Code-A-Drone @ Cheshire Autism Pratical Support
Once again we held our innovative Code-A-Drone Workshop over in Runcorn thanks to being commissioned by Cheshire Autism Practical Support (CHAPS).
CHAPS are an Autism support group, based in Runcorn and Widnes. They hold Youth Clubs every fortnight for young people on the ASD spectrum, including Asperger syndrome and ADHD.
On Friday, we travelled over to Halton Play Council to deliver a fun and educational taster session to the young people of CHAPS to demonstrate how coding using an iPad can lead into piloting a mini-drone. It was so much fun, even the parents got involved!
Our Code-A-Drone Workshop
During this activity, participants learn how to code a mini-drone to take off, fly, turn, do stunts and land safely.
We then set out a range of coding challenges that will put these newfound skills to the test.
At the moment, there is a current drive for people to teach coding to autistic people. The Tech industry is thriving, and ideal for those with Autism. Coding Autism is one example of a US organisation, and the initiative is spreading into the UK with our workshops.
This is because of common characteristics such as:
- Fascination with repetition, routine and attention to detail.
- Keeping focused on one task
- Excellent Spatial Reasoning and Maths Skills
- Introvert personalities
Young people with Autism also respond well to visual learning, and at MakoEducation, we use iPads for all of our workshops.
Our Code-A-Drone Workshop
During this activity, participants learn how to code a mini-drone to take off, fly, turn, do stunts and land safely. We then set out a range of coding challenges that will put these newfound skills to the test.
In the workshop, every participant is provided with an iPad to write their code visually and a mini-drone to fly by themselves. In Code-A-Drone, we specifically use an application called Tynker to build and piece the commands for the drone to then receive. This is an introduction of physical coding in action. Leading to lots of testing on how to make a tailored set of commands turn each individual’s plan into a success.
Our team is always on hand to support, motivate and check coding to make sure everybody is able to have fun and answer any questions during the session. For Code-A-Drone, mistakes are expected when building code, we actively encourage exploring different ideas through our workshop and reassure that these mistakes are simply commonplace
We continuously encourage for participants in our workshops to interact with each other, building social skills along the way. Through sharing their methods of coding, and cheering for people partaking in challenges. Our workshop has opportunities for participants to talk to each other, but coding the drones itself is a self-focused task. For this workshop, we believe the balance amongst the two was beneficial for those involved we were particularly working with SEN requirements.
Thank you to all the young people who attended our workshop at CHAPS.
We hope that our session that brought an introduction to coding and technology leads to hobbies or continued education for our participants. Also, a big thank you to CHAPS for the opportunity to hold our workshop at their centre.