Author Archives: Olympia Brown

Social Action Hackathon with the Scouts

via Raspberry Pi

When you think of the Scouts, do you think of a self-sufficient young person with heaps of creativity, leadership, initiative, and a strong team ethic? So do we! That’s why we’re so excited about our latest opportunity to bring digital making to young people with the world’s leading youth organisation.

On 9 and 10 November, a large group of Scouts converged on their global headquarters at Gilwell Park in Surrey to attend a Social Action Hackathon hosted by a great team of digital making educators from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

The event was to celebrate internet service provider Plusnet’s partnership with the Scout Association, through which Scout groups throughout the UK will be given free WiFi access. This will allow them to work towards tech-based badges, including the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge.

The Social Action Hackathon

Over two days, the Scouts participated in our cutting-edge hackathon, where they were taught authentic agile development techniques; handed a crate of Raspberry Pi computers, electronic components, and construction materials; and given free rein to create something awesome.

The Social Action Hackathon was designed to directly support the Scout Association’s A Million Hands project, which aims to encourage Scouts to ‘leave the world a little better than they found it’ by engaging with their UK-based charity partners. During the Hackathon, the Scout Association asked the young people to create a technological solution that might benefit one of these important charities, or the people and communities that they support.

Creating with tech

First, participants were shown the capabilities of the technology available to them during the Hackathon by undertaking some short, confidence-boosting programming activities, which got them thinking about what assistive technologies they could create with the resources available. Then, they chose a call-to-action video by one of the A Million Hands charity partners as the basis of their design brief.

The event was designed to feel like a role-playing game in which teams of Scouts assumed the part of a fledgling technology start-up, who were designing a product for a client which they would bring to market. The teams designed and prototyped their assistive technology through a process used all over the world in technology and software companies, known as agile development methodology.

The fundamental principles of agile development are:

  • Only work on the most important things at any given point in time
  • Break those things into bite-sized tasks for individuals to work on autonomously
  • Catch up regularly on progress to work out what is important now, and change your plan to adapt if you need to
  • Start by making something simple that works, then add to it or change it into something better in several steps

The ‘creation’ phase of the Hackathon consisted of several 90-minute rounds called sprints, each of which began with a team meeting (or stand-up) just as they would in a real agile workplace. Teams broke their project idea down into individual tasks, which were then put into an organisational tool known as a kanban board, which is designed to allow teams to get an instant snapshot of their current progress, and to help them to problem-solve, and adapt or change their current focus and plans at each stand-up meeting.

The final pitch

As their final task, teams had to present their work to a panel of experts. The four-person panel included the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Head of Youth Partnerships, Olympia Brown, and television presenter, Reggie Yates, an advocate for Mind, one of the A Million Hands charity partners.

By completing the Social Action Hackathon, the young people also completed the fifth and most complex stage of the Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge in just two days — a real accomplishment!

Get involved!

If you think your Scout group might like to take their Digital Maker Badge, you can find free curriculum resources for all ages of Scout group, from Beavers to Explorers, on the Raspberry Pi Foundation partner page.

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UK Scouts! New resources to support the Digital Maker badge

via Raspberry Pi

Six months ago, we announced our partnership with the Scout Association in the UK: we launched the new Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge, releasing new badge requirements, along with resources for stages 1 and 2, to help tens of thousands of young people learn how to create with technology.

Fun fact: when we launched the badge, it became the very first one to feature the new Scouts logo.

More resources!

Since then, we’ve been developing resources for more stages of the badge, and we’ve just released activities to support more of stage 2 and stage 3.

The Scouts on Twitter

We’ve teamed up with our friends at @Raspberry_Pi to give you even more resources to get stuck into! Here’s, Scout Ambassador, @astro_timpeake telling you why it’s so important that young people improve their digital technology skills. Read more here: https://t.co/4vwOwBDpv4 https://t.co/kKY4BVB0a2

Because the Digital Maker badge is a staged activity badge, any section of the Scouts movement can tackle it. And since an activity that interests and engages a Beaver is likely to be quite different to one that engages an Explorer Scout, we’ve increased the variety of activities we’re providing.

More tech!

The first set of activity resources we released either needed no technology or laptops only, as the leaders we spoke to told us it shouldn’t be too difficult to get hold of some laptops for a session. For the new resources, we’ve increased the variety of tech that we recommend using. Some of the activities use the micro:bit, since it’s a low-cost, easy-to-use bit of tech. For leaders unfamiliar with the micro:bit, we’ve put together this guide on using the device.

More activities!

With all our activity resources, we show how digital making fits into the scouting movement and into many typical activities you’d do with your troop. For example, you can program the micro:bit to be the musical accompaniment to your next campfire. Or, you can create your own custom map to show points on a recent hike that you did together — anything from where someone fell over, to where you saw the most amazing view.

More support!

Next year, we’re going to release even more material to support Scouts tackling the Digital Maker badge. We’ll carry on producing videos like this lovely one:

Computers in the real world

Uploaded by Raspberry Pi on 2018-09-28.

We’re also going to be trialling some leader training days to build your digital making confidence. In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can always email scouts@raspberrypi.org.

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