Tag Archives: Education

Astro Pi Coding Challenges: a message from Tim Peake

via Raspberry Pi

Back in February, we announced an extension to the Astro Pi mission in the form of two coding challenges. The first required you to write Python Sense HAT code to turn Ed and Izzy (the Astro Pi computers) into an MP3 player, so that Tim Peake could plug in his headphones and listen to his music. The second required you to code Sonic Pi music for Tim to listen to via the MP3 player.

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We announced the winners in early April. Since then, we’ve been checking your code on flight-equivalent Astro Pi units and going through the official software delivery and deployment process with the European Space Agency (ESA).

Crew time is heavily regulated on the ISS. However, because no science or experimentation output is required for this, they allowed us to upload it as a crew care package for Tim! We’re very grateful to the UK Space Agency and ESA for letting us extend the Astro Pi project in this way to engage more kids.

The code was uploaded and Tim deployed it onto Ed on May 15. He then recorded this and sent it to us:

Tim Peake with the Astro Pi MP3 player

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s message to the students who took part in the 2016 Astro Pi coding challenges to hack his Astro Pi mini-computer, on the International Space Station, into an MP3 player. The music heard is called Run to the Stars composed by one of the teams who took part.

In total, there were four winning MP3 players and four winning Sonic Pi tunes; the audio from the Sonic Pi entries was converted into MP3 format, so that it could be played by the MP3 players. The music heard is called Run to the Stars, composed with Sonic Pi by Iris and Joseph Mitchell, who won the 11 years and under age group.

Tim tested all four MP3 players, listened to all four Sonic Pi tunes, and then went on to load more tunes from his own Spacerocks collection onto the Astro Pi!

Tim said in an email:

As a side note, I’ve also loaded it with some of my Spacerocks music – it works just great. I was dubious about the tilt mechanism working well in microgravity, using the accelerometers to change tracks, but it works brilliantly. I tried inputting motion in other axes to test the stability and it was rock solid – it only worked with the correct motion. Well done to that group!!

“That group” was Lowena Hull from Portsmouth High School, whose MP3 player could change tracks by quickly twisting the Astro Pi to the left or right. Good coding, Lowena!

Thanks again to everyone who took part, to our special judges OMD and Ilan Eshkeri, and especially to Tim Peake, who did this during his time off on a Sunday afternoon last weekend.

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Bringing technology into the hands of teachers and students

via Arduino Blog

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Arduino and Genuino Education is a worldwide-leading school initiative bringing technology into the hands of teachers and students to create a more inventive learning experience. It offers multiple platforms, including research-based projects like PELARS and in-class programs such as Creative Technologies in the Classroom (CTC), all of which are present at this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area.

With CTC, students are able to learn basic programming, electronics, and mechanics concepts in an approachable, playful way through a series of coding projects and easy-to-assemble experiments.

Arduino’s one-of-a-kind STEM program has been implemented in nearly 500 schools throughout the globe, resulting in an overwhelming satisfaction rate among both students and teachers alike. 95% of instructors continue to use the curriculum in their classrooms year after year, while more than 13,000 students have already participated.

CTC 101 — running on Arduino 101 — is divided into four distinct stages:

  1. Teacher training (one week)
  2. Themed modules (five modules, 10 weeks)
  3. Student projects (nine weeks)
  4. Technology fair (one day)

Each program comes with a CTC 101 Toolbox consisting of:

  • Sets of electronics components and pre-cut mechanical parts
  • 25+ hands-on projects
  • Live training for teachers
  • Free online documentation and course materials
  • Support forums for teachers and students

Interested? Be sure to come visit us at Maker Faire Bay Area to learn more and fill out this form so we can get in touch!

Your Picademy questions answered

via Raspberry Pi

In April 2014 we ran our first ever training event for teachers. We called it ‘Picademy‘, and we selected 24 fabulous teachers to attend and gave them a qualification and a very special badge at the end.

Our aim was to give teachers the skills and knowledge they need to get creative with computing, no matter what their level of experience.

Raspberry Pi Robot built at Picademy

Educators teach, learn and make with us at Picademy

Two years on, there are now over 700 Raspberry Pi Certified Educators around the world working with tens of thousands of young people. We know that many of our Certified Educators have gone on to become leaders in the field, helping to train other educators and build a movement around computing and digital making in the classroom.

Based on the huge volume of questions and enquiries we get from people who want to get involved in Picademy, we think we’re onto something, and we’re developing some exciting plans for the future. For now, I wanted to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Picademy.

What is Picademy?

Picademy

Picademy offers teachers two full days of hands-on Continued Professional Development (CPD) workshops, and attendees become Raspberry Pi Certified Educators. It’s free, and our friends at Google are supporting us to offer it at their Digital Garage venues around the UK. Watch the experiences of attendees at Picademy@Google in Leeds, then find out more and apply at rpf.io/train.

Picademy is a two-day course that allows educators to experience what can be achieved with a little help and lots of imagination. Through a series of workshops we introduce a range of engaging ways to deliver computing in classrooms all over the world. Highlights include using physical computing to control electronic components like LEDs and buttons; coding music with Sonic Pi; and terraforming the world of Minecraft. On day two, attendees have the opportunity to apply their learning by developing their own project ideas, learning from each other and our experts.

Each cohort that attends contains a mix of primary, secondary and Post-16 educators representing many different subject areas. One of our aims is to create leaders in education who are equipped with skills to train others in their community. Attending our training is the first step in that journey.

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When are you bringing Picademy to [insert name of place here]?

This is by far the most common question. There is clearly a huge demand for the kind of professional development that Picademy offers.

So far, we’ve been mainly focused on the UK. The first wave of events were held at Pi Towers in Cambridge. Over the past year, thanks to the generous support of our friends at Google, we have been able to bring Picademy to cities across the UK, with events in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester. In the next few months, we will be running events in Newcastle, Liverpool and London. The venues are part of the Google Digital Garage initiative, and we’ll be running Picademy sessions with them until at least April 2017, so we hope to pop up in a city near you soon!

This year, we launched a pilot programme in the USA, with our first ever Picademy training events outside the UK taking place in California in February and April before heading to Baltimore in August.

We don’t currently have plans to launch Picademy in other parts of the world. We’d love to, but we just don’t have the capacity. We are brainstorming ideas for how the Foundation can better support educators globally and as those ideas develop, we’ll be looking for your input to help shape them.

We often get asked whether we will partner with organisations in other parts of the world who want to run Picademy on our behalf. We aren’t currently considering those kind of partnerships, but it is one of the options that we will be looking at for the long-term.

I’m not a teacher, but I want to learn about Raspberry Pi. Can I attend?

Picademy is designed for teachers.  The aim is to equip them with the best possible pedagogy, strategies, tools and ideas to bring digital making into the classroom. It’s also about building a community of educators who can support each other and grow the movement.

It’s not a “How to use Raspberry Pi” course. There are lots of websites and video channels that are already doing a fantastic job in that space (see our Community page for a small selection of these).

We know that there are lots of people who aren’t formal teachers who help young people learn about computing and digital making, and we are working hard to support them. For example, we have a huge programme of training for Code Club volunteers.

For Picademy, our priority is to support the people at the chalkface, where access to professional development is problematic and where up-skilling in digital making is needed most.

The first Picademy USA Cohort! © Douglas Fairbairn Photography / Courtesy of the Computer History Museum

The first Picademy USA Cohort – our largest ever, totalling 40! © Douglas Fairbairn Photography / Courtesy of the Computer History Museum

We have accepted applications from people in other roles, like teaching assistants and librarians, who work with children every day in schools or other community settings, but the vast majority of participants have been qualified, serving teachers.

If you want to learn about Raspberry Pi, one of the best places to start is a Raspberry Jam. There are now hundreds of Jams happening regularly around the world. These are community events, run by brilliantly talented volunteers, that bring together people of all ages to learn about digital making.

Can I have access to the course materials?

All our Picademy sessions are based on resources that are available for free on our website. Some of the most common sessions are based on:

Our focus is on collaboration, making, project-based learning, and computing – similar to most Raspberry Jams, in fact. If you are super-interested in STEAM, project-based learning, and digital making (the pillars of Picademy), then I’d recommend the following reading as a starting point:

The materials and reading is part of the recipe of a successful Picademy. What’s harder to share is the energy and atmosphere that is created.

Miss Grady on Twitter

Using code we have created a funfair! All components triggered by #Python codes we have written ourselves #picademypic.twitter.com/J5spWvoQom

Our trainers all have experience of teaching in formal contexts, have good subject knowledge and a super-supportive manner. They share their expertise and passion with others which is inspiring and infectious. The educators that attend are open-minded, imaginative and curious. Together we have a lot of fun.

Who can I speak to about Picademy?

The teacher training team at the Foundation consists of three full time people: Picademy Manager James Robinson, Code Club Teacher Training Manager Lauren Hyams, and Education Team Co-ordinator Dan Fisher. Do reach out to us via the forum or social media.

We’re supported from across the Foundation and our wider community by an awesome team that helps us design and deliver the events.

Without the support of all these people, we would not be able to run the volume of events that we do – a huge thank you with bells on to all our helpers from me!

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Arduino is headed to Maker Faire Bay Area!

via Arduino Blog

MakerFaireSM

Maker Faire is a three-day, family-friendly event that has been celebrating the DIY Movement for the last 10 years. The ‘Greatest Show & Tell on Earth’ is designed for creative, innovative people of all ages and backgrounds, who like to tinker and love to make things.

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In just a few days, the Arduino team will be in attendance for the 11th annual Maker Faire Bay Area as a Goldsmith Sponsor. Those heading to the San Mateo on May 20th-22nd will want to swing by our booth (#2321) and join us for some inspiring talks, especially the highly-anticipated State of Arduino by Massimo Banzi on Saturday at 12:30pm.

ArduinoCLoud

We’ve been preparing a series of demos to showcase the family of Arduino tools for the Internet of Things through our Arduino Create platform. Those who come by our booth will have the chance to experience the following firsthand:

  • Cloud Sensor Station | “Make Sense of Your Data”
    The Cloud Sensor Station is equipped with four different sensors: gas detection, light intensity, motion detection (infrared) and temperature/humidity. These four sensors send values to the Arduino Cloud so that you can see real-time results of the collected data from everywhere.
  • Yún Camera | “Lights! Camera! Facebook!”
    The Yún Camera captures photos at the press of a button and then automatically uploads them onto Facebook. (We’re sensing plenty of selfies in our near future!)
  • Yún Message | “Leave a Message and I’ll Show It Back”
    The Yún Message is a smart desk, developed in collaboration with Opendesk, that displays custom messages on an LED matrix. This piece of smart furniture lets users share a reminder or note through a webpage. Come and leave a note or… do it online!
  • Twitter Printer | “The IoTweet!”
    This connected thermal printer running on MKR1000 will automatically print tweets from all over the world with the #PrintArduino hashtag. (Look forward to seeing what you come up with!)

Additionally, we’ll be showcasing our Creative Technologies in the Classroom (CTC) program, which is a collaborative learning curriculum designed for schools that wish to incorporate emerging technologies into their existing technology classes.

Whether you’re a teacher or student, come and discover how to explore electronics through a series of hands-on coding projects that’ll provide you with the foundations of programming, electronics and mechanics.

Aside from some of our latest products and projects, we’ll also play host to several members of our growing open-source ecosystem and partners like Intel, ARM and Atmel, to name just a few.

Have a question about Arduino? Looking to get started but don’t know how? Beginners, or even experienced users, will have the chance to get their questions answered inside our booth. We’ve set aside an area where you can speak to our team of experts, from your recent invention to one of our boards. What’s more, you’ll even be able to take home an assortment of Arduino SWAG: stickers, pins and other cool giveaways!

Can’t wait to see everyone soon! In the meantime, stay tuned as we’ll be posting a confirmed agenda of scheduled talks in the next few days. For everything else, check out Maker Faire’s official site!

Principia schools conferences

via Raspberry Pi

Principia

In November this year the UK Space Agency (UKSA) is holding two special conferences to celebrate the educational work linked to Tim Peake’s Principia mission. These events will be an opportunity for kids of all ages to show their projects to a panel of leading space experts – hopefully including Tim himself!

Tim’s schedule after he returns to Earth is hectically busy, but he’s very keen to be at the events and meet children, and everyone involved is working hard towards this goal. The conferences will be held at:

Attendance is free, and UKSA are offering travel bursaries to help with the cost of getting there. However, if you want to go, you’ll need to apply for one of the available places.

The Principia mission has a huge range of linked educational activities, one of which is our own Astro Pi, and the conferences will be attended by students selected from across them all. There are about 500 student places available for each event; the individuals and teams who submit the strongest applications presenting their projects will be invited to take part.

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Astro Pi is one of many Principia activities

You certainly don’t need to have won one of the Principia competitions to be invited to participate: the organisers want to see all kinds of work linked with Tim’s mission. They want your application to tell the story behind what you did, describe what you’ve learned by carrying out the project, and explain what long-term effects the work has had on your school. We expect the conferences will include students presenting a huge variety of work, from activities linked to official competitions to creative ideas that students and teachers have generated themselves.

To illustrate the kind of applications we’re hoping to see, it’s worth mentioning the testimonial about Astro Pi that maths teacher Gillian Greig, from The Priory School in Hitchin, wrote last year. We think it’s a great example of the kind of story the organisers will enjoy seeing. Gillian, we hope you and your students will apply!

Of course, we’d love to see a strong Astro Pi contingent at both conferences, so we strongly encourage anyone who engaged with Astro Pi to apply. You can apply as an individual, a group, a class, or even an entire school. The applications will be judged by a panel who will select projects that show dedication and thoughtfulness.

Laser-etched Astro Pi

Flight equivalent Astro Pi units will be available at the conferences

Dave Honess, who manages Astro Pi, will be at both conferences with a number of flight equivalent Astro Pi units that can be used by attendees for their presentations.

The deadline for applications is Thursday 15 September 2016 at 12 noon. Apply here!

You can find more details about the application process, the conference venues, and arrangements for travel and accommodation on the Principia website. And if you have any questions, feel free to post them below – we’ll do our best to answer them.

Good luck!

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“Electronics for the Humanities” keynote at Arduino Day

via Arduino Blog

tom-igoeDay

Lately I’ve been struggling with the STEM/STEAM approach to teaching computational technology. It assumes you’re either an artist, scientist, or engineer. What about the rest of us? I meet plenty of people who don’t fit any of these categories, yet who use programming and electronic devices in their work. I’m looking to understand their perceptions of how these technologies work, and how they fit into their practices. In this talk, I tried to explain some of what I’ve noticed by observing and working with people from different backgrounds, and to review some of the current tools for teaching a general audience.

Ultimately, I want us to get to a point where we use programming tools in the same way as we use language. We all use language, but we’re not all language-using professionals. We use it casually, expressively, sometimes professionally, in a thousand different ways. We don’t follow all the rules, yet we work together to share a common understanding through language. We’re starting to do the same with media like video, audio, and images as well. Maybe we can get there with programming and computational thought, too.

Watch the video: