Looking back on CBBC Live in Leeds

Friday 9 August 2013, 12:09

Jon Howard Jon Howard Executive Product Manager, Children’s Future Media

Tagged with:

Editor's Note - In July 2013 CBBC packed its bags and took the children's channel on holiday for three action-packed festival days at CBBC Live in Leeds.

BBC North director Tom Howells has produced a selection of highlights from the weekend, which you can see below. 

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

A selection of highlights from CBBC Live in Leeds.

The 40,000 people in attendance saw some of CBBC's biggest names including Dick & Dom, Sam & Mark and Hacker & Dodge, as well as getting to hear Blue Peter's big announcement about it's new presenter Lindsey Russell, the 36th presenter of the programme. 

Away from the main stage five zones contained enough entertainment that even those who attended for all three days will have missed something. The 'It's Your Go' area gave everyone the chance to try presenting and working behind the camera. 'Absolute Genius' featured Fran Scott and her crack team of scientists entertaining with explosive experiments. The 'Wild Zone' brought weird and wonderful from the natural world into a large tent full of wildlife activities. The 'CBeebies Zone' was a space for crazy fun from the channel's newest show 'Swashbuckle'.

In this post, Executive Product Manager Children's Future Media Jon Howard has writes about his and his team's work in one specific area of the event: The Creative Zone. 

 

The 'Creative Zone' element of the weekend, an event staged in the Leeds City Museum and a space full of digital activities and workshops: a maker faire, code club, spy school, game jam and digital art arena all rolled into one.

The Creative Zone was split into multiple areas:

The Game Builder Zone allowed children to create, play, publish and share their own games featuring the stars of CBBC. The tool available here was Game Builder, an already very popular application on the CBBC website. Games are a common language to all and a brilliant focal point for digital skills learning. The quality of game design skills the kids demonstrated was amazingly high, and some of their work was taken onto the Creative Zone stage and demonstrated live. This area really inspired kids to see games as a creative activity, just as fun to make as to play. GameBuilder_OverShoulder.jpg The Game Builder app is already very popular on the CBBC website. A programming experience was available in the Coding and Animation Zone. This used systems developed by the BBC Knowledge and Learning team and allowed kids to experiment with a programming language using simple blocks of code to animate dance moves for Hacker T Dog. The activity had a learning curve that allowed for quick experimentation to full-blown scripting for advanced new animations. This was a key experience in demonstrating that making a computer do what you want it to is an achievable, fun and engaging endeavour.

In a similar vein, a Doctor Who game was installed on tablet devices and placed on stands within the Creative Zone. The objective of the game was to give instructions, through a drag and drop interface, to The Doctor. He would then follow the sequence of commands to travel across rooms without being caught by the Weeping Angels. As an introduction to logical algorithmic thinking this game was a brilliant exercise.

In the Crafty Electronic Zone components for a Wolfblood badge were assembled. This comprised of lights, conductive paint, batteries and printed cardboard. This zone gave children a chance to become comfortable with the handling of electronics and the construction of circuits - to bring a physical artwork to life. These tables were so successful that component stocks required replenishment by the morning of day two. CraftyElectronicsZone.jpg Getting crafty with electronics at CBBC Live in Leeds. The Art Zone hosted a multitude of computers running CBBC's massively popular Art Tools. These allowed the attendees to engage with digital art - some for the first time - gaining an understanding of digital image creation and manipulation. (The art tools are a system of templates that enable activities to be created specifically for a brand - Blue Peter, Dumping Ground, Deadly 60 and Wizards vs. Aliens.)

Keeping up with the high tech nature of these activities - an augmented reality treasure hunt ran across the whole Live in Leeds site. Tablet devices were used to bring pictures of CBBC stars to life as videos. These augmented pictures delivered clues that lead to a secret CBBC party in the Creative Zone. Over 1000 kids finished the trail and gained access to the party.

Alongside the drop-in activities in the main Creative Zone area, two longer more in-depth workshops were run by external experts.

The MI High Coding-from-Scratch Workshop was run by CoderDojo - a global network of clubs that teach programming to children. The session taught kids how to build a website by hand, developing in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. A further task was set to hide and interpret secret messages hidden in images (steganography) - a real spy activity, and one that was lapped up by the attendees. This was an advanced workshop, but the methods and techniques were enthusiastically picked up by the children.

The MI High Build-a-Gadget Workshop taught kids how to build their own electronic gadgets and to programs. In this case the ‘gadgets’ were MI High communicators - agents in the CBBC show communicate via an LED lit writing implement. The workshop, led by Cefn Hoile, took the participants through steps to build the device. Extras were added: a speaker that could be programmed to play RTTL files (Ring Tone Transfer Language). The room was a cacophony of Mission Impossible Super Mario and Pacman ring tones by the end of each session. GadgetWorkshop.jpg Making gadgets at CBBC Live in Leeds.

The level of detail that was taught in these workshops and the successful application of new knowledge by the children really demonstrated capacity that kids have for learning technical subjects. Most of the attendees had done very few similar activities before, but all were enthused and inspired to look into finding out more.

The whole Creative Zone promoted a huge interest in digital skills to the 8000+ attendees over the 3 days in Leeds. Many will hopefully now develop an interest in electronics or programming or digital art. An objective for the event was to help encourage digital consumers to become digital creators.

The Creative Zone was brought together by the combined efforts of teams from across the BBC, from Children’s, Knowledge & Learning, Future Media, R&D, BBC North and BBC Scotland.

This combining of skill sets from different departments demonstrates one of the core BBC values – great things happen when we work together. The positives here weren’t just in the entertainment and learning provided to the children: BBC volunteers all walked away enthused and with much greater insight and understanding in how kids engage with and enjoy digital activities. This knowledge will surely feed into a bigger and better future content on the channels.

Jon Howard is Executive Product Manager, Children’s Future Media

Tagged with:

Comments

Be the first to comment

Share this page

More Posts

Previous
The BBC and plurality in the media

Monday 5 August 2013, 17:06

Next
Scottish Referendum: Connected Studio Brief

Friday 9 August 2013, 15:16

About this Blog

This blog explains what the BBC does and how it works. We link to some other blogs and online spaces inside and outside the corporation. The blog is edited by Jon Jacob.

Follow About the BBC on Twitter

Blog Updates

Stay updated with the latest posts from the blog.

Subscribe using:

What are feeds?

External links about the BBC

Future Media roles to move to Salford (Ariel)

Wimbledon final watched by 10 million (Guardian)
"Novak Djokovic victory over Roger Federer takes 54% share on BBC1, but no match for Andy Murray’s win last year"

TV News celebrates its 60th birthday (Ariel)

Doctor Who: Frank Cottrell Boyce is a genius, says Steven Moffat (Digital Spy)
"BBC One has confirmed that Frank Cottrell Boyce will script an episode of Doctor Who."

Danger Mouse remake will see some male characters returning as females (Guardian)
"CBBC’s Cheryl Taylor promises show ‘truthful to the essence of Danger Mouse’ but with fresh ideas"

BBC appoints Matthew Postgate as chief technology officer (Guardian)
"Current controller of research and development was part of the management team that created iPlayer and built mobile services"

Radio 5 Live: Presenters Richard Bacon, Victoria Derbyshire and Shelagh Fogarty among names leaving BBC radio station (Mirror)

Doctor Who trailer: take a Deep Breath, Capaldi fans (Guardian)
"A teaser for the 'feature-length' first episode of the new Doctor Who series has materialised, complete with Peter Capaldi, the Tardis in flames and a hint of menace"

Teenagers take over Scottish Thought for the Day (Ariel)

BBC increases digital radio coverage with Northern transmitters (Prolific North)

BBC to show off Commonwealth Games in 4K UHD (TechRadar)
"first ever event to be produced entirely over IP/internet networks - which the BBC is calling a 'major broadcasting milestone'"

BBC3 wins big at 2014 Broadcast Digital Awards (Broadcast)

Glastonbury 2014: how to watch it on TV (Daily Telegraph)
"Missed out on Glastonbury Festival tickets this year? Follow all the action from home using our BBC TV and Radio guide."

BBC experiments with virtual reality (Ariel)

BBC stages first world war rap battle (Guardian)

UK media in one-minute silence protest over jailing of al-Jazeera journalists (Guardian)
"Hundreds of reporters across BBC and other media organisations speak out against Egyptian government’s verdict"

Licence fee should be charged to iPlayer users, says acting chair of BBC Trust (Guardian)
"Diane Coyle, acting chair of the BBC Trust, says the BBC is 'less independent than it needs to be'"

Acting BBC Trust chair to apply to become Lord Patten’s replacement (Guardian)

BBC announces new comedy pilots (Chortle)
"the Comedy Feeds show serious commitment to finding the next best writers, directors and faces of British comedy"

After 25 years at the helm Jeremy Paxman presents his final Newsnight (Telegraph) 
"During his tenure, the 63-year-old earned a reputation as one of the most fearless and feared interviewers"

Sherlock and Downton Abbey are as good as Breaking Bad and Mad Men, says BBC boss (Independent)

Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV?Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV? (Guardian)"What results is an unapologetically old-fashioned TV show with a presenter who makes no attempt to disguise when she was born"

Last updated Tuesday 8 July 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

The Events - Q&A with writer David Greig [Writersroom]
Cooking with Cat: banana yoghurt ice lollies and savoury pastry tart [CBeebies Grown Ups]
Five ways local media can help itself #localjournalism [Academy]
Responsive design in data and tables [Internet]
Preview Tactics [Kermode Uncut]

Connected Red Button: a first look at the new service on Smart TVs [Internet]