Author Archives: Philip Colligan

P.A.R.T.Y.

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On 4 and 5 March 2017, more than 1,800 people got together in Cambridge to celebrate five years of Raspberry Pi and Code Club. We had cake, code, robots, explosions, and unicorn face paint. It was all kinds of awesome.

Celebrating five years of Raspberry Pi and Code Club

Uploaded by Raspberry Pi on 2017-03-10.

It’s hard to believe that it was only five years ago that we launched the first Raspberry Pi computer. Back then, our ambitions stretched to maybe a few tens of thousands of units, and our hope was simply that we could inspire more young people to study computer science.

Fast forward to 2017 and the Raspberry Pi is the third most successful computing platform of all time, with more than twelve and a half million units used by makers, educators, scientists, and entrepreneurs all over the world (you can read more about this in our Annual Review).

On 28 February, we announced the latest addition to our family of devices, the Raspberry Pi Zero W, which brings wireless connectivity and Bluetooth to the Pi Zero for an astonishing $10. You seemed to like it: in the four days between the product launch and the first day of the Birthday Party, we sold more than 100,000 units. We absolutely love seeing all the cool things you’re building with them!

Raspberry Pi Zero W

Celebrating our community

Low-cost, high-performance computers are a big part of the story, but they’re not the whole story. One of the most remarkable things about Raspberry Pi is the amazing community that has come together around the idea that more people should have the skills and confidence to get creative with technology.

For every person working for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, there are hundreds and thousands of community members outside the organisation who advance that mission every day. They run Raspberry Jams, volunteer at Code Clubs, write educational resources, moderate our forums, and so much more. The Birthday Party is one of the ways that we celebrate what they’ve achieved and say thank you to them for everything they’ve done.

Over the two days of the celebration, there were 57 workshops and talks from community members, including several that were designed and run by young people. I managed to listen to more of the talks this year, and I was really impressed by the breadth of subjects covered and the expertise on display.

All About Code on Twitter

Big thanks to @Raspberry_Pi for letting me run #PiParty @edu_blocks workshop and to @cjdell for his continuing help and support

Educators are an important part of our community and it was great to see so many of our Certified Educators leading sessions and contributing across the whole event.

Carrie Anne Philbin on Twitter

Thanks to my panel of @raspberry_pi certified educators – you are all amazing! #piparty https://t.co/0psnTEnfxq

Hands-on experiences

One of the goals for this year’s event was to give everyone the opportunity to get hands-on experience of digital making and, even if you weren’t able to get a place at one of the sold-out workshops, there were heaps of drop-in and ask-the-expert sessions, giving everyone the chance to get involved.

The marketplace was one of this year’s highlights: it featured more than 20 exhibitors including the awesome Pimoroni and Pi Hut, as well as some great maker creations, from the Tech Wishing Well to a game of robot football. It was great to see so many young people inspired by other people’s makes.

Child looking at a handmade robot at the Raspberry Pi fifth birthday weekend

Code Club’s celebrations

As I mentioned before, this year’s party was very much a joint celebration, marking five years of both Raspberry Pi and Code Club.

Since its launch in 2012, Code Club has established itself as one of the largest networks of after-school clubs in the world. As well as celebrating the milestone of 5,000 active Code Clubs in the UK, it was a real treat to welcome Code Club’s partners from across the world, including Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, France, New Zealand, South Korea, and Ukraine.

Representatives of Code Club International at the Raspberry Pi fifth birthday party

Representatives of Code Club International, up for a birthday party!

Our amazing team

There are so many people to thank for making our fifth Birthday Party such a massive success. The Cambridge Junction was a fantastic venue with a wonderful team (you can support their work here). Our friends at RealVNC provided generous sponsorship and practical demonstrations. ModMyPi packed hundreds of swag bags with swag donated by all of our exhibitors. Fuzzy Duck Brewery did us proud with another batch of their Irrational Ale.

We’re hugely grateful to Sam Aaron and Fran Scott who provided the amazing finales on Saturday and Sunday. No party is quite the same without an algorave and a lot of explosions.

Most of all, I want to say a massive thank you to all of our volunteers and community members: you really did make the Birthday Party possible, and we couldn’t have done it without you.

One of the things we stand for at Raspberry Pi is making computing and digital making accessible to all. There’s a long way to go before we can claim that we’ve achieved that goal, but it was fantastic to see so much genuine diversity on display.

Probably the most important piece of feedback I heard about the weekend was how welcoming it felt for people who were new to the movement. That is entirely down to the generous, open culture that has been created by our community. Thank you all.

Collage of Raspberry Pi and Code Club fifth birthday images

 

 

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Hello World – a new magazine for educators

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Today, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is launching a new, free resource for educators.

Hello World – a new magazine for educators

Hello World is a magazine about computing and digital making written by educators, for educators. With three issues each year, it contains 100 pages filled with news, features, teaching resources, reviews, research and much more. It is designed to be cross-curricular and useful to all kinds of educators, from classroom teachers to librarians.

Hello World is a magazine about computing and digital making written by educators, for educators. With three issues each year, it contains 100 pages filled with news, features, teaching resources, reviews, research and much more.

It is designed to be cross-curricular and useful to all kinds of educators, from classroom teachers to librarians.  While it includes lots of great examples of how educators are using Raspberry Pi computers in education, it is device- and platform-neutral.

Community building

As with everything we do at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Hello World is about community building. Our goal is to provide a resource that will help educators connect, share great practice, and learn from each other.

Hello World is a collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Computing at School, the grass-roots organisation of computing teachers that’s part of the British Computing Society. The magazine builds on the fantastic legacy of Switched On, which it replaces as the official magazine for the Computing at School community.

We’re thrilled that many of the contributors to Switched On have agreed to continue writing for Hello World. They’re joined by educators and researchers from across the globe, as well as the team behind the amazing MagPi, the official Raspberry Pi magazine, who are producing Hello World.

print (“Hello, World!”)

Hello World is available free, forever, for everyone online as a downloadable pdf.  The content is written to be internationally relevant, and includes features on the most interesting developments and best practices from around the world.

The very first issue of Hello World, the magazine about computing and digital making for educators

Thanks to the very generous support of our sponsors BT, we are also offering the magazine in a beautiful print version, delivered for free to the homes of serving educators in the UK.

Papert’s legacy 

This first issue is dedicated to Seymour Papert, in many ways the godfather of computing education. Papert was the creator of the Logo programming language and the author of some of the most important research on the role of computers in education. It will come at no surprise that his legacy has a big influence on our work at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, not least because one of our co-founders, Jack Lang, did a summer internship with Papert.

Seymour Papert

Seymour Papert with one of his computer games at the MIT Media Lab
Credit: Steve Liss/The Life Images Collection/Getty Images

Inside you’ll find articles exploring Papert’s influence on how we think about learning, on the rise of the maker movement, and on the software that is used to teach computing today from Scratch to Greenfoot.

Get involved

We will publish three issues of Hello World a year, timed to coincide with the start of the school terms here in the UK. We’d love to hear your feedback on this first issue, and please let us know what you’d like to see covered in future issues too.

The magazine is by educators, for educators. So if you have experience, insights or practical examples that you can share, get in touch: contact@helloworld.cc.

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2017: inspiring young makers and supporting educators

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By any measure, the Raspberry Pi Foundation had a fantastic 2016. We ended the year with over 11 million Raspberry Pi computers sold, millions of people using our learning resources, almost 1,000 Certified Educators in the UK and US, 75,000 children regularly attending over 5,000 Code Clubs in the UK, hundreds of Raspberry Jams taking place all over the world, code written by schoolkids running in space (yes, space), and much, much more.

Tim Peake on Twitter

Fantastic to see 5,000 active Code Clubs in the UK, helping over 75,000 young people learn to code. https://t.co/OyShrUzAhI @Raspberry_Pi https://t.co/luFj1qgzvQ

As I’ve said before, what we achieve is only possible thanks to the amazing community of makers, educators, volunteers, and young people all over the world who share our mission and support our work. You’re all awesome: thank you.

So here we are, just over a week into the New Year, and I thought it might be a good time to share with you some of what we’ve got planned for 2017.

Young digital makers

At the core of our mission is getting more young people excited about computing, and learning how to make things with computers. That was the original inspiration for the Raspberry Pi computer and it remains our number-one objective.

One of the ways we do that is through Code Club, a network of after-school clubs for 9- 11-year-olds run by teachers and volunteers. It’s already one of the largest networks of after-school clubs in the world, and this year we’ll be working with our existing partners in Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Ukraine, as well as finding more partners in more countries, to bring Code Club to many more children.

Code Club

This year also sees the launch of Pioneers, our new programme for teen digital makers. It’s built around a series of challenges that will inspire young people to make things with technology and share their makes with the world. Check out the first challenge here, and keep watching the hashtag #MakeYourIdeas across your favourite social media platforms.

This is Pioneers #MakeYourIdeas

UPDATE – The first challenge is now LIVE. Head here for more information https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCUzza7LJog Woohoo! Get together, get inspired, and get thinking. We’re looking for Pioneers to use technology to make something awesome. Get together in a team or on your own, post online to show us how you’re getting on, and then show the world your build when you’re done.

We’re also expanding our space programme Astro Pi, with 250 teams across Europe currently developing code that will be run on the ISS by ESA French Astronaut Thomas Pesquet. And, building on our Weather Station project, we’re excited to be developing new ideas for citizen science programmes that get more young people involved in computing.

European Astro Pi Challenge – Code your experiment

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake is safely back on Earth now, but French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is onboard the ISS, keen to see what students from all over Europe can do with the Astro Pi units too.

Supporting educators

Another big part of our work is supporting educators who are bringing computing and digital making into the classroom, and this year we’re going to be doing even more to help them.

Certified Educators

We’ll continue to grow our community of official Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, with Picademy training programmes in the UK and US. Watch out for those dates coming soon. We’re also opening up our educator training to a much wider audience through a series of online courses in partnership with FutureLearn. The first two courses are open for registration now, and we’ve got plans to develop and run more courses throughout the year, so if you’re an educator, let us know what you would find most useful.

We’re also really excited to be launching a brand-new free resource for educators later this month in partnership with CAS, the grass-roots network of computing educators. For now, it’s top-secret, but if you’re in the Bett Arena on 25 January, you’ll be the first to hear all about it.

Free educational resources

One of the most important things we do at Pi Towers is create the free educational resources that are used in Code Clubs, STEM clubs, CoderDojos, classrooms, libraries, makerspaces, and bedrooms by people of all ages learning about computing and digital making. We love making these resources and we know that you love using them. This year, we want to make them even more useful.

resources

As a first step, later this month we will share our digital making curriculum, which explains how we think about learning and progression, and which provides the structure for our educational resources and programmes. We’re publishing it so that we can get feedback to make it better, but we also hope that it will be used by other organisations creating educational resources.

We’re also working hard behind the scenes to improve the content and presentation of our learning resources. We want to include more diverse content like videos, make it easier for users to track their own progress, and generally make the experience more interactive and social. We’re looking forward to sharing that work and getting your feedback over the next few months.

Community

Last, but by no means least, we will continue to support and grow the community around our mission. We’ll be doing even more outreach, with ever more diverse groups, and doing much more to support the Raspberry Jam organisers and others who do so much to involve people in the digital making movement.

Birthday Bash

The other big community news is that we will be formally establishing ourselves as a charity in the US, which will provide the foundation (see what I did there?) for a serious expansion of our charitable activities and community in North America.


As you can see, we’ve got big plans for the year. Let me know what you think in the comments below and, if you’re excited about the mission, there’s lots of ways to get involved.

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Get to know the Raspberry Pi Foundation

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One of the best things about the Raspberry Pi Foundation is our awesome community. Anything we achieve is only possible because of the growing movement of makers, educators, programmers, volunteers and young people all over the world who share our mission. We work really hard to celebrate that community on this blog, across social media, in our magazine, and pretty much every other opportunity we get.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 16.32.56

But how much do you know about Raspberry Pi Foundation as an organisation? What kind of organisation are we? Who works here? What do they do?

Trustees

Our founders set Raspberry Pi up as an educational charity. That means we are an organisation that exists for the public benefit and, like all charities in the UK, we are governed by a board of trustees who are responsible for making sure that we use our resources effectively to achieve our charitable goals. It’s not an easy gig being trustee of a charity. There’s a lot of legal and other responsibility; endless paperwork, meetings and decisions; and you don’t get paid for any of it.

We’re insanely lucky to have a fantastic board of trustees, which includes several of our co-founders. In all sorts of different ways they add huge value to our work and we are very grateful to the whole board for their time and expertise.

Pete Lomas: Founder, Trustee and hardware designer of the first-gen Raspberry Pi

Pete Lomas: founder, trustee and hardware designer of the first-gen Raspberry Pi

The board of trustees is chaired by David Cleevely, who is a successful technology entrepreneur, angel investor, founder of charities, adviser to governments, and much, much more besides. If the role of a trustee can be tough, then the role of the chair is an order of magnitude more so. David makes it look effortless, but he puts in a huge amount of his personal time and energy into the Foundation, and we simply wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

cleevely

David Cleevely and some friends

Members

Charities in the UK also have members: if the trustees are like the board of directors of a commercial company, the members are like its shareholders (except without the shares). At the end of last year, we expanded the membership of the Foundation, appointing 20 outstanding individuals who share our mission and who can help us deliver on it. It’s a seriously impressive group already and, over the next few years, we want to expand the membership further, making it even more diverse and international. It’s important we get this right, in future the trustees of the Foundation will be selected from, and elected by the membership.

You can now find a full list of our members and trustees on the Foundation’s website.

A few of our Members - click through to see the rest.

A few of our members and trustees – click through to see the rest.

Trading

Our commercial activity (selling Raspberry Pi computers and other things) is done through a wholly-owned trading subsidiary (Raspberry Pi Trading Limited), which is led by Eben Upton. Any profits we make from our trading activity are invested in our charitable mission. So, every time you buy a Raspberry Pi computer you’re helping young people get involved in computing and digital making.

Eben Upton, Founder and CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading

Eben Upton, Founder and CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading

Like any company, Raspberry Pi Trading Limited has a board of directors, including a mix of executives, trustees of the Foundation and independent non-executives.

We’re delighted to have recently appointed David Gammon as a non-executive director on the board of Raspberry Pi Trading Limited. David has widespread experience in developing and building technology based businesses. He is the non-executive chairman of Frontier Developments and the founding CEO of investment firm Rockspring. He’s only been with us for a couple of weeks and is already making an impact.

Reading

We’ve also added a new section to the website which makes it easier for you to find the key documents that describe what we do, including our strategy, annual reviews from 2014 and 2015, and our Trustees’ report and financial statements for the past few years.

RPi_AnnualReport_2015-448x700

Click through to read our Annual Review, reports, strategy document, and more.

Team

The final part of our new and improved About Us section is an introduction to our fabulous team.

A few of our team members - we're working on getting pictures of the people who are currently ghosts!

A few of our team members – we’re working on getting pictures of the people who are currently ghosts!

The Foundation has grown quite a lot over the past year, not least as a result of the merger with Code Club last autumn. Altogether we now have 65 people beavering away at Pi Towers (and other locations), designing awesome products and software, delivering educational programmes, supporting Code Clubs around the world, producing magazines, books and educational resources, training educators and lots more.

It’s a fantastically diverse and creative bunch of programmers, educators and makers. We love talking to members of the community, so please do look out for us at events, on the forums, on Twitter, and elsewhere.

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What a party!

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On Monday 29 February, we celebrated the fourth (or first) birthday of the Raspberry Pi computer by giving a little gift to the community in the form of the Raspberry Pi 3.  A lot more power, with built in wireless LAN and Bluetooth, for the same great price of $35.

On 5 and 6 March, the community paid us back and then some.  Well over 1500 people of all ages gathered at the Cambridge Computer Lab for our Big Birthday Weekend.  An amazing festival of digital making and creativity, showcasing the very best that our community has to offer. For us at the Foundation, it was the best birthday present we could have hoped for.

boy at piparty

Here are some of my personal highlights.

Across the two days, there were 47 talks from community members and Foundation staff showcasing projects, sharing experiences of using Raspberry Pi in education, talking about Code Clubs, introducing new software developments, and exploring some of the big issues like getting more women and girls involved in digital making.  The lecture theatres were packed all weekend.

packed lecture theatre

photo credit: @teknoteacher

I was particularly pleased to see so many great contributions from young community members, like European Digital Girl of the Year Yasmin Bey‘s powerful talk on Sunday morning about encouraging more girls into tech.

Yasmin Bey

Yasmin Bey

It was great for me to be able to give a talk on what we’ve been up to in the Foundation and get some feedback on our strategy from the community. Thank you to everyone who came along to that session.

Philip Colligan

Me talking about the Foundation’s strategy at #piparty

We were also treated to both (accidental) pyrotechnics and (deliberate) magic.  All of the talks were recorded and will be available online in the next few days, so don’t worry if you missed them.

Raspberry Pi Drone Fire at the Pi Party Weekend

One of the talks at the Raspberry Pi Birthday Party weekend was one given by Andy Barker. He demonstrated “Zoe”, a Raspberry Pi powered quadcopter. His talk went well but the highlight was test run three. This is where “Zoe” drifted to one side, attacked Andy and then burst into flames.

There were 28 workshops where kids and adults had the chance to get hands-on with Raspberry Pi, have a go at hacking Minecraft, make music with Sonic Pi, and learn how to make projects with Scratch. Again, the vast majority of these were led by volunteers from the community, including several that were led by young people.

workshop

One of the workshops run by our Creative Technologists

One of my personal highlights was the workshop that brought together Raspberry Jam Makers from all over the world, to share experiences and explore how we could work together to grow the community even further.

jam workshop

The show and tell zone was packed full of ingenious projects that members of the community had built for the sheer joy of it. Like most people, I got lost for hours among the games, robots, demos, and inventions.

Sherry Coutu on Twitter

Loved watching the little girls everywhere at the @Raspberry_Pi #PiParty pic.twitter.com/rx7PK6i9F5

Show and tell

I’ll also confess to a little competitiveness trying to defeat the AI Connect 4, a contest which sadly ended in an honourable draw. I know how Lee Sedol must be feeling after his first couple of games of Go against DeepMind.

Connect 4 Robot at Raspberry Pi Birthday Party

A Raspberry Pi powered robotic arm that plays Connect 4

The marketplace brought together lots of the best makers and distributors in the ecosystem.  Pimoroni, The Pi Hut, ModMyPi, pi-top, and many, many more were on hand.  They’re such an important part of the community and it was great to catch up with them and play with some of the new toys they have on offer.

market place

There was a bustling marketplace

Special thanks to our friends pi-top who presented Eben, Liz and David (our esteemed chairman) with a fourth birthday edition of their wonderful Raspberry Pi-powered laptop.

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Saturday night ended with a massive party involving 110 pizzas, a huge quantity of cake, gallons of soft drinks, 2.5 barrels of beer brewed using a Raspberry Pi, and one barrel of Raspberry Blush cider.

David Bower on Twitter

Happy 4th Birthday @Raspberry_Pi #PiParty @EbenUpton @Liz_Upton pic.twitter.com/n3VBSoFLhB

We were also treated to a live coding music performance by the wonderful Sam Aaron, creator of Sonic Pi, with his band Poly Core.

David Pride on Twitter

The superb @samaaron jamming live @Sonic_Pi at the @Raspberry_Pi #PiParty – with backing band!! pic.twitter.com/QZJhsZ7CIn

Perhaps the best thing about the Big Birthday Party was that it was a community effort.

Enormous thanks go to Mike Horne and Tim Richardson, the organisers of Cam Jam, who once again gave huge amounts of their time to make it all happen.

We’re also hugely grateful to the Cambridge Computer Lab who very generously gave us the use of their fantastic building.  Thanks, too, to Microsoft and Real VNC, who sponsored the event and provided fantastic interactive demos. Thanks to Ben at Fuzzy Duck brewery for the Irrational Ale.

One of the stand-out contributions over the weekend was from our growing community of young people, including the self-styled but appropriately named “Pi Squad”, and our very own Creative Technologists. They are such a talented bunch of people, and it’s great to see them already taking leadership positions in the community.

The Pi Squad at #PiParty

“The Pi Squad at #PiParty”

The Foundation team was also out in strength across the weekend, giving talks, running workshops, signing up volunteers for Code Club, and generally helping out wherever would could.

Our own Dave Honess deserves a special mention for spending all of Sunday in a space suit to promote our new Astro Pi competition. As another colleague (Matt Richardson) said, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”.

Dave and Tim

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

We might all be exhausted, but we’re already looking forward to next year.

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Our growing team (and how you can join it)

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Today we’re delighted to welcome two new colleagues to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and to launch a recruitment campaign to find even more outstanding people to join our growing team.

First, meet the new arrivals!

Oliver Quinlan is joining the Foundation as Research Manager. Oliver joins us from Nesta where he has been part of the Digital Education team for the past couple of years, leading research into digital making, and running a series of trials on the use of digital technologies in the classroom. Oliver was the author of Nesta’s Young Digital Makers report, which is well worth a read.

oliver-quinlan

Oliver is an ex-teacher, author, blogger, and speaker on the use of technology in education. you can find him online here: http://www.oliverquinlan.com/blog/. Oliver is going to lead the Foundation’s research work, which will include developing our understanding of what approaches work best to teaching people how to make things with computers.

Helen Drury is joining us as Events and Outreach Manager. Some of you may have already met Helen, who has been working with us part-time over the past few months leading the events and outreach efforts on Astro Pi.

helen_drury

Helen has also recently left Nesta, where she was in the Digital Education team and, amongst other things, led all of the events and outreach work as part of their digital makers fund. Helen is going to lead for the Foundation on our outreach and events programme, which is a central part of our strategy to engage many more people in digital making.

Join a growing team

Oliver and Helen join a growing team. Across the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Code Club, and Raspberry Pi Trading, we now have 60 brilliant people dedicated to our mission to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world. It’s a fantastic mix of hardware and software engineers, developers, educators, makers, designers, and more.

We’re launching a recruitment campaign today to find four more outstanding people to join the team (click the links for details and how to apply):

This is an exciting time to join Raspberry Pi. In the space of just three months at the end of last year, we merged with Code Club, put Raspberry Pi computers and code written by British school children on the International Space Station, and launched the world’s first $5 computer by giving it away for free on the cover of our magazine. All of this while continuing to generate free learning resources, training educators, and supporting our global community to help people learn how to make things with computers.

Just imagine what we could do next, with your help.

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