Tag Archives: Education

The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Digital Making Curriculum

via Raspberry Pi

At Raspberry Pi, we’re determined in our ambition to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world: one way we pursue this is by developing high-quality learning resources to support a growing community of educators. We spend a lot of time thinking hard about what you can learn by tinkering and making with a Raspberry Pi, and other devices and platforms, in order to become skilled in computer programming, electronics, and physical computing.

Now, we’ve taken an exciting step in this journey by defining our own digital making curriculum that will help people everywhere learn new skills.

A PDF version of the curriculum is also available to download.

Who is it for?

We have a large and diverse community of people who are interested in digital making. Some might use the curriculum to help guide and inform their own learning, or perhaps their children’s learning. People who run digital making clubs at schools, community centres, and Raspberry Jams may draw on it for extra guidance on activities that will engage their learners. Some teachers may wish to use the curriculum as inspiration for what to teach their students.

Raspberry Pi produces an extensive and varied range of online learning resources and delivers a huge teacher training program. In creating this curriculum, we have produced our own guide that we can use to help plan our resources and make sure we cover the broad spectrum of learners’ needs.

Progression

Learning anything involves progression. You start with certain skills and knowledge and then, with guidance, practice, and understanding, you gradually progress towards broader and deeper knowledge and competence. Our digital making curriculum is structured around this progression, and in representing it, we wanted to avoid the age-related and stage-related labels that are often associated with a learner’s progress and the preconceptions these labels bring. We came up with our own, using characters to represent different levels of competence, starting with Creator and moving onto Builder and Developer before becoming a Maker.

Progress through our curriculum and become a digital maker

Strands

We want to help people to make things so that they can become the inventors, creators, and makers of tomorrow. Digital making, STEAM, project-based learning, and tinkering are at the core of our teaching philosophy which can be summed up simply as ‘we learn best by doing’.

We’ve created five strands which we think encapsulate key concepts and skills in digital making: Design, Programming, Physical Computing, Manufacture, and Community and Sharing.

Computational thinking

One of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s aims is to help people to learn about computer science and how to make things with computers. We believe that learning how to create with digital technology will help people shape an increasingly digital world, and prepare them for the work of the future.

Computational thinking is at the heart of the learning that we advocate. It’s the thought process that underpins computing and digital making: formulating a problem and expressing its solution in such a way that a computer can effectively carry it out. Computational thinking covers a broad range of knowledge and skills including, but not limited to:

  • Logical reasoning
  • Algorithmic thinking
  • Pattern recognition
  • Abstraction
  • Decomposition
  • Debugging
  • Problem solving

By progressing through our curriculum, learners will develop computational thinking skills and put them into practice.

What’s not on our curriculum?

If there’s one thing we learned from our extensive work in formulating this curriculum, it’s that no two educators or experts can agree on the best approach to progression and learning in the field of digital making. Our curriculum is intended to represent the skills and thought processes essential to making things with technology. We’ve tried to keep the headline outcomes as broad as possible, and then provide further examples as a guide to what could be included.

Our digital making curriculum is not intended to be a replacement for computer science-related curricula around the world, such as the ‘Computing Programme of Study’ in England or the ‘Digital Technologies’ curriculum in Australia. We hope that following our learning pathways will support the study of formal curricular and exam specifications in a fun and tangible way. As we continue to expand our catalogue of free learning resources, we expect our curriculum will grow and improve, and your input into that process will be vital.

Get involved

We’re proud to be part of a movement that aims to empower people to shape their world through digital technologies. We value the support of our community of makers, educators, volunteers, and enthusiasts. With this in mind, we’re interested to hear your thoughts on our digital making curriculum. Add your feedback to this form, or talk to us at one of the events that Raspberry Pi will attend in 2017.

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Our full 2017 schedule of UK Picademy events

via Raspberry Pi

Happy new year to everyone! We’re back with a new programme of Picademy events for 2017. All our UK events have been scheduled up to the end of the year, so you can look ahead and choose something at a location and date that is convenient.

An educator gets to grips with our Camera Module

For the uninitiated, Picademy is a free CPD programme that aims to give educators the skills and knowledge they need to get creative with computing, no matter what their level of experience. In fact, you don’t need any previous experience to apply, just an enthusiasm for teaching kids computing. Each course lasts for two full days and is a mixture of digital making workshops, project-based learning, and hacking. Delegates graduate as Raspberry Pi Certified Educators (RCEs).

Last year’s Picademy events yielded some wonderful moments. We trained over 540 educators in the UK and the US, so we had lots of highlights to choose from; I certainly witnessed many in person while delivering events in Glasgow. Two of my favourites included the educator who created music by coding DNA into Sonic Pi as note values (amazing!), and the project that used the Sense HAT to input notes to Sonic Pi and then convert them into coloured blocks in Minecraft for a digital disco.

It was so great to see the enthusiasm, the camaraderie, and the willingness of educators to be open to new experiences. You could see the cogs turning as they thought about how they could apply the new ideas to work in their own classrooms. It was also great to hear about things educators found less easy, and to answer questions about aspects of the computing curriculum. We find this feedback particularly useful as we are always looking for ways to improve our content and provide better support.

Below you’ll find details of the Picademy events we’re running across the UK in 2017:

CITY VENUE DATES
Cardiff Tramshed,
Clare Rd,
Cardiff,
CF11 6QP
21/22 February
Manchester MadLab Manchester,
36-40 Edge St,
Manchester,
M4 1HN
14/15 March
02/03 October
Birmingham The Learning Hub,
Birmingham Airport,
Birmingham,
B26 3QJ
10/11 April
04/05 December
Cambridge Raspberry Pi Foundation,
30 Station Road,
Cambridge,
CB1 2JH
15/16 May
London TBC Late May*
Late November*

* While London details are not fully confirmed, you can still apply for these events. We will email details to applicants later in 2017.

Who should apply?

We are looking for inspirational educators who are passionate about computing, enthusiastic about creating awesome learning experiences for their students, and proactive at sharing good practice.

While we’re primarily looking for primary, secondary, FE and HE teachers to apply, we’re also seeking other outstanding educators such as librarians, community educators, trainee teachers, and trainers of teachers.

We’re committed to running free high-quality training, and we invest substantial time (and money) in the educators that attend. Our hope is that our certified educators not only return home with a digital making mindset to inspire students and colleagues, but also have an impact on their wider education community through social media, meetups, or running their own training.

With this in mind, we should point out that Picademy events are often oversubscribed: for this reason, it’s really important that we get a sense of the person behind the application. We would therefore urge you to take your time when answering questions that ask you to reflect on your own experiences and reasons for applying.

A cohort of Picademy graduates in Manchester

How to apply

To apply for any of the events, fill in our Online Application Form. If you have any further questions, you can email picademy@raspberrypi.org or post a message in the Picademy area on our forums.

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2017: inspiring young makers and supporting educators

via Raspberry Pi

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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Computer Aid Connect: taking the internet to remote areas

via Raspberry Pi

Computer Aid is aiming to bring offline access to educational websites to areas with limited internet access. Right now, it’s turning recycled Raspberry Pi boards into portable internet hotspots.

“It’s for offline students and teachers across the world,” said Nicola Gampell, E-Learning and Marketing Officer for Computer Aid International.

As a result, Connect will “bring them a local internet full of educational resources, ranging from scientific simulations to Wikipedia articles,” Nicola told us.

An internet for all, anywhere. Computer Aid Connect

Computer Aid’s ‘Connect’ device provides offline classrooms with a wealth of educational resources.

Computer Aid: recycling Raspberry Pis into remote routers

Inside the Connect is software based on RACHEL-Pi by World Possible.

“All too often we’re reminded of this reality,” wrote Jeremy Schwartz, Executive Director of World Possible. “There are places where young people aren’t given the resources they need to learn. For many, the internet has become a small equalising force, but for more, that equaliser does not exist.”

“In 2017, we’re going to test RACHEL against as many different use cases as we can,” said Jeremy. “We’ll be formalising our own testing through our social entrepreneurs, and intimately supporting a narrower group of other organisations”.

As a result, Computer Aid “currently has twenty units about to arrive at a project in Ethiopia and one in Mauritania,” said Nicola. “So hopefully we’ll be getting to see it in action soon.”

Computer Aid Connect

The Computer Aid Connect turns a Raspberry Pi into a router pre-packed with many websites

“The Raspberry Pi is a key component of the device, especially due to its low power usage and low cost,” said Nicola.

Also inside is a “UPS PIco Uninterruptible Power Supply,” said Nicola. As a result, Connect is “sustainable and stable during power outages.”

The Raspberry Pi is placed alongside a 64GB SD card and a Wireless N150 High-Power USB Adapter.

“The version of the Raspberry Pi changes between the Model 2 and the old A,” she explains. After all, “we receive donations of old Raspberry Pi devices.”

Visit the Computer Aid website if you’d like to donate a Raspberry Pi board to the project.

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These boxes make music out of metal and wood

via Arduino Blog

mechbox

Les Boites Mécaniques are a set of four automated boxes that produce music out of wood and metal. These experimental instruments enable anyone to explore the magic of making sound by pressing buttons on a remote, which activate each respective device to vibrate, knock, and rub materials.

The boxes were developed by Kogumi‘s Anatole Buttin and Yan Godat for educational electronic music workshops, and can be played either solo or in unison. There’s even a mode that allows users to control it all via MIDI notes on a computer.

In terms of hardware, each box is equipped with an Arduino Uno, a TLC59711 LED driver, step motors with AccelStepper library and a 3D-printed microstep driver.

Watch the video below to see how it all comes together to create a unique sound!

Inspiring educators with a special MagPi!

via Raspberry Pi

If there’s one thing we’re passionate about here at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, it’s sharing our community’s passion for making with technology. Back in January, the Education team exhibited at the Bett Show with a special Educator’s Edition of our fabulous magazine, The MagPi. The goal was to share our projects and programmes with educators who could join our increasing community of digital makers. Like all our publications, a downloadable PDF was made available on our website; this was good thinking, as the magazine proved to be very popular and we ran out of copies soon after the show.

Exhibiting a the Bett Show 2016

Exhibiting at the Bett Show 2016 with the special Educator’s Edition of The MagPi

This year, we’ve been working hard to improve the support we provide to our Raspberry Pi Certified Educators when they take their first steps post-Picademy, and begin to share their new skills with their students or faculty on their own. In the past, we’ve provided printable versions of our resources or handed out copies of The MagPi. Instead of providing these separately, we thought it would be fun to bundle them together for all to access.

Digital making educators getting hands on with their builds at Picademy

Educators getting hands-on with their builds at Picademy

Thanks to the support of our colleagues in the MagPi team, we’ve been able to bring you a new and improved special edition of The MagPi: it’s aimed at educators and is packed full of new content, including tutorials and guides, for use in schools and clubs. You can download a free PDF of the second issue of the special Educator’s Edition right now. If you want a printed copy, then you’ll need to seek us out at events or attend a Picademy in the UK and US whilst we have them in stock!

Warning: contains inspiration!

Warning: contains inspiration!

Contents include:

  • The digital making revolution in education: how the maker movement has been taking the classroom by storm!
  • A case study: creative computing at Eastwood Academy
  • How to start a Code Club in your school
  • Physical computing tutorials with Python and Scratch
  • Teaching computing with Minecraft
  • Blinky lights, cameras, micro:bits, and motor tutorials
  • Sonic Pi live coding
  • What’s next for Astro Pi?
  • News about Raspberry Pi in education

Blinky lights tutorial page from MagPi

Case study page from MagPi about Eastwood Academy

The MagPi Educator’s Edition is freely licensed under Creative Commons (BY-SA-NC 3.0).

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