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The British Interactive Group, affectionately now know as 'BIG', is a not-for-profit organisation for all people involved in informal science communication activities and hands-on education projects in the UK, including many University-based practitioners.

They run regular events and training courses on issues relevant to science communication and informal science and maths education. Theyalso provide opportunities for networking and for sharing skills, knowledge and best-practices.

Their next Skill Day is on digital making, October 2013, Think Lab, Northumbria University - 10am-5pm.

More information and register on their website.


£25 for BIG Members, which includes lunch and refreshments.

Non-members will need to join BIG first to participate, at a cost of £30 for annual membership. You'll be pleased to know that BIG are already set up as a supplier for the University, easing that step.


Don’t know your GPIO from your Yippie-Ki-Yay? This Skills Day is for you. You'll be guided you through some simple programming-the-physical-world exercises, exploring the point where code meets tangible objects. Then we’ll offer some examples of where this sort of work leads,who’s doing it, and why anybody thinks it’s enjoyable, let alone important. This one-day practical workshop recaps material covered in our short session at the 2017 BIG Event, then builds on those ideas. It’s equally suitable as a ‘next step’ for people who attended that session, and for newcomers who missed it.

The day will cover:

  • Basic concepts, via Raspberry Pi and Python 
  • MicroBit vs. Raspberry Pi: FIGHT!
  • Digital glue - data sources, Node Red, and making vs. programming
  • Guided exploration time
  • Pointers for tools and approaches which become useful later

Key outcomes:

  • At least passing familiarity with three key platforms, their strengths, weaknesses and interactions.
  • Understanding that ‘finding and reading the documentation’ is the key skill in all of this.
  • Initial vocabulary to give participants a fighting chance with the documentation.
  • ‘What do I do next’? thinking and peer learning.
  • Develop confidence to continue learning independently, with a view to incorporating digital making in public offers.

Please note the following day - Saturday 14th October - we’re planning to host (in the same space) a Raspberry Jam, which is a free public jamboree event along similar lines. We’d very much invite and encourage participants in the Skills Day to stay on for that, to showcase and continue their explorations.


Think Lab, Northumbria University - 10am-5pm


Jonathan Sanderson & Joe Shimwell, NUSTEM, Northumbria University


Register here:


And you should definitely keep your eyes peeled for the BIG Event (their annual conference) - it's a good one!