Author Archives: Katie Gouskos

Celebrating the community: Avye

via Raspberry Pi

We’re excited to share another incredible story from the community — the second in our new series of inspirational short films that celebrate young tech creators across the world.

A young teenager with glasses smiles
Avye discovered robotics at her local CoderDojo and is on a mission to get more girls like her into tech.

These stories showcase some of the wonderful things that young people are empowered to do when they learn how to create with technology. We hope that they will inspire many more young people to get creative with technology too!

Meet Avye

This time, you will meet an accomplished, young community member who is on a quest to encourage more girls to join her and get into digital making.

Help us celebrate Avye by liking and sharing her story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

For as long as she can remember, Avye (13) has enjoyed creating things. It was at her local CoderDojo that seven-year-old Avye was introduced to the world of robotics. Avye’s second-ever robot, the Raspberry Pi–powered Voice O’Tronik Bot, went on to win the Hardware category at our Coolest Projects UK event in 2018.

A girl shows off a robot she has built
Avye showcased her Raspberry Pi–powered Voice O’Tronik Bot at Coolest Projects UK in 2018.

Coding and digital making have become an integral part of Avye’s life, and she wants to help other girls discover these skills too. She says, I believe that it’s important for girls and women to see and be aware of ordinary girls and women doing cool things in the STEM world.” Avye started running her own workshops for girls in their community and in 2018 founded Girls Into Coding. She has now teamed up with her mum Helene, who is committed to helping to drive the Girls Into Coding mission forwards.

I want to get other girls like me interested in tech.

Avye

Avye has received multiple awards to celebrate her achievements, including the Princess Diana Award and Legacy Award in 2019. Most recently, in 2020, Avye won the TechWomen100 Award, the Women in Tech’s Aspiring Teen Award, and the FDM Everywoman in Tech Award!

We cannot wait to see what the future has in store for her. Help us celebrate Avye and inspire others by liking and sharing her story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

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Celebrating the community: Zaahra and Eesa

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Today we are launching an exciting series of impact stories from the community, to shine a spotlight on some of the young people who are learning and creating with technology through our educational initiatives.

A sister and brother smiling while doing digital making at a laptop
Zaahra and Eesa have been learning to create technology through attending Code Club and taking part in Coolest Projects!

These stories get to the heart of our mission: to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world.

Designed in close collaboration with families across the world, our new series of short inspirational films showcases some of the wonderful things that young people are empowered to do when they learn to use technology to address the issues that matter to them.

We are incredibly proud to be a part of these young people’s journeys — and to see the positive impact of engaging with our free programmes, coding clubs, and resources. We can’t wait to share their unique experiences and achievements with you as we roll out the series over the next few months.

And we invite you to celebrate these young people by liking and sharing their stories on social media!

Meet Zaahra and Eesa 

The first story takes you to a place not far from our home: London, UK.

Help us celebrate Zaahra and Eesa by liking and sharing their story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

Zaahra (12) and Eesa (8) are a sister and brother coding team and live in East London. For the last four years they’ve been learning about computing and digital making by attending regular sessions at their local Code Club. Zaahra and Eesa love working as a team and using technology to solve problems around them. When they found it difficult to communicate with their grandparents in their first language, Sylheti, the siblings decided to code a language learning app called ‘Easy Sylheti’. Eesa says, “We wanted to create something that was helpful to us, but also to our family and the community.”

A girl and boy standing on the grass in a park

When Zaahra and Eesa decided to take part in the Coolest Projects online tech showcase with their app, they never expected that it would be picked as a favourite by Coolest Projects special judge Eben Upton, CEO and co-inventor of Raspberry Pi!

“I’ve discovered that I’m capable of a lot more than I thought.”

Zaahra

Describing the effect of learning to create with technology and seeing the success of their app, Zaahra declares, “I’ve discovered that I’m capable of a lot more than I thought.” And she’s using her new-found confidence to continue helping her community: Zaahra has recently taken up a role as youth member on the Newham Youth Empowerment Fund Panel.

Help us celebrate Zaahra and Eesa by liking and sharing their story on Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook!

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Celebrating future engineers

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We’re proud to show our support for This is Engineering Day, an annual campaign from the Royal Academy of Engineering to bring engineering to life for young people by showcasing its variety and creativity. This year’s #BeTheDifference theme focuses on the positive impact engineering can have on everyday life and on the world we live in. So what better way for us to celebrate than to highlight our community’s young digital makers — future engineers — and their projects created for social good!

A Coolest Projects participant, a future engineer we're celebrating on today's This is Engineering Day
So many Coolest Projects participants present tech projects they’ve created for social good.

We’re also delighted to have special guest Dr Lucy Rogers on our This Is Engineering–themed Digital Making at Home live stream today at 5.30pm GMT, where she will share insights into her work as a creative inventor.

Dr Lucy Rogers, here shown with soap bubbles, will be our guest our This is Engineering Day–themed live stream for young people. Photo credit: Karla Gowlett
Your young people can ask inventor Dr Lucy Rogers their questions live today! Photo credit: Karla Gowlett

Future engineers creating projects for social good

In July, we were lucky enough to have Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), as a judge for Coolest Projects, our technology fair for young creators. Dr Hayaatun Sillem says, “Engineering is a fantastic career if you want to make a difference, improve people’s lives, and shape the future.”

A Coolest Projects participant, a future engineer we're celebrating on today's This is Engineering Day
Our community’s young digital makers want to #BeTheDifference

In total, the young people taking part in Coolest Projects 2020 online presented 560 projects, of which over 300 projects were made specifically for social good. Here’s a small sample from some future engineers across the world:

Carlos, Blanca & Mario from Spain created El ojo que te observa (The all-seeing eye)

“Our project is a virtual big eye doorman that detects if you wear a mask […] we chose this project because we like artificial intelligence and robotics and we wanted to help against the coronavirus.”

Momoka from Japan created AI trash can

“I want people to put trash in the correct place so I made this AI trash can. This AI trash can separates the trash. I used ML2 Scratch. I used a camera to help the computer learn what type of trash it is.”

Abhiy from the UK created Burglar Buster

“As we know, burglary cases are very frequent and it is upsetting for the families whose houses are burglarised and [can] make them feel fearful, sad and helpless. Therefore, I tried to build a system which will help everyone to secure their houses.”

Tune in today: This is Engineering-themed live stream with special guest Dr Lucy Rogers

Professor Lucy Rogers PhD is an inventor with a sense of fun! She is a Fellow of the RAEng, and RAEng Visiting Professor of Engineering:Creativity and Communication at Brunel University, London. She’s also a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Adept at bringing ideas to life, from robot dinosaurs to mini mannequins — and even a fartometer for IBM! — she has developed her creativity and communication skills and shares her tricks and tools with others. 

Here Dr Lucy Rogers shares her advice for young people who want to get involved in engineering:

1. Create your own goal 

A goal or a useful problem will help you get over the steep learning curve that is inevitable in learning about new pieces of technology. Your goal does not have to be big: my first Internet of Things project was making a LED shine when the International Space Station was overhead.

2. Make your world a little better

To me “engineering” is really “problem-solving”. Find problems to solve. You may have to make something, program something, or do something. How can you make your own world a little better? 

3. Learn how to fail safely 

Learn how to fail safely: break projects into smaller pieces, and try each piece. If it doesn’t work, you can try again. It’s only at the end of a project that you should put all the “working” pieces together (and even then, they may not work nicely together!)

Dr Lucy Rogers will be joining our Digital Making at Home educators on our This is Engineering-themed live stream today at 5.30pm GMT.

This is your young people’s chance to be inspired by this amazing inventor! And we will take live questions via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch, so make sure your young people are able to get Dr Lucy’s live answers to their own questions about digital making, creativity, and all things engineering!

Engineering at home, right now

To get inspired about engineering right now, your young people can follow along step by step with Electricity generation, our brand-new, free digital making project on the impact of non-renewable energy on our planet!

Try out coding a Scratch project about electricity generation on  today's This is Engineering Day

While coding this Scratch project, learners input real data about the type and amount of natural resources that countries across the world use to generate electricity, and they then compare the results using an animated data visualisation.

The data we’ve made part of this project was compiled by the International Energy Agency, and we were also kindly given guidance by the Renewable Energy Foundation.

To find out more about This is Engineering Day, please visit  www.ThisisEngineering.org.uk.

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Learn at home #4: All about Scratch

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There’s no question that families have faced disruptions and tough challenges over the last few months. For the parents and carers who’ve been supporting their children with learning at home, it can feel overwhelming, stressful, rewarding — or all three! As many children are still carrying on with learning at home, we are supporting them with extra resources, and parents with support tutorials.

In our last blog post for parents, we talked to you about debugging — finding and fixing errors in code. This week we’re covering the amazing things young people can do and learn with Scratch — it’s not just for beginners!

Getting the most out of Scratch

Scratch is a block-based programming tool that lets you create lots of different projects. It’s often one of the first programming tools children use in primary school. We’ve made a video introduction to Scratch in case you’re less familiar with it.

If your child at home is ready to try more challenging coding tasks, Scratch is still a great tool for them, as they can use it to build some truly epic projects.

Joel Bayubasire CoderDojo

In this video, Mark shows you examples from the Scratch community and signposts useful resources that will support you and your children as they develop their confidence in Scratch.

Scratch is a great tool for building complex, unique, and challenging projects. For example, the Scratch game Fortnite Z involves 13,500 Scratch blocks and took more than four months to develop. People have also built astounding 3D graphic projects in Scratch!

3D model of a glycine molecule
A 3D model of a molecule, built in Scratch

Exploring and learning in the Scratch community 

The Scratch community is a great place for young people to safely share their projects with each other and to like and comment on them. It’s a real treasure trove they can explore to find inspiration and learning opportunities, and for young people who are spending more time at home, it offers a way to connect to peers around the world.

In this video, Katharine shows you how the team behind Scratch keeps the community safe, where you as a parent can find the information you need, and how your child will engage with the community.

Code along with us! 

To keep young people entertained and learning, we’re running a Digital Making at Home series. You’ll find new, free code-along videos every Monday, with different themes and projects for all levels of experience. We have lots of Scratch code-alongs on offer! We also live-stream a code-along session every Wednesday at 14:00 BST at rpf.io/home.

Digital Making at Home from the Raspberry Pi Foundation V1

We want your feedback

We’ve been asking parents what they’d like to see as part of our initiative to support them and the young people they care for. They’ve sent us some great suggestions so far! If you’d like to share your thoughts too, email us at parents@raspberrypi.org.

Sign up for our bi-weekly emails, tailored to your needs

Sign up now to start receiving free activities suitable to your child’s age and experience level straight to your inbox. And let us know what you as a parent or guardian need help with, and what you’d like more or less of from us.


PS All of our resources are completely free. This is made possible thanks to the generous donations of individuals and organisations. Learn how you can help too!

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Learn at home: a guide for parents #2

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With millions of schools still in lockdown, parents have been telling us that they need help to support their children with learning computing at home. As well as providing loads of great content for young people, we’ve been working on support tutorials specifically for parents who want to understand and learn about the programmes used in schools and our resources.

If you don’t know your Scratch from your Trinket and your Python, we’ve got you!

Glen, Web Developer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and Maddie, aged 8

 

What are Python and Trinket all about?

In our last blog post for parents, we talked to you about Scratch, the programming language used in most primary schools. This time Mark, Youth Programmes Manager at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, takes you through how to use Trinket. Trinket is a free online platform that lets you write and run your code in any web browser. This is super useful because it means you don’t have to install any new software.

A parents’ introduction to Trinket

Sign up to our regular parents’ newsletter to receive regular, FREE tutorials, tips & fun projects for young people of all levels of experience: http://rpf.i…

Trinket also lets you create public web pages and projects that can be viewed by anyone with the link to them. That means your child can easily share their coding creation with others, and for you that’s a good opportunity to talk to them about staying safe online and not sharing any personal information.

Lincoln, aged 10

Getting to know Python

We’ve also got an introduction to Python for you, from Mac, a Learning Manager on our team. He’ll guide you through what to expect from Python, which is a widely used text-based programming language. For many learners, Python is their first text-based language, because it’s very readable, and you can get things done with fewer lines of code than in many other programming languages. In addition, Python has support for ‘Turtle’ graphics and other features that make coding more fun and colourful for learners. Turtle is simply a Python feature that works like a drawing board, letting you control a turtle to draw anything you like using code.

A parents’ introduction to Python

Sign up to our regular parents’ newsletter to receive regular, FREE tutorials, tips & fun projects for young people of all levels of experience: http://rpf.i…

Why not try out Mac’s suggestions of Hello world, Countdown timer, and Outfit recommender for  yourself?

Python is used in lots of real-world software applications in industries such as aerospace, retail banking, insurance and healthcare, so it’s very useful for your children to learn it!

Parent diary: juggling homeschooling and work

Olympia is Head of Youth Programmes at the Raspberry Pi Foundation and also a mum to two girls aged 9 and 11. She is currently homeschooling them as well as working (and hopefully having the odd evening to herself!). Olympia shares her own experience of learning during lockdown and how her family are adapting to their new routine.

Parent diary: Juggling homeschooling and work

Olympia Brown, Head of Youth Partnerships at the Raspberry Pi Foundation shares her experience of homeschooling during the lockdown, and how her family are a…

Digital Making at Home

To keep young people entertained and learning, we launched our Digital Making at Home series, which is free and accessible to everyone. New code-along videos are released every Monday, with different themes and projects for all levels of experience.

Code along live with the team on Wednesday 6 May at 14:00 BST / 9:00 EDT for a special session of Digital Making at Home

Sarah and Ozzy, aged 13

We want your feedback

We’ve been asking parents what they’d like to see as part of our initiative to support young people and parents. We’ve had some great suggestions so far! If you’d like to share your thoughts, you can email us at parents@raspberrypi.org.

Sign up for our bi-weekly emails, tailored to your needs

Sign up now to start receiving free activities suitable to your child’s age and experience level, straight to your inbox. And let us know what you as a parent or guardian need help with, and what you’d like more or less of from us. 

PS: All of our resources are completely free. This is made possible thanks to the generous donations of individuals and organisations. Learn how you can help too!

 

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Digital making at home: a guide for parents

via Raspberry Pi

This blog post is for parents. Specifically, it’s for parents who want to help their kids get into making things with technology but don’t know where to start.

Lots of us at the Raspberry Pi Foundation are parents too, and right now we’re also all trying to figure out how to keep our kids occupied, entertained, and learning useful things. So we recognise that families are currently facing lots of challenges, which is why we’re supporting parents and carers with learning for young people at home.

We already provide loads of resources and activities that are available for free, online, in up to 30 languages, and we’ll help you get your children set up and started.

A young person having fun with digital making at home

You don’t need any coding experience to get involved

All of our online projects for young people are completely free. They include step-by-step instructions and are easily filtered by level and topic. The projects are designed so that young people can complete them in no more than an hour.

You don’t need any coding experience yourself. The step-by-step instructions mean you can learn alongside your child, or, as long as they can read the instructions themselves, they can work independently on the projects.

A teenager having fun with digital making at home

Watch our support tutorials 

If you’re wondering where to start, or how digital making can work for your young people at home, take a look at our introduction video by Mark, our Youth Programmes Manager. He tells you about Scratch, a free graphical programming language developed by our friends at the Scratch Foundation (plus, it’s the language used to teach computing in most primary schools and a great place to start for beginners):

A parents’ introduction to the programming language Scratch

Find out more about the #RaspberryPi Foundation: Raspberry Pi http://rpf.io/ytrpi Code Club UK http://rpf.io/ytccuk Code Club International http://rpf.io/ytc…

He also takes you through our project site, which is where all the fun stuff happens:

How to use the Raspberry Pi projects site

Find out more about the #RaspberryPi Foundation: Raspberry Pi http://rpf.io/ytrpi Code Club UK http://rpf.io/ytccuk Code Club International http://rpf.io/ytc…

The Digital Making at Home initiative

We’re also offering a series of free weekly, instructor-led videos called Digital Making at Home, which have code-along instructions to help young people with fun projects they can do independently at home. Here’s more information about how you and your family can get involved.

Get involved in Digital Making at Home

Find out more about the #RaspberryPi Foundation: Raspberry Pi http://rpf.io/ytrpi Code Club UK http://rpf.io/ytccuk Code Club International http://rpf.io/ytc…

Sign up for our free content tailored to your needs

Sign up now to start receiving free activities suitable to your child’s age and ability straight to your inbox. And let us know what you as a parent or carer need help with, and what you’d like more or less of.

A child having fun with digital making at home using a tablet

What parents and carers say

“I started to try coding activities with my kids a few years ago (now aged 8 and 11). They really like the clear instructions from the Raspberry Pi projects site, it has helped build their confidence particularly when getting started. Their interest in coding has gone up and down over that time, but when I sense that they are losing interest I try to step back and not push it. They like coding simple games particularly, and changing the rules to make it easier for them to win!” Olympia, parent and Head of Youth Partnerships at the Raspberry Pi Foundation 

A girl with her Scratch project

“Finding independent activities is really hard – especially good ones that are also educational. Once we were up and running, Dylan (age 9) was able to follow the step-by-step video and make a game in Scratch by himself!”  Dan, step-parent 

A child having fun with digital making at home using a Crumble controller

“My younger daughter is on the autistic spectrum and really enjoys creating projects which appeal to her particular interests. So we often modify Scratch projects so that she can use different images or add in different sounds. Shifting the focus to things she particularly enjoys means that when we hit a bug, she is more motivated to persevere, fix it, and celebrate her success. Taking a child-centred approach is important for lots of children who want to be in control of their own learning journey.” Katharine, parent and Programme Coordinator at the Raspberry Pi Foundation 

“I introduced my son to coding in Scratch when he was 6. At the start, it was important to sit with him as he worked through little projects. I kept my hands away from his mouse and keyboard and let him explore the interface, with a bit of gentle guidance. Within no time he was independently creating his own projects, and using Scratch for his school work and home life. He even created a random Karate moves generator to help him prepare for a Karate grading. Eventually he wanted to move on though, and when Scratch became too limited we explored some HTML and CSS, and then a little Python. He’s now fully independent, and coding 3D games using Unity. It’s got to the point where he’s using a language that I have no experience with, so debugging just involves me asking him to explain his code and helping him to find solutions online.” Marc Scott, Parent and Senior Learning Manager at the Raspberry Pi Foundation

Our simple top tips (from Marc, Senior Learning Manager)

  • If possible, sit with your child and have them explain to you what they are doing. You don’t have to understand the code, but you can listen and ask questions. If they talk through their thought process, they’re more likely to be successful.
  • Maintain a hands-off approach: offer them suggestions rather than instructions, and keep your hands off their keyboard and mouse.
  • Getting things wrong is one of the best ways to learn. When they encounter bugs in their programs (which they will!), ask questions before giving answers. Try “Why do you think that didn’t work? or “Have you tried changing this bit of code?”
  • Pick tools that are accessible or familiar to the young person. If they like Scratch, then stick with it until they’re trying to do things so complicated that they need more advanced software.
  • If a young person is going to share their project online, you should remind them not to include personal information in it. Tip: Your child has probably learned about e-safety at school, so why not ask them about the rules they’ve learned in class?
  • Always ask the young person to show you what they have made, and show enthusiasm for their work. You may not have a clue what it is, or you might think it’s super simple, but they’ll be proud of it and encouraged if you are too!

PS: All of our resources are completely free. This is made possible thanks to the generous donations of individuals and organisations. Learn how you can help too!

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