Prize Giving Ceremony 2018

The first WeCode24 prize-giving ceremony was held on Saturday, the 19th of January 2019, at Klein Nederburg Secondary School in Paarl. The aim of the event was to honour the learners’ commitment in completing the 2018 WeCode24 programme, and to acknowledge their accomplishments for the year. They attended the prestigious event with their parents and teachers.

All of the successful learners received a certificate for completing the Introduction to Programming: Graphics, Games and Embedded Systems course. The prize winners all received a Raspberry Pi computer, and the top learners also received peripherals.

In third place: Jaylen Juries, Thorne Myburgh and Marc Mia
In second place: Takudzwa Chiso, Ethan Hofsta and Samantha Stipps
In first place: Meliuethu Sibanda, Theon Thomas and Jarred Williams

These learners showed great enthusiasm and commitment throughout the year, congratulations!

HackFest 2018

On 21 July we hosted a HackFest event at Bernadino Heights High School in Kraaifontein. It was a playful celebration of empowerment through technology that took the form of a hands-on expo, with exhibitors inviting everyone into the marvellous world of programming. Moving beyond just exhibiting something interesting that was programmed, it was about making it accessible, and opening everyone’s eyes to the possibilities.

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Simulating Motion – Part 1

In previous posts we have discussed how animations and games are simulations of the real world. For these simulations to be authentic, the objects in them have to move realistically and thus they must obey the laws of Physics. Of course, you may want your game or animation to have different physical laws. But even then, you have to understand the laws in order to break them in a plausible way.

In this post we’ll discuss the fundamental concepts needed to analyse the motion of macroscopic objects. These concepts are valid whether we want to simulate motion on a computer or consider it in real life. 

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Games with Turtle Graphics

In the previous post — Animation with Turtle Graphics — I explained that animation is simply simulation, making stuff appear real. You create the appearance of real and continuous movement by quickly showing a series of slightly-different images. I then introduced the idea of creating animations with Python’s turtle graphics module. In this post, I’ll use a simple example to explain how to use animation as well as user interaction and data to create a game with turtle graphics.

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Animation with Turtle Graphics

All animation (indeed, all moving pictures) is fundamentally nothing more than consecutive pictures being shown so quickly that it simulates continuous motion. Each picture is called a frame. Each frame must differ from the previous one slightly, and quickly showing the frames one after the other gives the illusion of continuous motion, hence the word ‘animate’ as in ‘bring to life’. The frames have to be shown at a rate of about 12 or more frames per second (fps) for a person to experience them as an animation. Modern film generally uses 24 frames per second.

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Programming with Understanding

You can’t learn to speak — to say things — without learning to say something. And you can’t learn to program — to talk to a computer — without learning to program something. Learning to program therefore not only provides the opportunity to learn to instruct a computer, but is also an opportunity to learn about everything else in the world.

When learning something new, by coming to understand its fundamental elements or building blocks you’ll not only learn more, and more exciting things, but have a greater amount of expressive power with that knowledge. It is essential, however, that the process of learning those detailed fundamentals takes place with the big picture always in mind, and in sight. Literally as well: appropriate visuals greatly improve the learning process by serving as memory and reasoning aids.

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Coding Day 2018

We held a Coding Day event on 03 February for learners from the schools that are part of the programme this year, at Stellenbosch University’s Fharga computer lab. It served to introduce the learners to programming, and served as an opportunity to select about 100 learners to be part of the programme: the selection process considered many factors, especially the learner’s passion for learning to program and create. The day was a great success, and we are all very excited about the year ahead. The learners had a tremendous amount of fun, and would hardly stop programming to break for snacks and lunch!

Thank you very much to the support team who assisted with the selection process, and to Stellenbosch University and the Fharga staff for their facilities and support.