Latest news from the Raspberry Pi Foundation Education Team
Hello and welcome to the June edition of our education newsletter. When reflecting on the impact that Raspberry Pi has made on computing education in the last four years, I’m reminded of Tim Urban's wonderful blog, Wait But Why. In one passage, he talks about Henry Ford and the motoring industry: "Ford didn't just build a car - he built a landscape, defining what a car was. Since then, car companies have worked within Ford's landscape."
Traditionally, a PC was a closed unit that sat under your desk gathering dust bunnies. At home, any attempt to tinker with the family PC was treated as the equivalent of breaching GCHQ's firewalls and you were shooed elsewhere while your parents 'fixed' it. Then along came the Raspberry Pi, with its components hanging out, in plain sight, for all to see - the cheek of it! - and created a whole new landscape of its own.
Why is this important? Well, we believe something powerful happens when a student takes control of their own learning by making a physical computing project for the first time. It empowers them to think for themselves and be a willing and active participant in their own education. It also helps students to start thinking in definite terms about their learning, asking the question: 'What do I want to make?', then figuring out how to get there. Finally, it propagates important concepts such as decomposing problems, testing and debugging.
All our resources and training offerings are designed with this experiential and experimental process in mind. We want people to try, fail, dust themselves off, fail a little less, scratch their heads, almost-not-fail, laugh maniacally, make a cup of tea, google something they don't understand, try something different and then BOOM! - an LED starts blinking.
Have a great month, and enjoy the many free ways below that you and your students can get involved...
Calling all Raspberry Pi Certified Educators: complete our annual survey and win a set of Pi Zero kits!
It's amazing to think that we have now trained over 800 Raspberry Pi Certified Educators! The Picademy team needs your help to create opportunities for even more children and young people to build their skills in computing and digital making. We are running an annual survey for everyone who has been to a Picademy, so we can understand how best to support you after you’ve undertaken our free CPD.
Educators who attend Picademy are excited and energised by what they learn over the two days of training, and we anticipate that their experiences with us will have an impact on the students they teach. Many Raspberry Pi Certified Educators will go further and share the skills they develop at Picademy with colleagues, and some will draw on Picademy to make an impact on the wider community; for example, by developing resources or speaking at events. We want to learn how our training has supported you to make an impact, so we can build on what works best.
We also know it’s not always straightforward to apply skills gained during professional development to everyday work with students, and some of you will have found it hard to use what you learned at Picademy. We understand, and it’s incredibly important for us to hear about the challenges educators face, so we can develop ways to help you and your students gain all you hoped for from the time and effort that you invested in Picademy.
We hope you’ll maintain your engagement with the community of Raspberry Pi Certified Educators by taking 15 minutes to contribute your feedback and ideas in our 2016 Certified Educator survey. To say thank you, five participants will be drawn at random to win a set of five Raspberry Pi Zero electronics kits, including a new Pi Zero and an Explorer pHAT.
Code Club is on a mission to create a club in every community in the world, and one of our biggest successes is Code Club Australia. The team have established over 750 clubs (see above pic) thanks to amazing volunteers, primary school teachers and librarians. Throughout 2016, we are continuing to #getkidscoding by providing an additional 25+ teacher and librarian training sessions nationwide.
For the first time ever, Code Club Australia presented the Code Club Hub at EduTech International Congress and Expo! EduTech is the largest education event in the Southern Hemisphere, bringing together over 6000 delegates from schools, public libraries, tertiary education and vocational education centres. The Code Club Hub was created as a space for educators to explore, share and learn about technology.
A young coder makes an awesome hack project
The Hub was packed non-stop with delegates of all ages building and testing Rube Goldberg machines, coding awesome projects in Scratch, and testing out robotics with Edison.
This month, we have seen a new revision of the Pi Zero released, with a new addition: a camera connector. Due to beast-mode levels of demand for the previous Pi Zero, you may not know much about this model of Pi other than it costs less than a pint of craft ale in London (£4).
After the success of last year’s launches, we are giving teachers another opportunity to blaze a trail across the sky and become a pioneer of aviation with the return of Skycademy, our High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) training programme.
Skycademy is a FREE, two-and-a-half-day CPD event that provides experience of HABing to UK-based educators, demonstrating how it can be used as an engaging teaching tool. We’ll help you take ballooning to a whole new level (literally), with your space-age helium balloon soaring up to altitudes of 35km. Fun fact: that’s around three times the cruising altitude of a Boeing 747!
Attached to the HAB is the payload consisting of a Pi-In-The-Sky GPS tracker board (developed by the wonderful Dave Akerman and Anthony Stirk), and a camera module, both controlled by a Raspberry Pi. You will use these elements to capture the balloon’s epic voyage and collect data to use back in your classroom. Sounds fun, right?
If you want something more compact than Picademy to fit into your busy schedule, Code Club Teacher Training is running in Newcastle alongside our Picademy events. The training is only two hours long, and provides teachers with practical activities and engaging resources to develop young people’s understanding of computing. The sessions are delivered in school, as INSET or twilight sessions, and are mapped against the new computing curriculum. We offer three modules: Computational Thinking, Programming, and Internet and the Web.
PyCon UK is the annual gathering of the UK Python community and its friends from around the world. The conference takes place in Cardiff from 15 to 19 September, and is a chance for Python users of all kinds to meet with and learn from each other, through a programme of talks, workshops, and other events. Of particular interest will be the day for teachers, held on Friday 16 September.
Now in its fifth year, PyCon UK's day for teachers gives you the chance to meet with and learn from developers, and gives developers the chance to share their expertise and contribute to the development of resources for the classroom. Activities will include workshops on using Python in the classroom, sessions on the micro:bit and Raspberry Pi, "Adopt a Teacher" for building long-term relationships between teachers and developers, a TeachMeet, and lots more.
Conference chair Peter Inglesby says: "having teachers take part enriches the whole conference. It's great to see how Python is used to get children excited about programming, and developers always enjoy meeting teachers and sharing their expertise."
Tickets for the conference cost £36 for a day, or £96 for the whole conference, and financial assistance is available. There are also a number of bursaries available to cover the costs of getting supply cover for the Friday.
More details about the conference, the day for teachers, and the bursaries, are available on the conference website.
CAS #include Diversity Conference
On Saturday 11 June, we were present at the annual CAS #include Diversity & Inclusion in Computing Education Conference in Manchester.
The day was a fantastic success, with a mixture of hands-on hacking workshops and expert guidance covering the five strands of Gender, Ethnicity, Disability, Socio-Economic Status and SEN.
Engagement with EBD and ASC children in a special school environment using iPads
Using Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi to engage autistic and ADHD children in programming
Simple ways to encourage girls to take computing
Wearables and physical computing workshops
Coding physical with Codebug
Dancing functions - unplugged computing sessions
Read this great blog post covering the day from one of our youngest delegates, Joshua Lowe.
The first of our sports-themed resources to celebrate the European Championships. Do you have what it takes to beat the goalie?
Or maybe you'd prefer to do some weightlifting to get in shape for the Olympics in Rio this summer.