Raspberry Pi in Education Newsletter - Issue 21 - December 2016
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Raspberry Pi in Education


CSEd Week Special Edition!

Welcome to our final newsletter of 2016. 

This week is Computer Science in Education (CSEd) Week and to celebrate, we've decided to LAUNCH ALL THE THINGS! The elves at Pi Towers have been busy with their little hammers and soldering irons to bring you lots of cool stuff to take you into 2017. There are new projects, online training courses, resources, bumper project books, and that's just the start: find out more below...

Looking back over the past year, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has grown massively, expanding its capabilities with a range of great new initiatives. People sometimes forget about our role as a charitable foundation when they think about Raspberry Pi. However, 2016 has seen us change that, with projects like Astro Pi achieving very high visibility, our free resources being downloaded by millions, thousands of new Code Clubs being started, and our Picademy events trending on Twitter.

We're very proud of what we've achieved this year and it spurs us on to continue creating high-quality, free learning content. We would also like to thank you for your role in helping us with this mission. We believe that the Raspberry Pi community, and its engagement with us, is a huge part of what makes our work so meaningful. Making real changes takes time, energy, passion, and patience and, with your help, we will get there.

We wish you all a happy holiday season (albeit slightly early) and we look forward to seeing you in 2017.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation 

Now you can train with Raspberry Pi anywhere in the world!

To kick off our CSEd Week announcements, we are delighted to announce a new way for people to learn about digital making: two free online training courses, available anywhere in the world. The courses will run alongside our current live educator training offerings (Picademy, Skycademy, and Code Club Teacher Training) and are facilitated by FutureLearn, a leading platform for online educational training. Sign-ups begin today, with the courses themselves starting in mid-February 2017.

Course titles:

  • Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python
  • Teaching Programming in Primary Schools

As educators, you might find these courses useful as a refresher, or as something you’d like to encourage your colleagues to use as a handy ‘CPD at home’ session. We would also appreciate your support in promoting this new training programme through your local networks. This could be an entry in your own newsletter or via social media; either would be great!

Click on the button below for more details on each course and the opportunity to sign up.


Hour of Code - What could YOU do in one hour?

As part of our CSEd Week celebrations, we would love it if you took part in our annual Hour of Code. Visit our specially curated page that contains lots of cool resources, including two new ones specially written for the event!

All the resources on the page are designed to only take one hour, so they're perfect to get you started.

Visit our Hour of Code page.

We're also holding a live Hour of Code session here at Pi Towers, run by our Communities Manager Ben Nuttall. You'll be able to catch a live stream of this on Wednesday 7 December on the Raspberry Pi Facebook page.

Introducing Pioneers: a new opportunity for teenage digital makers

Every day, young people are using digital technologies to solve problems that they care about. They’re making cool stuff, learning how to bend digital technologies to their will, and having lots of fun in the process. They are the next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, and makers, and we can’t wait to show you what they can do!

We’re delighted to launch Pioneers, a series of challenges that will inspire young digital makers to develop new ideas and share them with the world.

Young people aged between 12 and 15 will work together in teams to design and build their idea to solve the series of challenges we set. Great makers always share what they’ve learned, so each team will need to make a short video about their idea to share with the community. We’ll create a showcase of all the submissions, then judge and highlight the ten best entries which will win an amazing prize. There are so many different ways of being the best here: we’re looking for most creative, most ingenious, most brave, most bonkers, and so on.

You can find out lots more information about the programme on our Pioneers home page, including projects to inspire you and help you get ready for the launch of the first challenge for young makers in the UK in January 2017.

Picademy returns to Wales

Here at Pi Towers, we are busy planning next year’s Picademy schedule and are close to being ready to share it with the community.

One location we can confirm though is a return to South Wales in early 2017. The last time we ran a Welsh event was Pencoed in 2015 and we are all excited to be returning. With the Welsh government recently announcing their new Digital Competence Framework in September 2016, we felt it would be a great opportunity for Welsh educators to train to become Raspberry Pi Certified Educators while finding out how digital making can revolutionise classroom practice across a range of different subjects.

The date and venue information for this event is still to be confirmed. If you think you might be interested, visit our website and fill in our ‘register your interest’ form. We will email you with more details and how to apply at the start of next term.


Code your own sweet tunes with the latest version of Sonic Pi

Announcing Sonic Pi v2.11 - the biggest and most adventurous release yet! There are as many (invisible) modifications and improvements to the internal systems as there are new external features that you can see, play with, and use directly in the classroom.

The most visible and immediately useful feature is a scope which allows you to see the sounds you're hearing. For example, saw waves look sharp and pointy, whilst the sine wave of the basic beep sound is round and curvy. You can even see how high or low a note is by looking at the density of the waves. Tightly packed waves represent a high pitch, and gentle rolling waves represent low frequencies. You'll find that the scope helps to engage the students whilst providing a rich source of cross-discipline learning opportunities.

Another exciting new feature is the sample opt `onset:` which lets you play a specific percussive part of any sample. This uses an automatic onset detection algorithm to determine all the points in the sample that go from quiet to loud quickly, such as a drum, synth, or bass hit. For example, this allows you to take any complex drum sample and treat it like a simple array of individual drum hits.

There are many more features and improvements that turn Sonic Pi v2.11 into the most exciting, powerful, and fun release yet. If you've been waiting for an excuse to started using it in your classroom or Code Clubs, this is the release you've been waiting for. 

Visit the Sonic Pi website to download the free software.

Turn your library into a Code Club 

At Code Club International, we believe that children should have the opportunity to learn code wherever and whenever. That means at school, at home, and also at community venues and public open spaces like libraries.

Libraries provide the perfect space to host a regular Code Club: they're accessible, engaging, and many have access to computer equipment. They also offer more flexibility for volunteers and children who might want to attend a Code Club at the weekend, or somewhere closer to their home. 

There are more than 300 libraries in the UK that host regular Code Clubs, and many find it an easy way to provide children in their communities with opportunities to learn to code. The model is easy to set up. You need:

  • A volunteer from a local company, university, or the community
  • Enough computers to cover 1 between every 2 children that will attend
  • A space within the library to hold the meetup

Code Club provides step-by-step instructions on how to start and run the club. We would like to challenge everyone who has a passion for digital making and coding to contact their local libraries and set up a Code Club. You can find out more from us by contacting:

Create a storm with our new Weather Station project resources


If you're looking for something that's more of a long-term project after doing one of our short Hour of Code sessions, you're in luck! To accompany the great work that's been happening in schools around the world following the release of our Weather Station kits, we've created three new resources so you can get involved with your own citizen science projects:

1. Fetching the Weather: a resource to fetch the latest weather data from a specific Weather Station.
2. Graphing the Weather: a resource to fetch all weather data for a Weather Station and then produce graphs of the data.
3. Mapping the Weather: produce global and local maps showing the location of Weather Stations and the weather conditions there.

Visit our resources page to get started. 

The Jam is flowing in December and January


Raspberry Jams are events organised by the community for people to share knowledge, learn new things, and meet other Pi enthusiasts. They’re a great way to find out more about the Raspberry Pi and what you can do with it, and to find like-minded people.

There are plenty of Jams coming up in the next couple of months! See if there’s something near you.

To book a place, click on your chosen event in the calendar on the Raspberry Jam page.


  • 07 Dec - Leeds Raspberry Jam
  • 10 Dec - Manchester Raspberry Jam
  • 10 Dec - Torbay Raspberry Jam
  • 10 Dec - Sittingbourne Jam (Kent)
  • 11 Dec - Horsham Raspberry Jam
  • 13 Dec - Stafford Raspberry Jam
  • 15 Dec - Coventry and Warks Raspberry Jam
  • 07 Jan - Eagle Labs Raspberry Jam
  • 14 Jan - Manchester Raspberry Jam
  • 21 Jan - Hull Raspberry Jam


  • 19 Dec - Jackson Library Raspberry Jam (NJ)
  • 21 Dec - Seattle Raspberry Jam

If there’s nothing near you, and you want to set something up, contact Ben Nuttall on for support.

The Official Projects Book - Vol. 2


Need an idea for a stocking filler this Christmas?

The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book Volume 2 is on sale now, and is packed with 200 pages of the finest coding and digital making tutorials this side of The Milky Way. The design team outdid themselves this time with a superbly shiny jet-black cover. Embossed on the cover is a metal reflective red and green Raspberry Pi logo. You can’t miss it!

You can pick a copy up from The Pi Hut, The App Store, Google Play, WH Smiths, and all good newsagents.

Alternatively, you can download a free PDF version here.

New resources

Terrify your friends with our Scary Spot The Difference resource, updated to include an alternative track using Scratch!
Ever wanted to create your own Lolcats? Our new JavaScript resource will give you purrrrfect results every time.
Prank and embarrass your friends and family with this trump-tastic Whoopi Cushion project.
Copyright © 2016 Raspberry Pi Foundation. All rights reserved.

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