Tag Archives: Education

PA Consulting Raspberry Pi Competition

via Raspberry Pi

The PA Raspberry Pi competition challenges young people to use the Raspberry Pi to make the world a better place. Last year I helped judge the competition and was amazed by the creativity and innovation of the entries (the excellent AirPi was one of last year’s winners). This year’s event was held in the Science Museum, and I went along to judge the Year 4-6 and Year 7-11 categories, and to run some workshops along the way.

The Sonic Pi workshops were fantastic—they almost ran themselves, with the students continually trying out new things in quest to make the best music or silliest sounds (the exploding farmyard was a particular favourite). I’ve said it before, but Sonic Pi is genius.

In the afternoon I joined my fellow judges: Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s technology correspondent, and Claire Sutcliffe, co-founder of Code Club. We spent 15 minutes talking to each of the seven teams.  The winning projects had to have the potential to benefit the world in some way and we were also looking for things like innovation, creativity and originality. What really stood out was the energy of the teams — they all talked passionately and knowledgeably about their projects and how they had used the Raspberry Pi to solve real world problems.


St Mary’s CE Primary, with Pi ‘n’ Mighty, their recycling robot

The year 4-6 category was won by St Mary’s CE Primary School with their recycling robot Pi ‘n’ Mighty. The robot scans packaging barcodes and then tells you if it can be recycled and which bin to put it in. The team was bursting with energy and falling over themselves to explain how they’d made it and what it did. I’d love to see a Pi ‘n’ Mighty in every school canteen, encouraging recycling and helping children learn about the topic. And it looks fantastic, exactly how a robot should look!


Frome Community College won the year 7-11 category prize with their prodigious Plant Pi, a system to care for plants and monitor their environment. The team had covered every aspect including hardware and web monitoring, and they had even created an app. It really is a brilliantly designed and engineered solution that already has the makings of a commercial product. The project is open source and includes code, instructions, parts list and documentation.

It was a great day and it was a real pleasure to speak to the finalists and to see young people doing remarkable and useful things with the Raspberry Pi. If I could bottle the innovation, enthusiasm, creativity and technical skills in that room then I would have a Phial of Awesome +10. (I would carry it around with me in a belt holster and open it for the occasional sniff when feeling uninspired.) Best of all, I know that we’ll be seeing some of these finalists again: skills like computational thinking stay with you for life and will serve these kids in whatever they do in the future.

Announcing our million-pound education charity fund

via Raspberry Pi

It’s been a busy month for us here at Pi towers, and after the recent announcement of Picademy and the launch of the new website with an increased focus on educational resources, you may be wondering what’s next for our educational mission.

Without disappearing too far down the rabbit-hole of superlatives, I can say we are all super-excited to announce the launch of the Raspberry Pi Foundation Education Fund. Thanks to the support of the community over the past two years through buying Raspberry Pis and building inspiring, innovative projects, we’ve been able to build up a bag of funds to spend on our education mission. So today we are announcing a £1 million education fund.


Emma has been busy getting artistic with the folding stuff this morning.

This fund is in support of our core charitable mission, so we are looking to fund innovative and exciting projects that enhance understanding of and education in computing for children aged between 5 and 18.  The fund does not exclusively target Computing as a subject; we are also interested in supporting projects that demonstrate and promote the use of computing technology in other subjects, particularly STEM and the creative arts.

Our aim is to support a range of projects: from those that increase participation, to those that target excellence. Given our charitable status, priority will be given to organisations that have a not-for-profit ethos. The fund will operate through match funding, so not only are we wanting to hear from people with potential projects ideas; we are also wanting to hear from industry and third-sector partners who’d be interested in co-funding some of the projects.

If you’d like to know more about the fund, how it will operate and how to make an application, you can find out more on our Education Fund page.


Picademy – Free CPD for Teachers

via Raspberry Pi

**Update 28 March: Entries are now closed. Thanks to everyone who applied, you’ll be hearing from us very soon.**

I am very pleased to announce the first ever Raspberry Pi Academy for Educators!

The Raspberry Picademy will be a free professional development experience for primary and secondary teachers, initially for those here in the UK. Over the course of two days, (14th – 15th April 2014), 24 applicants will get hands-on experience here at Pi Towers, and discover the many ways in which the Raspberry Pi can be used in the classroom, working with our team of experts.

Raspberry Pi robotics at Kimbolton School

We will be looking to select 24 teachers for this program who meet our criteria and demonstrate a passion for education and for sharing practice, whatever their level of computing experience. In particular we are looking for teachers who:

  • can demonstrate experience of leading inset training sessions or running workshops – we would like our teachers to be able to train others
  • can reach large numbers of educators – through Twitter, teachmeets, blog posts, jams, CAS hubs etc. to spread the love
  • can demonstrate experience in using technology in the classroom – does not have to be Raspberry Pi!
  • are positive role models to young people
  • love challenges and overcoming problems.

We want to build a wider community of pioneering educators through this program, and it would make us all really happy if after the two day event, they go on to:

  • create a scheme of work for the Raspberry Pi Educational Resources section of our new website (coming soon!) that meets the new Computing curriculum programme of study
  • have a positive impact on their community with Raspberry Pi
  • take an active role in the Raspberry Pi Education Forum to help inspire others.

As well as training, educators will have access to a forum to share ideas, get some Raspberry Pi goodies and a special badge.

If you think you might be one of our superteachers, then you can apply by filling out this application form. Please note that although this training is provided free of charge and we will provide your meals, you will have to make your own transport and accommodation plans (we’ll be making information about where you can stay and how to get here available to the people who take part). The deadline for applications is Friday 28th March.

Arduino Day Roma: call for volunteers, save the date!

via Arduino Blog

arduino day roma

Arduino Day  selected Rome as the official italian event, that will be held on March 29th at the triumphal Tempio di Adriano. The program of the day, developed by Officine Arduino and DiScienza, will include: an area for makers and open-source startups, free workshops for kids and free talks and demos about Arduino (click here for the program).

The aim of Arduino Day is not only to celebrate Arduino, but also to discuss (and learn) about new projects and ideas and to involve new people into the Arduino community! If you want to present your own project to Arduino Day Rome click here; we are also looking for volunteers - if you want to help us click here and you’ll have as gift an Arduino t-shirt, a bag and a discount code for our online store!


Arduino Day Roma
Saturday march 29th, 2014
venue: Tempio di Adriano, Piazza di Pietra – Roma
time: 10.30 am – 6.30 pm


Remember : the call for submission to organise the  Arduino Day  in your local town closes on Monday 17th of March 2014 – 12.oo CET




A GCSE lesson

via Raspberry Pi

Ben Llewellyn Smith is Head of Computing and ECDL manager at AKS in Lytham St Annes. He showed us this video just before last week’s Jamboree, to demonstrate his newly installed classroom Debian server being used by a class of GCSE students who all use Raspberry Pis.

Ben’s pupils each own a Raspberry Pi: we’re convinced that there’s enormous learning value in the sense of ownership and ability to customise that having your own Raspberry Pi, rather than a borrowed school unit, gives you. It’s one of the reasons we worked so hard at getting the cost of the Raspberry Pi down so low. This also means that the pupils can carry on working with their Pis at home in the evenings.

You’ll see the pupils being given a very simple Scratch task to test Ben’s new system in this video, and get a feel for what a teaching environment can be like. Ben’s aiming towards getting the class’s GCSE coursework done as a Minecraft hack, using Python on the Pi: he’s the kind of teacher I wish I’d had. (True story: my own Miss Lyons had to keep a picture of a floppy disk being inserted on her desk so she could remember which way up it fitted in the slot.)

The investigation that Ben’s class will be doing for the GCSE can be done on a Pi as well. We’re very pleased that Ben’s been able to be able to share this video with us all: I hope it’ll be of some help to other teachers out there. You’ll find a lot more from Ben at his YouTube channel: enjoy!

The Hour of Code and all things educational

via Raspberry Pi

There’s been a media brouhaha about coding recently**. The Hour of Code puts this into perspective—it’s all about demystifying what coding is, having a play and realising that it isn’t as arcane or difficult as you thought. Of course at one end of the scale, computer science can be as challenging as it gets. But at the other end you can dip your toe in and start to appreciate that Computing as a subject, and programming specifically, can be creative, purposeful and lots of fun.

And if you’d like to try some Raspberry Pi based activities as part of the Hour of Code week here’s a small taster of the teaching and learning materials that we’re writing and collating for our new website (launching end of March). It includes Sonic Pi, Minecraft Pi, Google Coder and, of course, a screaming jelly baby. Enjoy :)

Carrie Anne and Ben from the Raspberry Pi Education Team are telling me to shut up now as they would like to say stuff. So I’ll leave them to it…

Carrie Anne

During the Jamboree at the EICE conference last week, Ben and I spoke about our work at the foundation on the new website and our vision to produce educational Raspberry Pi resources for teachers and learners. Since this talk we have been inundated with offers of support and want to know more. (This is the best community!)

There are many ways in which you can help us:

  • Firstly by taking an active role in the education section of our forum. If you have created a great resource, ran a good workshop session, or created a video tutorial, then post it here. Let’s get this section of the community talking.
  • Submit your resources to be used on the new website (leave a comment below to get in touch, and we’ll email you). In the not too distant future we would like to create a form for you to submit your resources to be considered for use. We are writing our resources in markdown, so if you already have stuff on GitHub for example it would be easy for us to point to them or fork them for reuse. You may wish to write up your mega cool resources in a similar way.
  • We need testers! Before many of our resources go live, especially those intended for the classroom, we would like them to get feedback from our audience and suggestions. We’d also like to make sure they work! Again, leave a comment if you’d like to help.
  • Run a Jam in your area. Why not start a Jam or attend a jam in your area to support young people and invite teachers from local schools to attend?

The Hour of Code resources are a taster of what is to come on the website, and we would be interested in hearing your feedback on them. Please test, check, and give us productive pointers.


Introducing Raspberry Pi Learning on GitHub! We set up a new GitHub organisation to host our learning resources and educational material. Each resource will have its own repository here, and we’ll be using git to manage changes in the team and from the community. Within hours of these being live (even before we announced it) we had our first pull request from Alex Eames – who fixed some typos and cleaned up some Python GPIO code with better practices (thanks, Alex!).

Our resources are written in Markdown, which is really easy to use and to manage. The links in the Hour of Code page show the markdown rendered by GitHub, and when we launch our new website they will be rendered nicely in the site template, which work beautifully on screen. We’ll also provide printer-friendly alternatives. (We’re not showing you what things will look like in the new site template yet because we don’t want to spoil the surprise!)

If you’re writing any resources or documentation (or anything, really) I’d recommend you look at using Markdown – you can pick it up quite quickly with this GitHub Flavoured Markdown guide. If you spot a mistake or have an improvement you can open an issue to alert us of it, or even fork the repository, fix it and open a pull request, which we can evaluate and merge if suitable.

[**Short version: 'coding' is actually just a small part of computing, which is a fantastically rich, exciting, creative, challenging, cross-curricular, all-around-us-in-everyday-life, useful and powerful toolkit for thinking, problem solving and making stuff. Phew.]

GitHub goes to school

via Raspberry Pi

Yesterday, GitHub announced a new initiative to help students, teachers and schools use GitHub for collaboration and sharing to provide a better learning experience for all: GitHub Education.

If you don’t already know, GitHub is a software projects hosting service – it’s a kind of social networking site for code projects. You use version control software Git on your own computer, and push your code to a repository in your account on GitHub, where it is viewed on the web and can be shared with others. If you’ve worked on a code project beyond single scripts before, you’ve probably thought about taking precautions against losing work, breaking features and maybe even encountered problems with working on a project with a friend. Git allows you to track changes in your codebase and revert back to previous states. GitHub gives you a nice clean interface in the web to help manage these changes.

The real power of GitHub lies in the ability to collaborate on projects with people around the world – and in how people can take existing code written for one purpose and take it in another direction to suit their own project.

GitHub lies at the centre of many operations at Raspberry Pi – our version of the Linux kernel, our userland and firmware source code, as well as NOOBS and raspi-config – and soon, our documentation, learning resources and more. Our version of the Linux kernel is a fork of the main Linux kernel. While diverging from the upstream for our special case additions (we make changes to suit the Raspberry Pi’s hardware), we keep in track with additions that land in the main version, and the enhancements are sent back upstream – to the original Linux kernel where they’re merged in. Imagine trying to manage this without software!

Open Source also helps our community grow stronger. It’s far from uncommon to see the makers behind Raspberry Pi projects putting their code on GitHub and sharing how they built that touchscreen timelapse controller, cat laser toy or universal translator – with accompanying documentation and instructions. Also the various general purpose libraries that get written – they’re shared, then they’re improved and expanded by others and help way more people than originally intended, such as Jason’s Piglow module, Will’s gamepad library and Dave’s picamera module. Isn’t it amazing that you can look at the code behind how these things work? You can even fix bugs or add features yourself!

As Gordon mentioned in the video interview we posted at the weekend, some USB bugs in Raspberry Pi were fixed by a keen and talented member of the community, which were sent over via Pull Requests and merged in to the main repository – he (Jonathan) was then hired to work on the engineering team at Pi Towers. This sort of important contribution, and the ability for it to take place, is invaluable in the tech community.

There’s more to open source than simply making your code public – there’s plenty to learn about communication and collaboration. Big projects like Linux and Python require people to talk to each other, work out where things are going and someone has to manage people and make decisions. There’s usually someone in charge – often referred to as the B.D.F.L. (Benevolent Dictator For Life – Linus for Linux and Guido for Python). Using GitHub in a small team on a school project will shed light on the kinds of problems that come up: you want to prevent two people doing the same work twice; your code needs to be able to interact with other people’s code; you might have different opinions on code styles or ways of solving problems; and there are various workflows people might be used to. It’s a skill to be able to communicate with others, in technology like in any other area – and technology has the advantage of awesome tools that make this more manageable.

One of my favourite tools at the moment is Waffle.io – it gives you Trello-style columns for your GitHub issues. I use it to visualise the workflow of features I intend to write, bugs I need to fix and other things I need to consider. You even have a comment thread attached to each issue, so you can discuss options (your conversations and decisions are open too). Even if I’m the only one working on a project I still use Git, GitHub and Waffle because it helps me manage myself. GitHub can be used for much more than just code; people use it for managing changes in written work such as documentation, blogs and even legal documents. One guy even used GitHub issues to manage the “bugs” (work needed doing) on his house.

Git was created by Linus Torvalds to manage changes in the Linux kernel because at the time no existing version control software worked the way he wanted. GitHub was set up in 2008 by developers in San Francisco and currently hosts more than 10 million repositories. See some organisations on GitHub: NASA, BBC TV, BBC News, The Guardian, Microsoft, GOV.UKThe White House (see Issue #3) … and GitHub.

We <3 Octocat! Check out variations in the octodex (my favourite is Adventure Cat).

If you want to learn how to use Git – GitHub provides a great online tool for getting started: Try Git. Git is very powerful, and has advanced features, but can be used at a basic level with very little experience. Be sure to check out GitHub Pages which is great for making a webpage for your project. Note that at present, GitHub users must be aged 13 or older.

If you’re a teacher or student, head over to education.github.com to find out more about classroom organisations, free accounts and other discounts.

We’d love to see examples of young coders and makers putting their projects on GitHub – especially its use in education. Please post links in the comments.

MakerBot Stories | Every Brooklyn Tech Student Is a Maker

via MakerBot

Brooklyn Technical High School, as teacher Tom Curanovic says, “is a pretty amazing place.” Brooklyn Tech, which counts two Nobel Prize winners among its alumni, is the largest specialized high school for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the United States. More than half of its 5500 students are eligible for school lunch subsidies, and the junior class includes Dante De Blasio, the son of New York’s new mayor.

Brooklyn Tech students pursue majors from biomedical engineering to architecture to social science research, but first they take a course in Design and Drawing for Production. “All freshmen take it,” says assistant principal Nicole Culella. The course includes instruction in Autodesk Inventor, and beginning this year, each Design and Drawing for Production classroom is outfitted with a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer. “Every student leaves that year with one piece they make on a MakerBot,” Ms. Culella says.


3D printing has also become part of the curriculum for several advanced courses, including industrial design and studio art. In Tom Curanovic’s computer-integrated manufacturing lab, seniors began the year by making the same project in two ways: by cutting it out of a steel plate and by 3D printing it in PLA filament. “It’s more labor intensive on the drill press, four to five days,” Curanovic says. “On the MakerBot, as long as you can draw it, it’s done in 45 minutes.”

Speed is only one reason rapid prototyping is rapidly transforming how Curanovic runs his class. Students need less training to use the MakerBot Replicator 2 than heavy machinery, which, for safety reasons, requires individual supervision. The ease of 3D printing opens up the world of manufacturing to a wider range of students.

“From kindergarten to 11th grade, everything was on a piece of paper,” says Vishnu Sanigepalli, a senior from Queens, NY, who discovered the MakerBot Replicator 2 when he needed a new case for his flash drive. A couple of months later, Sanigepalli was making models for his calculus teacher and parts for the robotics team, and he was teaching the rest of his class how to print their 3D designs.

After graduation, Sanigepalli dreams of going on to college and making a quantum computer. He has studied math and computer science, but “it’s not enough to know quantum physics,” he says. “You have to make things.”

Ooh, BETTy (look, it’s Sunday morning, it’s the best I can do)

via Raspberry Pi

The RPF Education Team is just back from BETT, the education technology show, and it was very good indeed. I love BETT: you get to talk to lots of interesting people about stuff that you’re passionate about; play with the Raspberry Pi and pretend that it’s work; see all the latest education tech; and generally show off. (At the same time it’s also an extraordinarily gruelling four days of demos, talks, meetings, interviews and PR. I feel like I’ve spent the last week being simultaneously coddled with a tickling stick and beaten with a sock full of oranges.)

The show got off to a great start for us when Education Secretary Michael Gove called Raspberry Pi a “brilliant British tech business” in his opening keynote and highlighted the MOOC that we’ve helped create with OCR and Cambridge University Press. It was also surprising and gratifying to see Raspberry Pis on so many stands and in products around the show. Anyway, it’s Sunday so less writing and more pictures are in order:

The Raspberry Pi Foundation Education Team. From left: Dave Honess, Carrie Anne Philbin, Clive Beale and Ben Nuttall

Dave doing technical stuff that I don’t understand.


Carrie Anne doing her funky Sonic Pi thing. Or a rabbit puppet show.

Ben gets personal with a Raspberry Pi camera

Clive talks mainly with his hands

The graffiti at BETT is of a very high quality

No one would listen to me when I told them that the command to invert the picture was ‘rm -rf *’

Teaching the world how to be awesome. Go Team Pi!

Wearing the Pi with pride

Showing off our new animation ‘What is a Raspberry Pi?’

Finally, a big thanks to:

  • everyone who came to talk to us and to watch the demos and seminars;
  • OCR for hosting us;
  • Dave, Ben and Carrie Anne, the RPF Education Team. Let’s do it again next year :)

MakerBot Stories | Architecture Students in the Digital Future

via MakerBot

For a course at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, two undergraduates designed an artificial iceberg that is also a floating resort. The cooling system that generates the ice gives off hot air, which is used to create hot springs inside. This proposed iceberg-resort, which accommodates thousands of people, “can grow because it’s in the ocean,” says Andrew Reitz, one of the students. “It’s essentially limitless.”

The imagination of aspiring architects is also limitless, but to realize their visions, they must give their ideas physical form. “The way Andrew and I were able to be more confident in pursuing this project was having a way to build it,” said Leland Jobson, Reitz’s partner on the project. The duo simulated ice using a program called Acropora, then worked in Rhino before producing the vaulted chambers on a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer.


Reitz and Jobson received an A in the studio course and were invited to present the iceberg resort to a panel of invited jurors. Well before their final presentation, however, the MakerBot Replicator in the school’s Digital Futures office helped them to develop the concept. 3D printed study models, they said, help them see their ideas more objectively than on a computer screen, and with this critical distance they can improve their ideas in future models. 3D printing is more efficient than making models by hand, Reitz says, Reitz says, since while the model is printing, “I can refocus and reorganize my attentions.”

Jobson compared their process, which uses about a dollar’s worth of filament each time they print, to working with a ceramic powder printer. “I printed one model and it came out to $80 or $100, and then I didn’t print another model after that, because I just simply could not afford it,” said Jobson, who is a work-study student in the Digital Futures office. Reitz adds, “That’s great for a designer in the 21st century, to not have to necessarily spend thousands of dollars on some final model. You can crank out tons of them on your own MakerBot.”

The two have spent hundreds of hours making 3D prints. “I can’t see myself not having a 3D printer in the future; I think it’s just going to be part of what I do for the rest of my life,” says Reitz.

Yet the process remains magical. “Even though the trick is the same, what comes out of the hat is always different,” says Jobson. “The magic is in what came out of the hat.”

MakerBot Stories | Mathgrrl Makes a 3D Print a Day

via MakerBot


If you’re searching for a good New Year’s resolution for 2014, have a look at Laura Taalman, who is 3D printing one thing a day for a year.

Taalman, a professor of mathematics at James Madison University, got a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer back in February. “I unexpectedly came into a bit of money for an award, and I decided I should spend it,” she says. So she and her 8-year-old son boarded a train in Virginia and made a pilgrimage to the MakerBot Store in New York to pick up a 3D printer. Taalman now has one MakerBot Replicator 2 at school, where she teaches 3D printing, and a second at home.

Taalman found herself running James Madison’s 3D printing lab even though, as a pure mathematician, she didn’t have any engineering experience. So at the beginning of the school year, inspired by serial projects like They Might Be Giants’ daily Dial-a-Song and Jonathan Coulton’s Thing a Week, Taalman decided she would make a daily 3D print. “I thought that’s a good way to commit, and not wake up two weeks later, saying, ‘I should get that printer going again,’” she says.

Taalman began on August 27th, with a coin trap. For a while, she was reprinting or remixing others’ designs, but she has now mastered several 3D modeling software programs. “Things really started clicking in October, around the H tree and the Peano curve, when I figured out how to import 2D things and make a 3D shape,” she says.

Taalman, who also goes by the online handle mathgrrl, makes a lot objects that help people understand mathematical concepts better — like knots. “I understand them much better when I pick them up,” Taalman says. Students traditionally see mathematical knots in two dimensions.

Taalman’s entry in the MakerBot Academy Math Manipulative Challenge Math has turned into what she calls Poly-Snaps, building blocks that snap together to make cubes, soccer balls, and many other three-dimensional geometric shapes.


Other prints are more practical: Minecraft Creepers as favors for her son’s birthday party, replacement numbers for the family’s Settlers of Catan set, and a clip for her growing filament shelf.

“I’ve been at a party and it’s 11 o’clock at night, and I’ll say, ‘I have to go. I have some things to print,’” Taalman said. “Or I’ll say to my family, ‘I’m sorry I have to make this print, so you’ll have to figure out dinner yourselves.’”

Taalman swears she is even more passionate about 3D printing than she was about algebraic geometry, the subject of her dissertation. So come August, when her yearlong commitment ends, she doesn’t plan to stop 3D printing. She will keep going, she says, “as long as there’s new stuff to learn.”

(Photographs courtesy Laura Taalman.)

Primo and playful programming: last 3 days on Kickstarter!

via Arduino Blog


Here’s the latest updates from Primo’s team on their successful Kickstarter campaign. You have only 3 days left to pre-order your copy!


27 days on from our Kickstarter campaign for Primo, in collaboration with the Arduino at Heart program, we are pleased to announce that we have reached both our first funding goal at £ 35,000 and our first stretch goal at £ 40,000. This means that our little robot will evolve to allow makers to add sensors and actuators, amplifying greatly the Primo experience.

During this period we also successfully held our first workshop with children, which saw the Primo Play Set being operated in what in the future we hope will be a classroom in every school.

We are looking at a final stretch to reach our final stretch goal, which is to craft a 3 month school program in multiple languages, that can facilitate the adoption of Primo in schools all over the world. We are now offering Maker Workshops as a reward, where the Primo team will travel to your neighbourhood, workshop or school and teach you how to build more Primo’s, use them and hack them, so as to get you started with your own R&D with the Primo Play Set.

Primo.io Team

MakerBot Stories | Browning Builds a Technology Curriculum

via MakerBot

On the second floor of The Browning School, a 125-year-old boys’ school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, there’s a black-and-white photograph of the school’s founder, whom John D. Rockefeller hired to educate his children.


To his right is a painted portrait of Charles W. Cook. who graduated from Browning in 1938 and stepped down as headmaster 50 years later. The room is named for him.


The current headmaster, Stephen M. Clement, III, enters the Cook Room, opens the glass door of a bookshelf, and pulls out a white 3D printed bust of himself. Clement had his head scanned at the MakerBot Store in Manhattan last year, on his 25th anniversary as headmaster.


“There were many different celebrations, but I thought this was the coolest,” Clement says.

When Clement became headmaster, in 1988, parents didn’t ask much about what their boys would learn about technology, he says. Today, tours of the K-12 school for parents of prospective students make an obligatory stop at the technology lab, which has a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer in the window. “From seeing it as a potential force that might wreck the finances of the school,” Clement says, he has come to see how technology “can open up worlds.”

The video shows Browning’s director of academic technology, Jeremy Sambuca, teaching a class of eighth-graders who designed their own Lego-style pieces how to print them on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.


When the eighth-grade boys finish the project, these pieces will be mixed in to the building blocks in lower-school classrooms. Browning’s youngest students get more exposure to 3D printing; the kindergarteners make custom cookie cutters — and then make cookies with them.


With Browning weaving design and engineering principles into its curriculum starting in kindergarten, imagine what these students will be making when they graduate in 2028.

(Cookie cutter photo courtesy The Browning School.)

MakerBot Stories | The Gifts of the Magi

via MakerBot


Christmas is coming, and the girls at the Marymount School, a Catholic school in Manhattan, are getting ready for the Christmas pageant. Third graders get to play the big roles, including Mary, Joseph, and the three Magi, the kings or wise men who present gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. The third graders are also making the props, and, for the first time ever, the Gifts of the Magi at Marymount’s Christmas pageant will be 3D printed, in their new fab lab.


The Gifts of the Magi project cuts across several disciplines. First, an art teacher took the third graders across Fifth Avenue to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they examined Byzantine chalices and Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Adoration of the Magi.” Then they explored the significance of the gifts with their religion teacher before moving on to the design and production of their own representations of the gifts with their science teachers, Margaret McCarthy and Kathryn Cohen. The girls made sketches on paper.


They also sculpted some ideas in clay. “There is value in play and creation, whether it’s cardboard or new technology,” McCarthy says. “It doesn’t have to be the perfect product. There’s a value in messiness.”

Then the girls worked in Tinkercad, the 3D modeling software, first in pairs and then as a class. On a recent morning, 16 girls from Class IIIA sat on the rug in the science room as Margaret McCarthy hooked up her laptop to a large flat-screen television to decide how to present gold.


Should the gold coins be printed in gold filament, or should they be painted gold? And what should be on them: Hearts? Lambs? A J for Jesus, CC for Christ Child, or maybe a cross? “They didn’t know there was going to be a cross when Jesus was born,” one wise girl pointed out. Another added, “If it’s going to be dark at the pageant, most people won’t be able to see the coins, only the people on the aisles.”

And how would the coins stay on the tray? Should they glue them on, make a lip on the tray, or design it with indentations that would hold the coins in position? It was a collaborative design process; decisions were made by consensus, or when necessary, a vote.


When the design is done, Ms. McCarthy will print the golden coins and the tray in the fab lab downstairs, on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.

With three third-grade classes, each is responsible for making one gift; Class IIIA is responsible for the gold. Class IIIC made the one for myrrh.


The Marymount fab labs are outfitted with other tools for programming, physical computing, and digital design and fabrication, including a MakerBot Digitizer 3D Scanner. Jaymes Dec, Marymount’s fab lab coordinator, says that, by teaching the girls to use these tools, “What I’m really trying to teach them is how to learn on their own in the 21st century.”

Afrimakers, planting the seed of local change

via Arduino Blog


Afrimakers is a initiative born to inspire young African makers and plant the seed of local change through social entrepreneurship, digital fabrication and regional collaboration.

Its main promoter is HacKIDemia, a global organisation based in Berlin that enables future changemakers to access and create a hands-on science, technology, art, engineering and design education that will enable them to solve challenges by developing and testing creative solutions and physical artifacts.


They launched a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo to create maker workshops focused on local challenges in 7 hubs around Africa, to activate training paths and work with young people (potentially Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt ).

Stefania Druga, HacKIDemia founder, strongly believes that:

“Learning by doing and by playing comes natural to children as they have an innate curiosity. With HacKIDemia hands-on workshops we try to encourage and develop that curiosity and give them tools to transform their dreams into reality. The sooner they start the better.”

Each of the seven hubs will receive a maker kit which consists of several components, among which also Arduino Uno boards, and a local team will then be recruited and trained by HacKIDemia to organize and run hands-on workshops in local private and public schools.

They are running an indiegogo campaign and 2 hubs got already funded. CHech the video below and help them fund the rest!