Rise of the Robots: Doing it Gangham Style!

Wellington City Libraries are embracing the following trends: technology, coding and robots. To support the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) learning platform, we now have two new team members to assist library staff in this process in the form of Nao Robot twins: Blue and Red.

Blue and Red are fully automated Nao, (pronounced ‘now’) humanoid Robots. They are 58cm tall, autonomous, and fully programmable. They walk, talk, listen to you, and even recognise your face. Blue and Red can even whip out a few dance moves to Thriller by Michael Jackson, Gangnam style by PSY and more! Like most humans, if the robots fall down they manage to get themselves back up again, along with a few grunts and groans, and touch wood without any broken limbs or bones.

The robots made their official debut at Wellington Central Library on Monday 10th of July, at the ‘Meet the Robots’ event, part of the Beyond the Page literary festival for children during the school holidays. Apart from a few technical difficulties and performance anxiety issues, for both the librarians’ and robots the event proved to be a success. Blue and Red were the main attractions and stole the show. Parents and kids were whipping out their cell phones to photograph and film the robots paparazzi style! Everyone was mightily impressed with what the robots could do. They loved the performances and there were a lot of ‘ooohs’, ‘aaahs’ and giggling, and a huge round of applause at the end! Overall Blue and Red are a welcome addition to the library, as well as an ideal learning platform for teaching STEAM subjects. With the robots on our team, Wellington City Libraries can continue to work alongside organisations, such as schools, businesses and Information Technology Institutes.  Together we’ll ensure the STEAM platform is promoted and taught to the wider community – Gangnam style!

New Non Fiction: Junior Non Fiction to get you started on your journey to Beyond the Page.

Hey Kids! Hope you enjoyed some of the fabulous events at the Beyond the Page Festival. Check out some junior non fiction books to help you follow up some of the events that took place at this memorable festival. Hopefully your creativity, literary and digital knowledge has been inspired. This post kicks off with books on coding – to collaborate with the Meet The Robots and Lego Challenge.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsCoding Games in SCRATCH.

Coding computer programs is one of the most valuable skills for anyone to have. Written for children with little to no coding experience, Coding Games with Scratch guides children through building platform games, puzzles, racers, and 3-D action games. Schools have incorporated computer coding into their curriculum, beginning as early as kindergarten to ensure students understand the languages and uses of computer coding. The step-by-step guides are simple and easy to follow with Minecraft-style pixel art. Children will learn essential coding skills while having fun and creating games to play with their friends. The many different styles and types of games are covered, such as classic and arcade games. When people learn to code in Scratch, they learn important strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas. Coding Games with Scratch empowers children to be creative and to have fun while teaching them practical real-life skills. Great for ages 9 to 12 years old.

Also check out:

image courtesy of syndeticsComputer coding games for kids.

Your kids will be building computer games and learning code in no-time with ‘Computer coding games for kids’. Kids can enter the world of programming in this illustrated guide packed with step-by-step explanations showing kids how to build all types of games, from puzzles and racers to 3D action games. The perfect way to introduce a reluctant child to coding, ‘Computer coding games for kids’ shows kids how to have fun with Scratch by creating games. Simple instructions and graphics breakdown coding with Scratch so kids learn all the code they need to build, play and share their favourite games with friends.

image courtesy of syndeticsHelp your kids with computer coding : a unique step-by-step visual guide, from binary code to building games.

This unique guide is full of fun exercises and helpful tips that will help children learn all aspects of coding. Step-by-step explanations make the complex art of programming clear, teaching the basics of JavaScript, Python, and C++. Eventually building to more advanced projects, Help Your Kids with Computer Coding will have children and parents alike creating their own games, apps, 3-D models, animations, and websites in no time. 

image courtesy of syndetics365 Things to do with Lego Bricks.

“365 Things to Do with LEGO® Bricks inspires you to look at your LEGO bricks in new and exciting ways. This interactive book features imaginative play and building ideas, from LEGO projects that take just a few minutes and require a handful of bricks to inspirational build ideas and activities to keep you occupied for hours. Visual tips and advice from LEGO fan builders will encourage you to get creative and have fun while learning new building skills such as building your own LEGO pet, challenging your friends to make the tallest LEGO tower against the clock, and creating a LEGO treasure hunt. 365 Things to Do with LEGO Bricks is full of games and activities that will keep you busy every day of the year, “–Amazon.com.

image courtesy of sydneticsThe Lego Ideas Book: Unlock your imagination.

Features all-new LEGO® building projects, tips to supplement and enhance your LEGO creations, inspirational builds, and expert advice from LEGO Master Builders.

Author Visit: Des Hunt at Central Library.

Attention all literary fans! Come on down to the Central Library and learn how to create amazing stories with a master storyteller! Join 2017 Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award winner Des Hunt for a writing workshop like no other. This event is part of Beyond the Page, a literary festival for children and youth on from 8-23 July, for more information, check out the website.

Where: Wellington Central Library, Young Adults area.

When: Tuesday 11th July, 1pm to 2pm.

Age Group: This workshop is aimed at ages 9-12 and spaces are limited. Make sure you register to secure a spot.

About Des Hunt: Des Hunt was a science and technology teacher for many years, interspersed with periods of curriculum development both in New Zealand and overseas. During this time he had several textbooks published to support the New Zealand curriculum. Over the last twenty years he has experimented with other ways of interesting youngsters in science, creating computer games and writing non-fiction and fiction with scientific themes.

After living in Auckland for much of his life he moved with his wife, Lynne, to Matarangi on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. He retired from the classroom in 2007 to concentrate on writing fiction for children. He continues his aims of fostering young peoples’ natural interest in the science of their surroundings by visiting schools and libraries where he runs workshops and presentations.

Five Des Hunt books have been finalists at the Children’s Book Awards. Cry of the Taniwha was awarded the 2016 Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book. Then, in 2017, Des was the recipient of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award for lifetime achievement and a distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and literacy.

Find out more about Des and his books: www.deshunt.com

While You’re at it, check out some of Des Hunt’s books that you can find at your local library.

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsPhantom of Terawhiti.

“It’s the school holidays and Zac thinks he might go crazy with boredom. He’s living in exile with his disgraced father on the remote Terawhiti Station on Wellington’s wild south-west coast. Zac and his father witness a shipwreck off the coast. Investigating further, he finds a set of unusual paw prints on the beach. Whose yacht it is? And what animal could have made the paw prints? Soon Zac is drawn into a mystery which threatens his life and those around him. He must protect the secret of the Phantom of Terawhiti from those intent on hunting it – and him – down”–Publisher information.

image courtesy of syndeticsFrog Whistle Mine.

Twelve-year-old Tony has travelled all around New Zealand with his nomadic mother, and desperately wants somewhere to belong. When they arrive in Charleston, a gold-mining ghost town, he is almost afraid to hope this might finally be the place. But things aren’t as they seem, and he finds himself caught up in mysterious events.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWhere cuckoos call.

Twelve-year-old Ben is a keen ornithologist who looks after endangered birds on his family farm in the Coromandel Peninsula. But Ben must grow up fast in the face of threats to his home, his family and his beloved birds.

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWhale Pot Bay.

Jake lives with his father in a remote part of the Wairarapa, where he can surf and watch the whales. But then Jake’s dad begins a relationship with a new partner, who moves in with her daughter Stephanie, and at the same time a local photographer starts stalking their next door neighbour Milton Summer, an international rock celebrity, and Jake’s peaceful life erupts into violence and deceit. An when a whale and her calf get into trouble on the treacherous coast, the history of Whale Pot Bay seems doomed to repeat itself unless Jake, Milton and Stephanie can survive the deadly tide.

image couresty of syndeticsCry of the taniwha.

Matt Logan isn’t looking forward to spending the school holidays in Rotorua with his grandmother and her new husband. Matt has taken his metal detector along, and when he and Juzza – the boy next door – unearth a handcuffed skeleton, a dangerous chain of events begins to coil around them.