaged with STEM.
At first I was reluctant to go all in on the Kookaberry, because I could see ways in which it didn’t obviously fit my existing content I’d designed for micro:bit, and I simply couldn’t imagine what else I would want to build and teach. But once I got past the worry of “what if my micro:bit content doesn’t transfer over”, and opened my mind up to the new things I could do and the barriers that had been removed, a whole new world of possibilities opened up.
I’ll take you through some of my favourite features of the Kookaberry, and how they make all the difference to beginners learning about coding and embedded systems for the first time. I’ll also show you how you can get students with only a little experience designing and building tech that feels like a real prototype (no breadboards required!).
I’ll discuss some of my experiences with Kookaberry in the classroom so far, and my future plans for a diverse range of cross-curricular projects for a range of audiences. I hope to share with you that this is more than just a gadget for coding, but a new way to explore electrical circuits, data collection and analysis, and the intersection of everything from music, to sport, to science, alongside technology and code.
I am one of those hybrid-people with many hats, probably best summaries as software engineer, tech education, and community and team cultivator.
Having spent the last six years growing the Girls’ Programming Network from a local delight, to a huge nation-spanning operation, I recently founded my own business, ConnectEd Code. My aim is to bring project-based tech education opportunities and materials to schools and communities groups around Australia through school incursions, clubs, holiday programs, teacher PD sessions and more. I am also delighted to be a Cambridge Computer Science teacher at Presbyterian Ladies College, as well as consultant and speaker in the tech, education, diversity, and project management spaces.