Tag Archives: Education

Submit your application to the Raspberry Pi Education Fund

via Raspberry Pi

Got a great idea or project to teach kids about computing?

Need some help raising the finance to make it a reality?

We have some good news: the Raspberry Pi Education Fund is finally open for applications. As a reminder, thanks to all the Raspberry Pis bought by the community over the past 2 years, we have been able to put together a £1 million education fund to help fulfil our charitable mission.

Applications are invited from organisations looking to fund projects that encourage young people to learn about computing or illustrate how computing can be used enhance education in STEM or the creative arts.  You can find more details on the eligibility criteria and submit your application here.

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Coding Marathon at the Cambridge Centre of Computing History sponsored by Raspberry Pi Foundation

Go on, what are you waiting for? This is your chance to make a difference.

Fritzing is out with a new release including Arduino Yún microcontroller!

via Arduino Blog

Fritzing is an open-source hardware initiative that makes electronics accessible as a creative material for anyone. You can easily learn how to build a circuit for you project and also design your own PCB.

Last week, the Fritzing team announced the new release with a number of new parts, especially a number of popular microcontrollers, among which also Arduino Yún:

We have upgraded to their latest version Qt5, which brings stability and speed improvements (especially for Mac OS X users). This also enables us to port fritzing to Android, iOS, etc.

You can download Fritzing 0.9.0b at this link.

 

Exploring computing education in rural schools in India

via Raspberry Pi

Earlier this year, the Raspberry Pi Foundation supported a University of Cambridge team of two researchers, Dr Maximilian Bock and Aftab Jalia, in a pilot project exploring the possibilities of providing computing access and education in rural schools in India. Working with local organisations and using an adaptable three-day programme, they led two workshops in June 2014 introducing students and teachers to computing with the Raspberry Pi. The workshops used specially designed electronics kits, including Raspberry Pis and peripherals, that were handed over to the partner organisations.

Karigarshala students connect Raspberry Pis and peripherals The first workshop took place at Karigarshala Artisan School, run by Hunnarshala Foundation in Bhuj, Gujarat; the attendees were a group of 15-to-19-year old students who had left conventional education, as well as three local instructors. The students started off with very little experience with computers and most had never typed on a keyboard, so a session introducing the keyboard was included, followed by sessions on programming, using the Raspberry Pi camera module and working with electronics.

Karigarshala students mastering hardware control of an LED via the Raspberry Pi GPIO

Karigarshala students mastering hardware control of an LED via the Raspberry Pi GPIO

Students chose to spend their evenings revisiting what they had learned during the day, and by the end of the course all the students could write programs to draw shapes, create digital documents, connect electronic circuits, and control components such as LEDs using the Raspberry Pi.

Chamoli students practise on their own using a TV as a monitor

Chamoli students practise on their own using a TV as a monitor

The second workshop welcomed six- to twelve-year-old pupils of the Langasu Primary School in the remote Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, along with three of their teachers. This younger group of students followed a programme with more focus on activities featuring immediate feedback — for example, Sonic Pi for live-coding music — alongside programming and electronics tasks. As they learned, students soon began teaching other students.

In an Ideas Competition held at the end of the workshop, entries reflected students’ engagement with the Raspberry Pi as a device with which to build solutions: an inverter system to deal with frequent power outages, a weather station that gives warnings, a robot to assist with menial chores.

Weather station/forecaster Battery-operated inverter Pi-controlled chores robot

The Cambridge team’s “Frugal Engineering” approach, delivering computing education without the need for elaborate infrastructure, proved very successful in both schools. Hunnarshala Foundation has decided to integrate the Raspberry Pi into its vocational training curriculum, while students at Langasu Primary School will not only carry on learning with Raspberry Pis at school but will be able to borrow self-contained Raspberry Pi Loan Kits to use at home. The Cambridge team remains in touch with the schools and continues to provide off-site support.

September 2014 and February 2015 will see the team build on this successful pilot with induction workshops in three new schools, as well as follow-up visits to evaluate the use of Raspberry Pi in past project sites and to provide support and resources for expanding the programmes.

Opensourcing imagination and sharing knowledge in Nepal

via Arduino Blog

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David Cuartielles held a worshop at Campus Party Berlin introducing  Arduino and the cool things you can do with it. Some months later, on of the students, Sanjeet Raj Pandey, wrote him to reveal that the event was a life changing moment.

After that Sajeet decided  to share his knowledge and experience organising workshops in a rural city called Janakpur in Nepal. In that occasion a 100 participants got introduced to Arduino. They learnt how to blink LEDs, work with a temperature sensor, light sensor, ultrasound sensor and also to make a DIY Arduino:

Most of it was financed by myself and a bit of donation from Telecommunication department -Technical University of Berlin and Berlin Promotion Agency.

I like to make things which are real and can be put to work for society . Making things, one just cannot see but also touch is awesome.

Hope you will share Janakpur (Nepal) as one more place with Arduino. I would be keeping up pace and will be doing more such projects, workshops, seminars, remote sessions, etc for students in Nepal.

These are some pictures from the workshops:

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Do you have a similar story to share? Submit it to our blog!

YRS Festival of Code 2014 – around the UK and at Pi Towers

via Raspberry Pi

Young Rewired State is a network of coders around the world. Every year an event is held in the UK to give young people the opportunity to collaborate while working on a project to make something interesting with open data, and to learn skills while exposed to new technologies.

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The Festival of Code is a week where volunteer-led centres around the country play host to local kids (18 and under) who work in teams, guided by mentors from industry, to create a software application, a web app, a game, a phone app or even a hardware hack that utilises an open data set to provide a solution to a real world problem. It takes place next week: 28 July – 3 August 2014.

Participants spend most of the week at their local centre where they’re introduced to each other and to the mentors, they’re shown some data sets they have available, they get in to teams and start working on their project. Throughout the week they are introduced to new technologies and given short talks from mentors and other volunteers to help them find the right tech to solve their problems. On Friday all centres travel to Plymouth for the weekend where they present their projects.

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Last year the overall winners of the Festival of Code were Tom Hartley and Louis Brent-Carpenter, whose hack was a service to provide navigational and other information to cyclists using a series of handlebar-mounted LEDs – powered by a Raspberry Pi – known as PiCycle.

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Alongside Best in show there are other categories: Best example of codeBest example of design, Code a better country, and the Should exist award. I’d just like to point out that the winners of last year’s Best example of code were mentored by me in Manchester: contag.io.

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Here’s a video showing my centre’s experience:

Come join us for the best week of your summer! Meet up at local centres, be mentored, introduced to open data, build awesome games, apps, hardware and websites, and show off your hack at the weekend in Plymouth!

from the Festival of Code poster – download from festivalofco.de

If you’re 18 or under and want to participate, sign up at festivalofco.de now. We’re running a centre at Pi Towers in Cambridge – so if you’re local to us you’ll be assigned to our centre and you’ll be lucky enough to spend a week at our offices!

If you’re over 18 (even quite a lot over 18) you can sign up as a mentor - centres can always use an extra pair of hands, and you’ll have a great time!

Oh, and Stephen Fry is a fan:

There are also YRS events in Berlin, New York CitySingapore and elsewhere!

A new way of learning and transmitting knowledge with Arduino

via Arduino Blog

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The training program Creative Technologies in the Classroom (CTC) is a 3-month  educative program designed by David Cuartielles and Arduino Verkstad in collaboration with Fundación Telefónica, Fundación la Caixa and Ultra-lab.

It’s a toolbox comprised of more than 20 hands-on, easily assembled electronic experiments; an online source for course materials and documentation tools; and a collaborative space where teachers can meet with a moderator to share their findings and ask technical questions.

It aims to train teachers of Technology and students to creative technologies, which means technologies empowering young students to make devices, machines, art-works, experiments etc., enable them to learn doing things and to express themselves as creators.

Teachers are trained in programming with Processing and prototyping with Arduino, in order to become a mentor and help all along the program the students, following the different step-by-step experiments of the program.

The beneficial aspect of this program is not only about acquiring new skills and technical knowledge but mainly on experimenting a different methodology of learning and transmitting knowledge, based on sharing information,  questions,  doubts, and resolving them together by experimenting.

This project has been successfully implemented in the Region of Castilla La Mancha and Madrid involving 50 enthusiastic teachers,  around 1200 youngsters who were able to invent, create and exhibit their project made with Arduino.

See the video below for details (in spanish):

Thanks to the support of Fundación La Caixa, the same program will be held in 50 colleges of Barcelona and a new edition, with the renewed support of Fundación Telefónica, will begin again in Madrid in 2015.

Picademy 3. A report of some note: and how you can be at Picademy 4

via Raspberry Pi

On Monday and Tuesday this week we ran our third Picademy - two days of free teacher training (aka CPD – it really is free, and there aren’t any catches) - and it was better than ever.

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I told you it was fun! Picademy 3 cohort July 2014

We make Picademy available to attend for free: it’s part of our charitable mission. Teachers of all subjects – not just computing – who want to incorporate computing and electronics into their classroom, are given two days of what we think is some of the best CPD in the world. But don’t take our word for it – if you’re interested in applying for a place on the September course (you should), here’s what the Picademy 3 cohort had to say via Twitter:

Best two days of work based stuff EVER! Cannot recommend Picademy enough.

Picademy was amazing, superb CPD, networking, hands on projects, expert support when needed.

Thank you … for the best CPD, hospitality and the wonderful things we learnt.

Best goody bag ever! I feel like I’ve been to a party. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s session! I am buzzing from Picademy! Thank you to everyone for making it such an awesome experience.

Thanks … for an excellent #picademy. Great networking and workshops! Very inspiring!

I particularly liked the bit where Clive scooted around in a Little Tikes car shouting ‘Hodor!’ to himself.

All of these are completely not made up. Except one.

Lucky bags

Lots of the attendees arrived the night before and stayed in the same hotel, and it’s great to see the social side of Picademy. As well as encouraging collaboration and team work over the two days, it helps maintain the community and network of Raspberry Pi Certified Educators afterwards.

No night out would be complete without Sonic Pi leaflets

No night out would be complete without Sonic Pi leaflets

There’s always a great buzz in the Pi Towers classroom when the group first arrives and opens up their goody bags. (These bags have been certified by independent adjudicators Bag of Tricks Inc to be the best goody bags in the whole world.) But this time we had an ace up our sleeve (and B in our bonnet). Late on the previous Friday, Eben issued the command to replace the Raspberry Pi model Bs in the bags  with the as yet unreleased B+. There was much rejoicing! And this is why, one hour after the new model was announced, the good people of Picademy 3 were some of the first in the world to own and use the new model.

Lots of projects used the ever useful camera board

Lots of projects used the ever useful camera board

Day 1: filling brains with the good stuff

The first day is all about gaining experience and confidence. Workshops on Sonic Pi; physical computing; programming in Minecraft; and the Pi camera board show what can be achieved if you’re willing to have a go and to think differently, and this cohort did not disappoint. I overheard lots of comments like, “This would be perfect in the classroom…”, “The kids will love this…” and “YES! IT WORKS!” It’s an intensive but satisfying day. Teachers who had never used a Pi before were programming in Python, coding music and making LED traffic lights in Scratch. All of these new skills were preparation for the second day, or The Awesome Day of Messing About with Cool Stuff as we like to call it.

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If it was my classroom they’d be sitting boy-girl-boy-girl. Alphabetically.

Dinner is really interesting. It’s a chance for the group to relax and chat, and to process and sort the vast amount of information that they’ve crammed into their heads during the day. So it’s an important part of the course, where ideas are shared and people start to talk about what they were going to make tomorrow. You could already see some of the projects taking shape. It’s an essential and productive hiatus, like letting meat rest after a blast in the oven or outgassing near the surface of the sea after a long dive. (I have just won a bet that I couldn’t mix cooking and diving metaphors in one sentence. Yes, Pulitzer Board: who’s laughing now?)

Day 2: TADOMAWCS

It's day 2 with Carrie Anne!

It’s day 2 with Carrie Anne!

On day 2 everyone split into groups, had a nice cup of tea, did a little happy dance of creativity and then made stuff. This is the favourite day for both the attendees and the education team. There’s no pressure to produce a specific product and everyone gets to work at their own pace and in their own comfort zone. The day is about building skills and confidence, and about sharing good practice.

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What I particularly enjoyed this week was watching and helping those teams that kept plugging away at problems, debugging software and troubleshooting hardware, until it worked (or nearly worked!) This problem solving, creativity and perseverance is at the heart of computing in the classroom and is what makes it special. We also had inspiring talks from Eben Upton, Lance Howarth and Rachel Rayns (Google them—it’s not as if they are called John Smith or nuffin’!)

Babbage being re-purposed. I actually saw Ben Nuttall with a pair of pliers up his bum at one point,.

Babbage being re-purposed. I actually saw Ben Nuttall with a pair of pliers up his bum at one point.

There were some fantastic projects. Twitter-enabled projects were well represented, perhaps because many of the group were keen social media users, and this type of project has a huge appeal to students. One team wanted to do some robotics, so we scavenged an old robot and they repurposed it using a Pibrella—cheap and cheerful but with huge learning potential. We’ll be getting in a variety of motor boards and roboty things for future Picademies. We like robots.

Creative mode

Creative mode

This cohort has already impressed us with their continued collaboration and engagement via Twitter, our forums and their blogs. We know that some of them have gone back to school and are already changing things for the better, for instance by running CPD events, writing resources and setting up their classrooms to teach computing effectively. Thanks to you all for coming, you have earned your Raspberry Pi Certified Educator badges!

Kelly receiving her RPCE badge from Eben. It was all downhill from here.

Kelly receiving her RPCE badge from Eben. It was all downhill from here.

Picademy 4 applications now open

So it was a fantastic couple of days again and although it’s tiring for the RasPi education team at the time we never get tired of doing it. The next Picademy is in September 2014  where you are guaranteed free, world class CPD; expert support; essential skills and practical ideas to take back to your classroom. And lots of fun. (We also guarantee that you will not get: encyclopaedic PowerPoint printouts; curly, mild cheddar butties; tedious talks; or role play (well, perhaps a tiny bit of the latter. It’s the CPD law.)

Picademy 4 will look favourably on applications from teachers in the South West of England. We’re very aware of regional accessibility to training and support, and so occasionally we will focus on specific regions. So if you are a teacher in the South West, we would love to have you here. This does not mean applications are open to teachers in the South West only! Please apply wherever you are.

I cannot believe that you are still here reading my brain-drool. Apply now – and good luck!

MakerBot Stories | University Gets First Innovation Center

via MakerBot

The State University of New York at New Paltz is home to the world’s first MakerBot Innovation Center: a ground-floor room with 30 MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers. “3D printing is training students to think in a different way,” says Dan Freedman, dean of science and engineering at New Paltz. “If students come out of here knowing about 3D printing and different applications of it, it will give them a better chance of starting a career.”

The Innovation Center, which has a combination of MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers and MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printers, is located in the Smiley Arts Building, and sculptors and jewelry designers have been flocking there since it opened in February. Engineers and scientists, whose sit across the quad, are also heavy users of the facility.

It’s not only college students at the center. Faculty from many disciplines and other New Paltz staff have attended sessions with MakerBot trainers. Local artists and manufacturers, as well as others who want to learn about 3D printing without pursuing a degree, can enroll in a two-semester program in digital design and fabrication. And New Paltz has plans to bring in students from local public schools. For bringing the community together, says Freedman, “the only thing similar is the gym.”

Interested in a MakerBot Innovation Center? Let us know.

The MakerBot Innovation Center at New Paltz is part of The Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center, a $1.5 million initiative to spur regional economic development. The advanced manufacturing center received $250,000 donations from a local venture-capital fund and a matching grant from the regional utility company. “It was the easiest donation this college has ever gotten,” says Freedman, “We were in the right place at the right time.”

“This is a technology that is just starting, and it’s going to become increasingly important,” says Freedman, who thinks that the university’s investment in 3D printing will make New Paltz the right place for budding artists and the engineers of tomorrow.

Katherine Wilson, a student in New Paltz’s renowned Metal program, says, “When I was looking for graduate schools, I was interested in what kind of technology was available.” Before opening the Innovation Center, New Paltz had a few MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers, and she was careful not to monopolize them. Access to an array of 30 3D printers has freed up Wilson to follow her imagination wherever it takes her.

Freedman adds, “I think we can attract some really outstanding students who are undecided between science-engineering and art and say to them, ‘You can pursue your interests in both areas, and we’re going to make it easier for you to do that.’”

PyConUK Education Track for Teachers

via Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi Education team have really hit the ground running over the past few months, creating resources for the new website, running teacher training courses, and attending conferences and events all over the world! We even employed a Minecraft expert in our efforts to reach more young people and teachers. For the first time this year, we get the opportunity to combine our teacher training efforts with a conference and even a Raspberry Jam thanks to our friends in the UK Python community, who run a volunteer-organised annual conference called PyconUK. This year it runs from the 19th-22nd September in Coventry with a special education track created just for teachers and young people!

PyConUK Education Track Logo

On the first day, Friday 19th, there will be a professional development day for educators. Teachers will have an opportunity to learn Python, collaborate with programmers to produce educational resources, network with other conference attendees and generally have fun exploring technology that will inspire students. The Raspberry Pi education team will be contributing along with other teaching colleagues and an international group of expert Python developers will be on hand to help teachers get the most out of the day. Teachers’ tickets cost only £47 for the whole four day conference including Saturday evening’s conference meal (they’re usually £150 or more) and thanks to some very generous sponsorship, the first twenty teachers who book also qualify for a £200 bursary to cover their school’s cost for a supply teacher on the Friday.

PyConUK 2012 Teacher Track

Recognise any of the people in this picture from PyConUK 2012?

On Saturday 20th, PyConUK opens its doors to up to 60 kids and accompanying adults for a day of inspiring adventures in code, something akin to a Raspberry Jam event. There will be Raspberry Pi, robots, workshops, games programming and lots of other fun stuff. Tickets cost £5 per child and accompanying adults get in for free. They’ll even provide you with lunch! Once again, the Raspberry Pi edu team will be there along with expert teachers and hordes of Python developers who’ll probably be just as excited and enthusiastic as the kids who attend.

Children having fun with RPi at PyConUK 2013

Children at PyConUK last year having fun with Raspberry Pi

If you would like to meet the team, learn more about Raspberry Pi in education and get hands on with computing then get your tickets here.

Creating Resources on GitHub Guide from Picademy 2

via Raspberry Pi

This week started with the second run of Picademy – our free CPD course for teachers. Two days at Pi Towers learning interesting and engaging ways to use Raspberry Pi in the classroom, led by Carrie Anne and supported by our education team. Picademy went fantastically well! We’re holding the next one in July and we’ll be opening applications up for future events once we’ve set a date.

As part of my preparation for Picademy, I started to create a guide for the teachers to help them create learning resources the way we do – for their own use, and for them to submit to us for inclusion on the website. I gave a presentation explaining how we use GitHub (and how much I love GitHub) and explained our process of creating resources with markdown. I showed them how people report issues when they find an error, and how people can fix errors themselves. This was followed by a demonstration of GitHub for Education by Picademy delegate James Robinson who’s been using it to set work for his classes.

Following the event I proceeded to expand upon the notes I’d made on creating resources and published them for general consumption. We’re all working hard on some new material ourselves, including single exercises and full schemes of work – and we look forward to seeing some community contributions too. Whether it’s new or re-purposed, we’d love to see it.

Head along to GitHub to check out the guide – it’s at github.com/raspberrypilearning/creating-resources - and read up on how we write the learning resources on our website, how to use GitHub, how to report issues, how to request changes and how to submit to us. Using GitHub in this way is very easy – don’t be put off, just take a look at the guide and follow the instructions – you can do it all from GitHub’s web interface. Be sure to read the guidelines on style as well as the technical details.

Here are some photographs from Picademy #2:

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And a video of one of the team’s projects on day two:

Teachers: remember to keep an eye on the blog and twitter for the announcement of Picademy #4 applications.

UNICEF Pi Project to Educate Syrian Children in Lebanon

via Raspberry Pi

Ben: here’s a guest post from one of our great community members, Alex Eames, who’s providing his Kickstarter-funded HDMIPi screens to a UNICEF education project in Lebanon.

At the end of December 2013 James Cranwell-Ward (@jcranwellward) a Technologist working for UNICEF Lebanon emailed us about HDMIPi. In case you don’t know, HDMIPi is a 9″ low cost, High Definition (1280×800) HDMI screen for the Raspberry Pi, which was crowdfunded on KickStarter in November 2013.

James was only going to be in the UK for another couple of days and wanted to talk to us about our screen. It looked like exactly what he needed for a large Raspberry Pi based project to help educate displaced Syrian children in Lebanon.

The idea is to have a low-cost computer, containing educational materials, such as Khan Academy Lite, to help get these Syrian children, whose lives have been so drastically disrupted, back into learning.

James is a technologist in the Innovation section of UNICEF, where they use private sector knowledge to assist UNICEF with their projects. He had a couple of Raspberry Pis on his desk and one day his boss walked by and asked about them. James gave a demo and a plan was hatched. But they needed an inexpensive screen. That’s where HDMIPi came in, freshly out of crowd-funding.

At the time, we had our two KickStarter prototypes and just one other working screen, which we gave him (uncased) when Dave Mellor (@Cyntech1) went to meet him in London. He took it back off to Beiruit and made an initial prototype, which he blogged about in February.

Fast forward a couple of months and James is getting ready for a large Raspberry Jam to kick off the Raspberry Pi for Learning (Pi4L) project. He needed 50 units, but we’re not quite into production yet because we’re implementing several new Pi-specific features on the driver board. So our supplier found us a similar but different (more expensive 10″) option that could meet the interim need. But could we handle the case too? Eek!

Dave scooted off up the M1 to the Pirates of Pimoroni in Sheffield and spent a day with Paul, Jon and Rory cooking up this lovely design, with integral stand and the Pi hangs on the back…

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HDMIPi UNICEF edition prototype 2

Jon then worked double-time at the weekend to get these laser cut (big thanks and much kudos). Paul took a couple with him to the San Francisco Maker Faire last week. He said they generated a lot of interest.

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Nice colours

Over the summer, the plan is that the Pi4L project will go into refugee camps for a pilot test. I’ll let James describe it…

What I am most excited about going forward is a new project which will see the launch of an e-learning initiative in refugee camps, which will be piloted for 3 months this summer. It’s untapped ground and it will be really interesting to see what e-learning can do in a context where schools are drastically overrun and there are just not enough school places for children.

The e-learning programme consists of 3-4 courses delivered on a new cheap computer called a Raspberry Pi. There will be basic literacy, numeracy and science, content based on Khan Academy produced by the Foundation for Learning Equality. We are also going to run a programme called ‘learning to code and coding to learn’. Children will be able to explore how to make games whilst also learning about their rights as a child. It’s a learning activity and it is also fun. There will be another course for teachers, so they can support the children as they start using these tools.

In every location the summer school is running – from schools to refugee camps, we are going to leave the lab in place once the summer school is over so it will be a permanent installation. This will mean that beyond the summer programme children can continue to learn and develop using these tools.

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Integral stand

We are very excited and delighted to be able to be involved in a project that could actually “make a difference” for large numbers of children. Who would have thought, when we started the HDMIPi project a year ago (I’ve just renewed the domain) that a small, portable, inexpensive screen for the Raspberry Pi might find its way into a UNICEF project like this? But now I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see lots of ‘developing country’ projects involving the Raspberry Pi in the next couple of years. It’s a very good fit.

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Round the back

The 9″ HDMIPi should be in production soon. We hope to ship KickStarter rewards towards the end of June. We’d like to emphasise, to those who backed HDMIPi on KickStarter, that this UNICEF project has not and will not delay fulfilment of their rewards. To pre-empt the question, as I will be away on holiday when this article goes live, the case shown here in the UNICEF prototypes is different from the standard HDMIPi case. But, no doubt, if there is demand, alternative case(s) will spring up in due course.

‘Educating with Raspberry Pi’ at Maker Faire

via Raspberry Pi

You may have noticed on Twitter (or from their absence) that some of our team were away in San Francisco last week for Maker Faire. Clive, Carrie Anne and Alex Bradbury joined forces with Pimoroni and ran a stall promoting Raspberry Pi and its use in education.

Here’s a video MAKE put out, featuring Clive talking about some of our recent developments such as the free educational material for everyone to teachlearn and make with Raspberry Pi:

The team spoke to a lot of people at Maker Faire, gave talks, visited hackspaces and crammed a lot of outreach in to the trip – so once they’ve recovered we’ll be sharing their experiences and adventures in further blog posts.

I’ve just booked a trip to America myself – I’ll be doing a tour of the States this summer, from 4th – 21st August starting and ending in New York City. We’ll put out a post about this later, but I’ll be looking to visit as many hackspaces, schools and communities as possible while I’m out there – particularly areas the team hasn’t covered before (I quite fancy a taste of Albuquerque for some reason…) – so watch this space for the call for visit requests! Or whet my appetite in the comments below.

HummingBird Duo is an Arduino At Heart Robotics Kit for Ages 10 to 110

via Arduino Blog

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Today we want to introduce you to a new Arduino at Heart Partner launching on Kickstarter this week: Hummingbird Duo is an electronics kit designed to be fun and educational for a fourth grader, a high school student, a college engineering student, or an adult maker.

Hummingbird Duo  creates a bridge between making and classroom education combining craft materials, electronic components and drag &drop programming. Part of Hummingbird’s mission is, in fact, to explode common conceptions of how robotics can be used in K-12 education:

 We have designed several levels of learning into the Hummingbird experience. Instead of a steep learning curve, learners go up a staircase where each step increases skills and where mastering each step allows one to use the Hummingbird in a new and more interesting way.

 

The kit was developed by BirdBrain Technologies, a Pittsburgh, PA firm founded by Tom Lauwers in 2010 to commercialize educational technology developed by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute’s CREATE lab and since 2012, they have pledged 1% of their net profits to the Computer Science Teacher’s Association.

hummingbird-duo

Support them on Kickstarter!

 

 

Cambridge Jam: focus on education

via Raspberry Pi

Liz: Last week’s Cambridge Raspberry Jam was one of the biggest yet. I asked the organisers, Michael Horne (whom you might know as Recantha: he has a brilliant Raspberry Pi blog, which you should check out) and Tim Richardson, whether they’d be prepared to write a guest post for us about the event. They’ve done so in spades. Thanks both!

We (Michael Horne and Tim Richardson) have been asked to write an account of the Cambridge Raspberry Jam that took place on Saturday, 10th May 2014. Thanks to Jarle TeiglandDarren Christie and Alan O’Donohoe for some of the photos and thanks to Andy Batey for arranging the streaming and recording of the talks. Think of this as a Virtual Raspberry Jam!

Introduction

This was a very special Jam. We had decided after the December 2013 event that we wanted to try and make each Jam different to the previous one. We had already introduced programming workshops for kids and planned to continue that into the February Jam. So, what could we do for the event after that to make it special, to make it unique? The answer lay in the aims of the Raspberry Pi Foundation: Education! We decided that for the May Jam we would have our focus on education; we just had to make the concept for the event fit the resources and space we had available.

Institute of Astronomy

The Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge

At our current venue, the Institute of Astronomy (above), we’re fortunate to have the following available: a 180-seat lecture theatre; a large foyer; a small 30-person meeting room and a small mezzanine with a couple of levels. It would be fair to say we went through quite a few ideas before finally settling on the concept: We would turn the lecture theatre over to presentations for educators (calling it ‘Focus on Education’) and hold workshops in the meeting room and foyer. We would also have projects on display on the mezzanine (we call it ‘Show and Tell’) and a cut-down version of our normal marketplace around the edges of the foyer with a slant towards education where possible.

Preparation… or “What does it take to make Jam for 200 people?”

We’ve held three previous Jams at the Institute of Astronomy and have sold out each time. Normally, we sell about 180 tickets and this time we were going to be inviting educators to the party, so we knew we had to be very prepared and very organised. We simply didn’t want to let anyone down, especially the teachers!

Normally we meet once every week or two for a two-hour meeting to discuss progress on the various tasks that need doing. Sometimes, we meet at the pub (if you’re ever in Potton, Bedfordshire, visit The Rising Sun where we meet!) and sometimes we meet round Tim’s house. We realised with an event of this size and importance that we would definitely need to meet every week in the three months after the February Jam, just to make sure that everything was done.

Rising Sun Potton

The Rising Sun, Potton – place of many-a-meeting

An idea that we had been thinking about for some time was having ‘maker tables’, where people could bring their kit along and experts would help them out with building them, or they could buy kits at the event and make them then and there.  We decided that this would be hard to plan for as we would not know what kits were coming and therefore who could help.  However, the idea of making things stayed with us, so we started to plan for a number of workshops instead of the usual one.

Eventually we fixed on workshops in which the Pi would detect and control the outside world: flashing LEDs (everybody likes those!), making sound, detecting temperature, light and movement, using a line follower and distance sensor, and controlling motors.  On top of that, we added in using the Raspberry Pi Camera module, Minecraft and using the Pibrella add-on board.

In the end we had nine hands-on workshops to sort out.  Yes, nine – we must have been out of our minds! Actually, make that ten, because some bright spark had the idea of running a soldering workshop throughout the day!

One of the things we wanted from the workshops was to develop a set of worksheets and kits that we could sell at close-to-cost to the people attending, which they could then take away with them. This meant ordering a lot of individual components from China and sorting them out into the kits. Tim ordered dozens of mini breadboards, hundreds of LEDs and resistors and lots and lots of sensors, along with motors, wheels and jumper cables. Which all needed to be sorted into bags. And our SD cards needed sorting out with all the software that would be required. And we also needed to find people to lead and assist in the workshops. Fortunately we’d built up an ideas-and-assistance group of about 20 people, and many of them were willing to give their time and energy to preparing the workshop material and teaching it.

Sensor man

Nice sensors, man! Just a small part of the huge amount of kit ordered for the workshops.

Meanwhile, Mike started sorting out a programme for the Focus on Education and asking people to the Show and Tell, doing a lot of the Jam & EventBrite admin and communications along the way. So, as you can tell, weekly meetings were a must!

On the day

So, there we were, and suddenly it was three months later: the 10th of May had swung around. We had even managed to find time to hold a social Jam (Potton Pi and Pints) in the meantime just to keep in touch with everyone.

At 8.30am on the morning of the 10th, we hit our first snag. Normally, we can get everything in Tim’s estate car (which is, basically, a huge cavern) for the trip to Cambridge. This time, however, we had a lot more to transport: we’d bought some tables plus all the kit for the workshops meant that we just couldn’t fit everything in. So, in two cars, we set out for the Institute.

The get-in for a Jam is always a bit chaotic, and damned hard work, and this time was no exception. The Institute looks very different on our arrival but, thanks to Andy Batey, (who works at the Institute, arranged the venue in the first place and is just an all-round helpful chap) we (including half-a-dozen volunteers, known as Jam Makers) manage to transform it into the configuration visitors see when they arrive. The most ‘fun’ task this time was to move a big marquee about 50 metres from one end of the quad to the other. Much mud was encountered!

Foyer workshop area (foreground), Marketplace (left) and Show and Tell mezzanine (top right)

Foyer workshop area (foreground), Marketplace (left) and Show and Tell mezzanine (top right)

If you want to get a feel for the day overall, Mathew and Leo have put together this brilliant video. You can even spot Tim (getting interviewed at the beginning) and Mike (with the loudhailer):

You might also want to listen to this podcast from Alan O’Donohoe which was recorded at the Jam.

Our first activity started at 11.10am and it was a Minecraft workshop led by Craig RichardsonMatt Timmons-Brown and Clare Macrae. This workshop had sold out within 1 hour of the free tickets becoming available. We’d had to cancel another workshop that we had been planning and replace it with a repeat of the Minecraft workshop, and that one sold out as well! We ended up with a waiting list big enough that we could have held another one! Minecraft is a major draw for kids.

Craig Richardson Minecraft workshop

Minecraft workshop number 1: Craig attempts the impossible by trying to reach into the big screen

Once we’d got that workshop going, it was all hands on deck to get the rest of the venue ready. Matt Manning, Andrew Scheller and Tim were our welcome team, and attempted the near-impossible task of checking tickets and ticking names off the registration list. With the teachers beginning to arrive, it got very busy, very quickly!

Mike and Tim had decided to split up so that Tim was outside managing the workshop preparations while Mike hosted the Focus on Education in the lecture theatre. We swapped halfway through the day.

Mike and Tim kicked off Focus on Education with a quick intro and then handed over to Clive Beale from the Foundation who was delivering the keynote: “Computing in Education and the new Curriculum”.

After Clive, Elizabeth Crilly from STEMNET and David Whale talked about the STEM Ambassador programme and what they can do for schools.

We then had a more practical presentation from Dr Sam Aaron, the developer of Sonic Pi. Sam’s a real rock star when it comes to live demos!

At the same time, in the meeting room we had a PiCamera workshop run by Jarle TeiglandMatt Manning and Andrew Scheller and in the foyer we had a beginners electronics/breadboarding workshop run by Alex EamesSway Grantham and Andrew Gale.

electronics workshop

Sway and Andrew watch over the basic electronics workshop

Back in the lecture theatre, we continued our presentation with Sophie Deen talking about Code Club and Code Club Pro (video not available) and then two live demo-style talks from Gordon Henderson (who covered FUZE and Return to BASIC):

and Darren Christie (who talked about the Pibrella and how simple it is to use):

At the same time as all of this, of course, we had our soldering workshop going on. Over 30 people took advantage of the free lessons given by Gee Bartlett (from Pimoroni) and Andrew Gale. They took place outside under a tent (so we didn’t set the fire alarms inside off!). We should mention at this point that we had a lot of generosity from the community with the soldering – Gee brought a load of stuff with him, including some kits that lit up; David Whale donated an entire box of oddments; Tom Hartley donated a batch of old AirPi boards.

soldering workshop

Andrew Gale teaches Sidney the finer points of not touching the hot end

We also had our Show and Tell area in full swing. We had projects from Brian CorteilRussell BarnesRyan WalmsleyIpswich SchoolWayne KeenanStewards Academy and Zach IgielmanAlex Eames was also to be found here showing off the latest prototype of the HDMIPi.

Brian Corteil

Brian Corteil and his naughty-and-nice machine (right) and egg-dispensing Easter bunny (left)

Ipswich School kids

Kids from Ipswich School showing off their automatic greenhouse watering system

robotic arm

Joseph from Stewards Academy shows off his robotic arm controlled by his real arm

We should also mention the exhibitors in the marketplace – we had the FUZE team, a group from the Little British Robot CompanyCyntechThe Pi HutGPIO.co.uk and Seven Segments of Pi. These guys really helped to give the Foyer a buzz!

Concurrently with the talks, soldering and Show and Tell, Tim had in the meantime started off a further two sessions: temperature, light and movement sensors in the Foyer (led by Matt Manning & Clare Macrae) and our second Minecraft workshop in the meeting room (Craig Richardson and Matt Timmons-Brown again).

Matt Manning

Matt Manning holds court in the sensors workshop

It was half-time in the lecture theatre so Tim and Mike swapped. We hit a slight snag at this point because the entire lecture theatre emptied and it became a little difficult to hear in the Foyer workshop… lesson learnt for next time!

With Tim now in charge in the lecture theatre, next up was Matthew Timmons-Brown giving his talk on how to make computing exciting for kids:

In the meantime, outside we had started off another two workshops: distance sensors and line followers (a vital robotics skill) led by Zach IgielmanRyan Walmsley and Jarle Teigland in the Foyer and a Pibrella workshop in the meeting room (led by Darren Christie, our in-house Pibrella expert!).

workshop

Young and old alike getting to know distance sensors and line followers in a workshop led by Zach Igielman (standing, in the green t-shirt)

In the lecture theatre, Alan O’Donohoe was up next: Engage and Inspire the Digital Creators of Tomorrow:

…followed by Craig Richardson giving a talk on using Minecraft in the classroom:

Out in the Foyer, Ryan Walmsley started off his workshop on controlling motors with the Pi, whilst in the meeting room Phil Howard and Jim Darby began their session on creating an Arduino and programming it with the Pi (we’re supporters of the school of thought that these devices can work together rather than in competition with one another!).

motor controller workshop

Ryan and Zach at the motor controller workshop, soldering workshop in the background outside

Back in the lecture theatre, Nevil Hunt talked about his invention, the Seven Segments of Pi, and how it can be used in schools:

Then, we had a talk from James Robinson from Computing at School:

And finally… we had a panel session that involved some of the Picademy graduates and was chaired by David Whale:

Then the big get-out began. This was a mammoth task at the end of a very long day. Many, many thanks to those who helped with both the get-in and, especially, the get-out. Without you guys we’d probably still be there!

All that was left to do was to drive home and… oh yeah… empty out both cars. Argh!!!

Aftermath

And so, the May Cambridge Raspberry Jam was over. It would be fair to say that neither Mike nor Tim could form a coherent sentence the next day, but it was worth it! We sent feedback forms out to attendees and, judging by the response, people were, on the whole, very happy with the way the day went. We certainly felt as though it had been a success, both in Focus on Education and in the activities in the Foyer/Meeting room.

What’s next? Well, we have a fair amount of work still to do for this Jam. We need to analyse all the feedback and come up with a list of ‘lessons learnt’. We also need to resort all the equipment we hurriedly packed and brought back from the Jam into the correct boxes.

And then there’s the small matter of the Jam on 5th July… and possibly a Potton Pi & Pints in June!

Right then… to the pub!

If you want to find out more about the Cambridge Raspberry Jam, visit our website at http://camjam.me or come and watch some more videos on the YouTube channel.

Teaching (Teaching with LilyPad, Raspberry Pi in education, MzTEK)

via OSHUG

The thirty-fourth OSHUG meeting will feature three talks that each explore approaches to teaching electronics and programming.

Teaching with the LilyPad Arduino

In this talk we will hear about experiences of teaching basic electronics and coding principles via wearable technology and e-textiles, using the LilyPad Arduino — a sewable microcontroller — in workshops with people of all ages at universities, schools at hackspaces.

Rain Ashford designs and constructs wearable technology, e-textiles and interactive artworks. A PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, where she is investigating the possibility that wearable technology can be used to augment new forms of non-verbal communication, particularly in the areas of body language and emotion, by the amplifying and visualising of physiological data. She has studied Fine Art, Multimedia, and Electronics Engineering, which has led to her work developing as a convergence of art, programming and electronics.

Raspberry Pi in education

Challenges, benefits and experiences with the Raspberry Pi as an educational tool.

Matt Venn has run hundreds of creative science workshops for thousands of children and adults around the world. For the last year, he has been working with teachers in preparation for the computer science curriculum changes; creating and leading courses, workshops and projects.

When he's not inventing new ways of getting people excited about science, Matthew plays music, invents puzzle boxes, practices martial arts and maintains bikes.

MzTEK: festivals, workshops and take away technologies

MzTEK is a non-profit organisation that aims to redress the imbalance of women artists working in the fields of new media, computer arts, electronics and technology. Based in London and supported by Hackney arts institution [ space ], and Centre for Creative Collaboration in Kings Cross, and hosting a range of workshops, talks and self-initiated tinker sessions.

In collaboration with partner organisations, MzTEK develop interesting, accessible and curiosity igniting workshops that can be delivered in short time frames and engage a wide audience with varying skills. Working with open source technologies and tools to help ensure that participants continue making and tinkering with the technologies they encounter long after workshops. Furthermore, doing this at festivals and events where the hope is to encounter a broad range of participants and unpredictable work environments! This talk will discuss some previous projects such as the Hacked Human Orchestra, a wearable electronics project devised in collaboration with Guerrilla Science, and suggest ways that thematic focus, together with a well balanced combination of skill acquisition, creativity and fun can enhance workshop delivery.

Shauna Concannon is an interdisciplinary researcher interested in communication spaces and constructive disagreement. She has been working with MzTEK for the past few years, developing and facilitating workshops in Processing, Arduino and wearable electronics. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Media and Arts Technology at Queen Mary University of London.

Note: Please aim to by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

Sponsored by: