Widening Participation

Making Arcade Consoles to Play Video Games

It was the last of our regular sessions with our Y4/5 Roll Crescent group of young people recently. So what better to do that play video games.

The learning element here was to use a combination of Arduino, Makey Makeys and authentic arcade buttons and joysticks to assemble DIY control panels.

It was also happening at the same time as the Playful Learning conference so there were plenty of other large scale games to play with as well.

This pilot was a good success. The joint motivation of really good quality electronic components and the final goal of playing retro games was irresistible for young and older alike!

EdLab Pupils review Science Books for the Royal Society

Year 5 pupils from Rolls Crescent working with EdLab were asked by the Royal Society to review six children’s science books. Working in pairs pupils took the books home in order to give them an in-depth examination, and then returned for a group review led by our science communication lecturer Dr Sam Illingworth.

The children enjoyed the challenge, and debated enthusiastically to come up with a final winner. Across the four judging categories David Macaulay’s ‘How Machines work’ came out top. This children enjoyed its interactive nature, and the way in which the science was communicated through the story.

For more information, and details of all the books go to the Royal Society’s website:



Junk Percussion workshop by Andrea Vogler

Join Northern Chamber Orchestra’s percussionist Andrea Vogler for a participatory session composing and performing music using an exciting array of junk percussion instruments.




This workshop is supported by EdLab as part of the 2016 Brooks Community Learning Festival.

To attend go to this link and register – Remember to choose the right day

All Welcome at the Community Learning Festival 25 – 27 July 2017

The Community Learning Festival is an exciting and free event happening at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Brooks building on Tuesday, 25 July – Thursday, 27 July 2017, 12 – 6pm.

The festival is a celebration of the diversity of learning happening in the local area. It’s a chance for community learning providers and University projects to come together and enjoy the facilities at the Brooks building for a series of lively and interesting events.


The festival will have a range of activities, workshops, walks and talks over the three days. Each day features workshops on themes like democracy, care, community and the environment. Most importantly, there is always something going on for all ages and interests.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Music, rap and spoken word sessions
  • Art and textiles workshops mixing creative craft and technology
  • Creative walks and digital story trails
  • Debates and discussions on local and global issues
  • Junk Percussion workshops
  • Talks and films on civic action and social justice

The Festival has been organised by the Manchester Met Faculty of Education in association with community partners including Louise Da-Cocodia Education Trust, Hideaway and Hulme Community Garden Centre.

Help us promote the Festival. Images and Workshops highlights to share with your networks via email and social media are available on the EdLab website:

Community Event – 28-7-2016 – Making Techie Textiles with interactive T-shirts

Come along and use your creativity to paint, print and sew fabrics which can be connected to lights and sounds.


Recycled textiles will be provided, but you are also welcome to come and repurpose something of your own. Why not make your old T-shirts musical! Age 10-18


This workshop is supported by EdLab as part of the 2016 Brooks Community Learning Festival.
To attend go to this link and register – Remember to choose the right day

EdLab Spark: Develop Workshop Materials for Primary Schools

EdLab have been working closely with Dr Sam Illingworth to develop and deliver workshops in primary schools which mix science teaching with poetry. Students from the Faculty of Education have helped to deliver these sessions so far, and now we would like students to create online resources so that schools can deliver the session themselves should they wish. See below for full details of the challenge.


It is great fun bringing this science and poetry session to primary schools, but we would also like to reach many more pupils than it is possible to see face-to-face. To do this we can write up session outlines, tips, resources etc. and make them available on our website. We believe students could bring their creativity to this process, and creating lasting work which would be a real asset on your CV.


EdLab Spark: Funologists – Beyond the Whizz Bang

We are in the process of developing a series of activities at Birley that are aimed at getting Key Stage 3 girls enthused about science, The focus of this project is to foster engagement and learning surrounding creative STEAM activities. The target schools will be selected from those identified by MMU’s Widening Participation team.


Student-teacher volunteers will take an active role in the delivery of a series of after-school workshops.

Elements of the programme include:

  • Making and Breaking focus
  • Exploring the pedagogy of fostering “maker mentality” and non-linear learning
  • Recycling equipment to explore awareness of environmental impact
  • Embodied approaches to STEAM education
  • Self-evaluation of identity and transformations drama based activities and recording learner stories

Widening Participation: Hyde Community College and the Robot Orchestra

The EdLab team used our recent skills shared by the Noisy Toys team and PGCE students to the maximum when we hosted an interactive session based on Computing and coding for Year 9 girls from Hyde Community College.

We drew on our strengths to deliver coding using music, experimentation with acoustic ecology. The most fun bit for us was making recycled computer parts bleep and squeek. This is great preparation for our upcoming Funologists launch and the Manchester Robot Orchestra.

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