Tag Archives: Education

Skycademy – Free High Altitude CPD

via Raspberry Pi

We’re looking for 24 teachers (or youth leaders) to take part in a FREE two-and-a-half day Continuing Professional Development (CPD) event aiming to provide experience of high altitude ballooning to educators, and demonstrating how it can be used as an engaging teaching opportunity.

Over the last few year I’ve seen many awesome uses of the Raspberry Pi, but one of my favourites by far is seeing the Pi used as a payload tracker for High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) projects.

One of the most prolific HAB enthusiasts is Dave Akerman, who has launched many flights using the Raspberry Pi, from the first flight back in 2012

…to the launch of a potato for Heston Blumenthal’s “Great British Food”…

…and even capturing some amazing images of the recent Solar Eclipse from 30km up.

Many schools are also seeing the opportunities for learning that a HAB flight presents, incorporating physics, maths, computing and geography into one project.

Here’s a project from William Howard School in Cumbria, whose students built their own tracker connected to a Pi.

In my previous life as a teacher, I organised a launch with my own students, and we had help from Dave Akerman on the day. This turned out to be super helpful, as it takes some planning and there’s a lot to remember.

One of the hardest parts of running a flight is the number of different aspects you have to plan and manage. You can test the hardware and software to a certain point, but there’s limited opportunity for a practice flight. Having experience is really helpful.

For this reason we’re running our first “Skycademy”, during which we will be giving attendees hands-on experience of a flight. The event will be free to attend and will be spread over two and a half days between the 24th and 26th of August.

  • Day 1 – Planning and workshop sessions on all aspects of HAB flights.
  • Day 2 – Each team launches their payload, tracks, follows and recovers it.
  • Day 3 – Teams gather together for plenary morning.

Our aim is to support and inspire teachers and other adults working with young people. The hope is that those that attend will return to lead a project with their groups that will do something amazing.

Attendees will be supported throughout the course by experienced HAB enthusiasts and the Raspberry Pi Education Team. If you are a UK teacher or work with young people (scout leader, youth leader etc), you can apply here.

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Chips Pt.2 (Chip Design for Teenagers, Cocotb, lowRISC)


Back in April 2011 we had our first meeting on the theme of open source chip design, and then around one year later we took a closer look at the OpenRISC Reference Platform System-on-Chip. The thirty-sixth meeting will feature talks on chip design for teenagers, an open source verification framework, and a fully open source system-on-chip that will be manufactured in volume.

Silicon Chip Design for Teenagers

These days we expect school students to learn to write code, and teachers are turning to tools like Scratch (for primary education) and Python (for secondary education). But why stick to software languages. Why not teach coding in Verilog and get children to design silicon chips.

Earlier this year Dan Gorringe attended Chip Hack II in Cambridge. Inspired by this he spent two weeks work experience at Embecosm in August 2014 modifying the Chip Hack materials for use by Year 9-11 students. His resulting application note, "Silicon Chip Design for Teenagers", is to be published very shortly by Embecosm.

In this talk, Dan will share his experience of learning silicon chip design, using Verilog for his first serious attempt at coding and encountering Mentor Graphics EDA tools for the first time.

Dan Gorringe has just started year 11 and faces the horrors of GCSE exams in 8 months time, so silicon chip design is just light relief. He has aspirations to a career in computing.

Cocotb, an Open Source Verification Framework

Verifying hardware designs has always been a significant challenge but very few open-source tools have emerged to support this effort. The recent advances in verification to facilitate complex designs often depend on specialist knowledge and expensive software tools. In this talk we will look at Cocotb, an open-source verification framework, and explore whether Python is a viable language for verification.

Chris Higgs has over a decade of experience working with FPGAs in various industries. His software background has shaped his approach to RTL design and verification and he now spends his time trying to bridge the divide between hardware and software development.

lowRISC — a Fully Open Source RISC-V System-on-Chip

The lowRISC project has been formed to produce a System-on-Chip which will be open source right down to the HDL, implementing the open RISC-V instruction set architecture. Volume manufacture of silicon manufacture is planned, along with creating and distributing low-cost development boards. This talk will describe the aims of the lowRISC project, summarise its current status, describe some of the features that are being implemented, and give details on how you can get involved.

Alex Bradbury is a researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory where he works on compilation techniques for a novel many-core architecture. He writes LLVM Weekly, is co-author of Learning Python with Raspberry Pi, and has been a contributor to the Raspberry Pi project since the first alpha hardware was available.

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

Sponsored by:

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


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: