All posts by Dan Fisher

Developer Q&A: brand-new online training courses

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/developer-qa-online-training/

There is always a flurry of activity at the start of the new academic year, and we are getting in on the action: this autumn and winter, we’ll be launching four new online courses! They are completely free and aim to give educators a solid grounding in the concepts and practical applications of computing.

I caught up with course developers Marc, Caitlyn, James, and Martin to find out what they have in store for you.




Dan Fisher: Hi everyone! First off, can you give me a rundown of what your courses are called and what your motivation was for creating them?

Martin O’Hanlon: Sure! So my course is called Programming 101: An Introduction to Python for Educators. We wanted to create an ‘introduction to programming’ course that anyone could follow, ensuring that learners get to understand concepts as well as practice coding. They will leave with a really good understanding of why programming is so useful, and of how it works.

James Robinson: Then, as a follow-up to this and many other beginner online programming courses, we will be releasing Programming 102: Think Like A Computer Scientist. A lot of courses spend time on the syntax and core elements of a language, without much focus on how to plan and construct a program. We feel the skills involved in understanding and breaking down a problem, before representing it in code, are fundamental to computer science. My course is therefore designed to give you the opportunity to explore these problem-solving skills while extending your knowledge of programming.

Marc Scott: My How Computers Work: Demystifying Computation course fills in the gaps in people’s knowledge about these amazing lumps of silicon and plastic. Computers are very abstract machines. Most people understand that computers can run large, complicated programs, but few people understand how computers are able to perform even the simplest of operations like counting or adding two numbers together. How Computers Work shows people how computers use simple components such as transistors to do incredible things.

Caitlyn Merry: My course is called Bringing Data to Life: Data Representation with Digital Media. Data representation is a huge part of the GCSE Computer Science curriculum, and we wanted to present some of the more theoretical parts of the subject in a fun, practical, and engaging way. And data is everywhere — it is such an important topic nowadays, with real-world impact, so we’re making sure the course is also useful for anyone else who wants to learn about data through the lens of creative media.

an animation of a dancing computer screen displaying the words 'hello world'

DF: Awesome! So who are the courses for?

MOH: Programming 101 is for anyone who wants to learn how to program in Python and gain an understanding for the concepts of computer programming.

JR: Programming 102 is for beginners who have already tackled some programming basics and have some experience in writing text-based programs.

CM: Bringing Data to Life is great if you want to understand how computers turn data into digital media: text, sound, video, and images — for example, photos on your smartphone.

MS: And How Computers Work is for anyone who is interested in learning how computers work. [laughter from the group]

DF: Short and to the point as ever, Marc.

MS: Okay, if you want a sensible answer, it would most help Computer Science teachers at secondary or high school level get to grips with the fundamentals and architecture.

DF: And what will they be doing in your courses, in practical terms?

MOH: Programming 101 will show you how to set up your computer for Python programming and then how to create Python programs! You’ll learn about the basic programming concepts of sequencing, selection, and repetition, and about how to use variables, input, output, ifs, lists, loops, functions, and more.

an animation showing how programming variables works

JR: Programming 102 discusses the importance of algorithms and their applications, and shows you how to plan and implement your own algorithms and reflect on their efficiency. Throughout the course, you’ll be using functions to structure your code and make your algorithms more versatile.

MS: In How Computers Work, learners will find out some of the historical origins of computers and programming, how computers work with ones and zeros, how logic gates can be used to perform calculations, and about the basic internals of the CPU, the central processing unit.

CM: In my Bringing Data to Life course, you’ll learn how text, images, and sound data is represented and stored by computers, but you’ll also be doing your own media computation: creating your own code and programs to manipulate existing text, images, and data!

DF: Cool! So what will learners end up taking away from your courses?

MOH: When you have completed the Programming 101 course, you’ll be able to create your own computer programs using Python, educate others in the fundamental concepts of computer programming, and take your learning further to understand more advanced concepts.

JR: After Programming 102, you’ll be able to plan and create structured and versatile programs and make use of more programming concepts including functions and dictionaries.

MS: From my course, you’ll get a solid grounding in how computers actually function, and an appreciation for the underlying simplicity behind complex computing architectures and programs.

an animation of how a relay works

At their core, computers works with simple components, e.g. relays like this.

CM: The take-away from mine will be an understanding of how computers present to you all the media you view on your phone, screens, etc., and you’ll gain some new skills to manipulate and change what you see and hear through computers.

DF: And how much would learners need to know before they start?

MOH: Programming 101 is suitable for complete beginners with no prior knowledge.

MS: The same goes for How Computers Work.

JR: For Programming 102, you’ll need to have already tackled some programming basics and have a little experience of writing text-based programs, but generally speaking, the courses are for beginner-level learners who are looking for a place to start.

CM: You’d just need a basic understanding of Python for Bringing Data to Life. Taking Programming 101 would be enough!

DF: That’s great, folks! Thanks for talking to me.


Programming 101 and How Computers Work will both begin running in October. Sign up for them today by visiting the Raspberry Pi Foundation page on FutureLearn.An animation of a castaway learning to codeProgramming 101 and How Computers Work will both begin running in October. Sign up for them today by visiting the Raspberry Pi Foundation page on FutureLearn.

Programming 102 and Bringing Data to Life will launch this winter. Sign up for our education newsletter Raspberry Pi LEARN to hear from us when they’re out!

Got a question you’d like to ask our online course developers? Post your comment below.

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Hello World Issue 6: Ethical Computing

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/hello-world-issue-6/

Join us for an in-depth exploration of ethical computing in the newest issue of Hello World, our magazine for computing and digital making educators. It’s out today!

 

We need to talk about ethics

Whatever area of computing you hail from, how to take an ethical approach to the projects we build with code is an important question. As educators, we also need to think about the attitudes we are passing on to our students as we guide them along their computing journey.

Ensuring that future generations use technology for good and consider the ethical implications of their creations is vital, particularly as self-learning AI systems are becoming prevalent. Let’s be honest: none of us want to live in a future resembling The Terminator’s nightmarish vision, however unlikely that is to come true.

With that in mind, we’ve brought together a wide range of experts to share their ideas on the moral questions that teaching computing raises, and on the social implications of computing in the wider context of society.



More in this issue

We’ve also got the latest news about exciting online courses from Raspberry Pi and articles on Minecraft, Scratch, and the micro:bit. As usual, we also answer your latest questions and bring you an excellent collection of helpful features, guides, and lesson plans!

Highlights of issue 6 include:

  • Doing the right thing: can computing help create ‘good citizens’?
  • Ethics in the curriculum: how to introduce them to students
  • Microblocks: live programming for microcontrollers
  • The 100-word challenge: a free resource to unlock creative writing

You can download your PDF of Hello World #6 from our website right now! It’s freely available under a Creative Commons licence.

Subscribe to Hello World

We offer free print copies of the magazine to all computing educators in the UK. This includes teachers, Code Club and CoderDojo volunteers, teaching assistants, teacher trainers, and others who help children and young people learn about computing and digital making.

Subscribe to have your free print magazine posted directly to your home, or subscribe digitally — 24000 educators have already signed up to receive theirs!

If you live outside the UK and are interested in computer science and digital making education (and since you’ve read this far, I think you are!), subscribe to always get the latest issue as a PDF file straight to your inbox.

Get in touch!

You could write for us about your experiences as an educator to share your advice with the community. Wherever you are in the world, get in touch by emailing our editorial team about your article idea — we would love to hear from you!

Hello World magazine is a collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Computing At School, which is part of the British Computing Society.

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Celebrating our teachers

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/celebrating-teachers/

The end of the academic year is here, and we are marking the occasion by celebrating teachers from all over the world.

Raspberry Pi Teachers Computing highlight 2018

For those about to teach, we salute you.

Since last September, we’ve run a whole host of programmes that teachers have been involved in. From training with us at Picademy to building apocalyptic projects for Pioneers, from running Code Clubs, Dojos, and Raspberry Jams to learning tea-making algorithms on our free online training courses, these brilliant people do amazing things on a daily basis. And even more amazingly, they somehow also have the energy to take their knowledge into schools and share it with their learners to get them excited about computing too.

Dr Sue Sentance, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s new Chief Learning Officer, has trained teachers for many years and understands better than most the impact a good teacher can have:

“When thinking about teaching Computing, we often get so caught up in the technology — what software, what kit, what environment, etc. — that we forget that it’s the teachers who actually facilitate students’ learning and inspire and motivate the students. A passionate and enthusiastic teacher is more important than which device or tool the students are using, because they understand what will help their students. “

In celebration of our education community, we asked teachers around the world to answer one big question:

“What has been your computing highlight of the year?”

Caroline Keep

Raspberry Pi Teachers Computing highlight 2018

Caroline (top right) and her group of students at Spark Penketh

Caroline Keep won the TES New Teacher of the Year award and runs Spark Penketh, a school makerspace in Warrington. She will also be training with us in August to become a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator. Her highlight of the year was achieving success at the forefront of the UK’s makerspace movement:

“All the physical computing projects we’ve done since February when Raspberry Pi co-founder Pete Lomas opened our school makerspace (the first one in a UK state school) have been amazing! We’ve built and coded talking robots, and gesture-controlled ones on micro:bits with primary schools. We’ve built drones, coded Arduinos for European Maker Week, opened a RoboDojo, used Python and Node-RED on Raspberry Pi to control weather stations, Pi Camera Modules, and robots, and we’ve designed a Digital Creative pathway for Industry 4.0 skills for September. Next up are Google AIY Projects kits, Redfern Electronic’s Crumble, and Bare Conductive’s Touch Board. We can’t wait!”

Heidi Baynes

Raspberry Pi Teachers Computing highlight 2018

Heidi (left) and two other amazing US-based educators pose under a very apt sign. It’s like they planned it.

Heidi Baynes is an Education Coordinator for the County Office of Education in Riverside, California. Her highlight is a birthday party with a difference:

“The Riverside Raspberry Jam was held on 3 March 2018 as part of Raspberry Pi’s Big Birthday celebration. Fellow Picademy graduate Ari Flewelling and I planned the event in conjunction with Vocademy, and we were thrilled by the overwhelming support from the local community. The event featured a project showcase, workshops, and an introduction to all things Raspberry Pi. We can’t wait to start planning the 2019 Riverside Raspberry Jam! I was also particularly proud of the students from Mountain Heights Academy who shared their Raspberry Pi and micro:bit projects at the Consortium’s #CSforAll event in Riverside. Our student Hailey was able to share her experiences as part of a student panel and even had the opportunity to meet the CEO of code.org, Hadi Partovi!”

Amy Bloodworth

Raspberry Pi Teachers Computing highlight 2018

Amy Bloodworth and her Astro Pi–winning students

Amy Bloodworth is a teacher at The American School In Switzerland (TASIS) in Lugano, Switzerland. Her highlight is literally out of this world:

“It has been a busy year for us here in Switzerland. Highlights for me and my students include meeting a computer game designer, competing in the World Robot Olympiad, and participating in the Astro Pi Challenge. With Astro Pi, my students loved that they could send their coded message to the ISS astronauts in any of the languages of ESA. As we are an international school, so this helped the students feel more connected to the task. The Astro Pi Challenge hooked the students in and acted as a springboard for other activities, such as coding an ISS tracker that alerted them when the ISS was overhead, and other science experiments using the Sense HAT. Next year, I plan to start a new after-school club dedicated to competitive robotics.”

Janice Paterson

Raspberry Pi Teacher Computing highlight 2018

Janice Paterson’s lovely class of brain-eating zombies

Janice Paterson is the Principal Teacher at Wormit Primary in Fife, Scotland. Her highlight wouldn’t seem out of place in The Walking Dead:

“We loved the amazing open-ended challenge of a zombie apocalypse, courtesy of Raspberry Pi’s Pioneers programme. It was truly cross-curricular and completely immersive for all the young learners. The books were devoured for information/ideas, and the makeup kits inspired our imaginations and creative side. We had Pi-powered, zombie-detecting robots coded to offer assorted challenges, and micro:bits set up as zombie teacher detectors (their thermometers were used because, of course, teachers have hot bodies!). We all learned loads! The best bit was sharing it all with the rest of our Code Club and the whole school.”

Wojtek Zielinski

Wojtek Zielinski works in Poland as a teacher. His highlight was a breakthrough he had when working with the translated versions of our resources with his students:

“When children work with resources in English, they often end up following what’s in the pictures. They don’t understand why the game or the program they created works. Translated materials enable them to truly learn and understand programming concepts, and that empowers them to experiment and create more. Translations are therefore essential for learning.”

Our thanks

We are so grateful for everything our teachers do to help us make our programmes a success. Together we’ll be able to achieve our goal of making high-quality computing resources that are accessible to everyone!

As a quick aside, you might also be interested to read a recent article written by Raspberry Pi creator and co-founder Eben Upton about the positive impact his teachers had on him.

Whether you’re a teacher wanting to share your success, or you simply want to share your appreciation for the teachers who inspired you, tell us about it in the comments below.

And from everyone at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, there’s only one thing left to say…

Teachers, we salute you!

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Transition from Scratch to Python with FutureLearn

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/futurelearn-scratch-to-python/

With the launch of our first new free online course of 2018 — Scratch to Python: Moving from Block- to Text-based Programming — two weeks away, I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce you to the ins and outs of the course content so you know what to expect.

FutureLearn: Moving from Scratch to Python

Learn how to apply the thinking and programming skills you’ve learnt in Scratch to text-based programming languages like Python.

Take the plunge into text-based programming

The idea for this course arose from our conversations with educators who had set up a Code Club in their schools. Most people start a club by teaching Scratch, a block-based programming language, because it allows learners to drag and drop blocks of pre-written code into a window to create a program. The blocks automatically snap together, making it easy to build fun and educational projects that don’t require much troubleshooting. You can do almost anything a beginner could wish for with Scratch, even physical computing to control LEDs, buzzers, buttons, motors, and more!

Scratch to Python FutureLearn Raspberry Pi

However, on our face-to-face training programme Picademy, educators told us that they were finding it hard to engage children who had outgrown Scratch and needed a new challenge. It was easy for me to imagine: a young learner, who once felt confident about programming using Scratch, is now confused by the alien, seemingly awkward interface of Python. What used to take them minutes in Scratch now takes them hours to code, and they start to lose interest — not a good result, I’m sure you’ll agree. I wanted to help educators to navigate this period in their learners’ development, and so I’ve written a course that shows you how to take the programming and thinking skills you and your learners have developed in Scratch, and apply them to Python.

Scratch to Python FutureLearn Raspberry Pi

Who is the course for?

Educators from all backgrounds who are working with secondary school-aged learners. It will also be interesting to anyone who has spent time working with Scratch and wants to understand how programming concepts translate between different languages.

“It was great fun, and I thought that the ideas and resources would be great to use with Year 7 classes.”
Sue Grey, Classroom Teacher

What is covered?

After showing you the similarities and differences of Scratch and Python, and how the skills learned using one can be applied to the other, we will look at turning more complex Scratch scripts into Python programs. Through creating a Mad Libs game and developing a username generator, you will see how programs can be simplified in a text-based language. We will give you our top tips for debugging Python code, and you’ll have the chance to share your ideas for introducing more complex programs to your students.

Scratch to Python FutureLearn Raspberry Pi

After that, we will look at different data types in Python and write a script to calculate how old you are in dog years. Finally, you’ll dive deeper into the possibilities of Python by installing and using external Python libraries to perform some amazing tasks.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Transfer programming and thinking skills from Scratch to Python
  • Use fundamental Python programming skills
  • Identify errors in your Python code based on error messages, and debug your scripts
  • Produce tools to support students’ transition from block-based to text-based programming
  • Understand the power of text-based programming and what you can create with it

Where can I sign up?

The free four-week course starts on 12 March 2018, and you can sign up now on FutureLearn. While you’re there, be sure to check out our other free courses, such as Prepare to Run a Code Club, Teaching Physical Computing with a Raspberry Pi and Python, and our second new course Build a Makerspace for Young People — more information on it will follow in tomorrow’s blog post.

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Four days of STEAM at Bett 2018

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/bett-2018/

If you’re an educator from the UK, chances are you’ve heard of Bett. For everyone else: Bett stands for British Education Technology Tradeshow. It’s the El Dorado of edtech, where every street is adorned with interactive whiteboards, VR headsets, and new technologies for the classroom. Every year since 2014, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been going to the event hosted in the ExCeL London to chat to thousands of lovely educators about our free programmes and resources.

Raspberry Pi Bett 2018

On a mission

Our setup this year consisted of four pods (imagine tables on steroids) in the STEAM village, and the mission of our highly trained team of education agents was to establish a new world record for Highest number of teachers talked to in a four-day period. I’m only half-joking.

Bett 2018 Raspberry Pi

Educators with a mission

Meeting educators

The best thing about being at Bett is meeting the educators who use our free content and training materials. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the everyday tasks of the office without stopping to ask: “Hey, have we asked our users what they want recently?” Events like Bett help us to connect with our audience, creating some lovely moments for both sides. We had plenty of Hello World authors visit us, including Gary Stager, co-author of Invent to Learn, a must-read for any computing educator. More than 700 people signed up for a digital subscription, we had numerous lovely conversations about our content and about ideas for new articles, and we met many new authors expressing an interest in writing for us in the future.

BETT 2018 Hello World Raspberry Pi
BETT 2018 Hello World Raspberry Pi
BETT 2018 Hello World Raspberry Pi

We also talked to lots of Raspberry Pi Certified Educators who we’d trained in our free Picademy programme — new dates in Belfast and Dublin now! — and who are now doing exciting and innovative things in their local areas. For example, Chris Snowden came to tell us about the great digital making outreach work he has been doing with the Eureka! museum in Yorkshire.

Bett 2018 Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Certified Educator Chris Snowden

Digital making for kids

The other best thing about being at Bett is running workshops for young learners and seeing the delight on their faces when they accomplish something they believed to be impossible only five minutes ago. On the Saturday, we ran a massive Raspberry Jam/Code Club where over 250 children, parents, and curious onlookers got stuck into some of our computing activities. We were super happy to find out that we’d won the Bett Kids’ Choice Award for Best Hands-on Experience — a fantastic end to a busy four days. With Bett over for another year, our tired and happy ‘rebel alliance’ from across the Foundation still had the energy to pose for a group photo.

Bett 2018 Raspberry Pi

Celebrating our ‘Best Hands-on Experience’ award

More events

You can find out more about starting a Code Club here, and if you’re running a Jam, why not get involved with our global Raspberry Jam Big Birthday Weekend celebrations in March?

Raspberry Pi Big Birthday Weekend 2018. GIF with confetti and bopping JAM balloons

We’ll be at quite a few events in 2018, including the Big Bang Fair in March — do come and say hi.

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Could you write for Hello World magazine?

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/could-you-write-for-hello-world-magazine/

Thinking about New Year’s resolutions? Ditch the gym and tone up your author muscles instead, by writing an article for Hello World magazine. We’ll help you, you’ll expand your knowledge of a topic you care about, and you’ll be contributing something of real value to the computing education community.

Join our pool of Hello World writers in 2018

The computing and digital making magazine for educators

Hello World is our free computing magazine for educators, published in partnership with Computing At School and kindly supported by BT. We launched at the Bett Show in January 2017, and over the past twelve months, we’ve grown to a readership of 15000 subscribers. You can get your own free copy here.

Our work is sustained by wonderful educational content from around the world in every issue. We’re hugely grateful to our current pool of authors – keep it up, veterans of 2017! – and we want to provide opportunities for new voices in the community to join them. You might be a classroom teacher sharing your scheme of work, a volunteer reflecting on running an after-school club, an industry professional sharing your STEM expertise, or an academic providing insights into new research – we’d love contributions from all kinds of people in all sorts of roles.

Your article doesn’t have to be finished and complete: if you send us an outline, we will work with you to develop it into a full piece.

Like my desk, but tidier

Five reasons to write for Hello World

Here are five reasons why writing for Hello World is a great way to start 2018:

1. You’ll learn something new

Researching an article is one of the best ways to broaden your knowledge about something that interests you.

2. You’ll think more clearly

Notes in hand, you sit at your desk and wonder how to craft all this information into a coherent piece of writing. It’s a situation we’re all familiar with. Writing an article makes you examine and clarify what you really think about a subject.

Share your expertise and make more interesting projects along the way

3. You’ll make cool projects

Testing a project for a Hello World resource is a perfect opportunity to build something amazing that’s hitherto been locked away inside your brain.

4. You’ll be doing something that matters

Sharing your knowledge and experience in Hello World helps others to teach and learn computing. It helps bring the power of digital making to more and more educators and learners.

5. You’ll share with an open and supportive community

The computing education community is full of people who lend their experience to help colleagues. Contributing to Hello World is a great way to take an active part in this supportive community, and you’ll be adding to a body of free, open source learning resources that are available for everyone to use, adapt, and share. It’s also a tremendous platform to broadcast your work: the digital version alone of Hello World has been downloaded over 50000 times.

Yes! What do I do next?

Feeling inspired? Email our editorial team with your idea.

Issue 4 of Hello World is out this month! Subscribe for free today to have it delivered to your inbox or your home.

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Join our workshops and talks at Bett 2017

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/workshops-talks-bett-2017/

Next week brings another opportunity for educators to visit the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Bett 2017, the huge annual EdTech event in London. We’ll be at ExCeL London from 25-28 January, and we’ll be running more than 50 workshops and talks over the four days. Whether you’re a school teacher or a community educator, there’s something for you: visit our stand (G460) to discover ways to bring the power of digital making to your classroom and beyond.

BROWSE OUR TALK AND WORKSHOP TIMETABLE

Last year’s survivors photo

What’s on

A BIG announcement in the Bett Show Arena

Our CEO Philip Colligan will be launching an exciting new free initiative to support educators, live in the Bett Show Arena at 13:25 on Wednesday 25 January. Philip will be joined by a panel of educators who are leading the movement for classroom computing and digital making.

One of our younger community members, Yasmin Bey, delivering a workshop session

Raspberry Pi Stand (G460) – Free workshops, talks, demos, and panel discussions

Find us at our STEAM Village stand (G460) to take part in free physical computing and STEAM workshops, as well as talks led by Raspberry Pi Foundation staff, Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, and other expert community members. We have a huge range of workshops running for all levels of ability, which will give you the opportunity to get hands-on with digital making and gain experience of using the Raspberry Pi in a variety of different ways.

There is no booking system for our workshops. You just need to browse our Bett Show 2017 Workshop Timetable and then turn up before the session. If you miss a workshop and need help with something, don’t worry: the team will be hosting special drop-in sessions at the end of each day to answer all your questions.

Workshop participants will get the chance to grab some exclusive goodies, including a special Educator’s Edition of our MagPi magazineWe also have an awesome maker project for you to take away this year: your very own Raspberry Pi badge, featuring a glowing LED! We’ll supply all the materials: you just need to come and take part in some good old-fashioned digital making.

You can be the proud maker of this badge if you visit our stand

These fantastic free resources will help to get you started with digital making and Raspberry Pi, learn more about our goals as a charity, and give you the confidence to teach others about physical computing.

Our staff members will also be on hand to chat to you about any questions you have about our educational initiatives. Here’s a quick list to get the cogs turning:

  • Astro Pi: our initiative to enable schools across Europe to send code into space
  • Code Club: our programme for setting up extra-curricular computing clubs in schools and community spaces
  • Online training: our new web-based courses for educators on the FutureLearn platform
  • Picademy: our flagship face-to-face training for educators in the UK and USA
  • Pioneers: a new initiative that sets digital making challenges for teams of UK teenagers (twelve- to 15-year-olds)
  • Skycademy: our programme for starting a near-space programme in your school using high-altitude balloons

Talks will be held on the STEAM village stage (pictured) and on our stand throughout Bett

STEAM village sessions

In addition to running workshops and talks on our own stand, we are also holding some sessions on the STEAM village stand next to ours:

Time Day Presenter Title Location
13:25 – 13:55 Wednesday Olympia Brown, Senior Programme Manager, Raspberry Pi Foundation Pioneers: engaging teenagers in digital making, project-based learning, and STEAM STEAM Village Stage
12:30 – 13:00 Thursday Carrie Anne Philbin, Director of Education, Raspberry Pi Foundation A digital making curriculum: bridging the STEAM skills gap through creativity and project-based learning STEAM Village Stage
16:10 – 16:40 Friday Panel chaired by Dr Lucy Rogers, Author, Designer, Maker, and Robot Wars Judge! These ARE the droids we’re looking for: how the robotics revolution is inspiring a generation of STEAM makers STEAM Village Stage
11:20 – 11:50 Saturday Dave Honess, Astro Pi Programme Manager, Raspberry Pi Foundation Code in space: engaging students in computer science STEAM Village Stage

 Raspberry Jam and Code Club @ Bett

For the second year running, we are taking over the Technology in HE Summit Space on Saturday 28 January to run two awesome events:

  1. A Raspberry Jam from 10:00 to 12:50. Led by the wonderful Raspberry Pi community, Raspberry Jams are a way to share ideas, collaborate, and learn about digital making and computer science. They take place all over the world, including at the Bett Show! Come along, share your project in our show-and-tell, take part in our workshops, and get help with a project from experts and community members. It’s fun for all the family! Register your interest here.
  2. A Code Club primer session from 13:00 to 15:00. Our regional coordinator for London and the East of England is holding a workshop with a team of young people to show you how to start a Code Club in your school. Come and take part in the live demos and get help with starting your own club.

We’re looking forward to the opportunity to speak to so many different educators from across the world. It’s really important to us to spend time with all of you face-to-face: we want to hear about the great things you’re doing, answer your questions, and learn about the way you work and the challenges you face so we can improve the things we do. We really do value your feedback enormously, so please don’t hesitate for a moment to come over and ask questions, query something, or just say hi! And if you have questions you’d like to ask us ahead of Bett, just leave us a comment below.

See you next week!

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Our full 2017 schedule of UK Picademy events

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/our-full-2017-schedule-of-uk-picademy-events/

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

An educator gets to grips with our Camera Module

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who should apply?

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

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

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

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

A cohort of Picademy graduates in Manchester

How to apply

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

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New online training courses: your questions answered

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/new-online-training-courses-your-questions-answered/

Train with Raspberry Pi anywhere in the world

We recently created two free online CPD training courses that are available to anyone, anywhere in the world. The courses will run alongside our current live training offerings, Picademy and Skycademy, and are facilitated by FutureLearn, a leading platform for online educational training.

Our courses begin on 20 February 2017, but you can sign up for both of them right now. To anticipate some of the questions you might have about them, we’ve put together this handy set of FAQs.

If you want to sign up, go to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s page on FutureLearn.

Who can I speak to about online training?

Send us an email at [email protected] and one of the teacher training team at Raspberry Pi will get back to you.

What can I expect from the two courses that start in February 2017?

Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python: this four-week course will introduce you to physical computing, showing you how easy it is to create a system that responds to and controls the physical world, using computer programs running on the Raspberry Pi. You’ll apply your knowledge to a series of challenges, including controlling an LED with Python, using a button press to control a circuit, and making a game with buttons and LEDs. If you’re a teacher, you’ll also have the chance to develop ideas for using the Raspberry Pi and Python in your classroom, and to connect with a network of other educators.

Teaching Programming in Primary Schools: this four-week course will provide a comprehensive introduction to programming, and is designed for primary or K-5 teachers who are not subject specialists. Over four weeks, we’ll introduce you to key programming concepts. You’ll have the chance to apply your understanding of them through projects, both unplugged and on a computer, using Scratch as the programming language. Discover common mistakes and pitfalls, and develop strategies to fix them.

How long will the courses take?

Both courses are four weeks long. Each week has around two hours of content for learners to work through. It’s absolutely fine to take more time to reflect and learn at your own pace, though.

Do the courses cost anything?

No, the courses are completely free. If you want a printed certificate to prove that you have completed the course, this is available through FutureLearn for a small fee.

Do I need to be an educator to sign up?

Everyone is welcome to sign up for the courses, though they will be of particular relevance to educators.

Teaching Programming in Primary Schools is designed for non-subject-specialist primary or K-5 teachers. You don’t need any prior experience of programming to take part.

Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python is designed for anyone interested in physical computing. It will be of particular use to non-subject-specialist teachers, computing teachers, and design and technology teachers who are interested in using the Raspberry Pi and Python in their classroom.

I don’t know anything about digital making. Can I still sign up?

Yes! You don’t need any prior experience of programming or physical computing to take part.

Do I need any specific kit to take part?

To take part in Teaching Programming in Primary Schools, you’ll need a computer and access to Scratch.

To take part in Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python, you’ll need:

  • a Raspberry Pi (any of the models from the B+ through to Pi 3 will be fine)
  • a micro SD card (8GB minimum) with our Raspbian operating system installed
  • a monitor and HDMI cable (or VGA adaptor)
  • a USB keyboard and mouse
  • a 400-point breadboard
  • three LEDs
  • a button
  • a buzzer
  • some 47Ω resistors
  • jumper cables

You can purchase the last six items on the above list as a bundle in the CamJam Edukit 1.

What if I have questions about using a Raspberry Pi?

You can find answers to questions about getting started with Raspberry Pi on our help page.

Where do I find resources to use the Raspberry Pi in the classroom?

We provide a wide selection of free resources for teaching, learning, and making on our Resources pages.

How do I apply for Picademy, the Foundation’s face-to-face training programme?

Picademy is a two-day course that allows educators to experience what they can achieve 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 the second day, attendees have the opportunity to apply what they learned on the first day by developing their own project ideas, learning from each other and our experts.

You can find out more about our Picademy courses in this post.

A teacher attending Picademy laughs as she works through an activity

Raspberry Pi’s free training makes educators happy

We hope this has answered any questions you have, but remember you can always contact us at [email protected]. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now, and get ready to get learning!

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Announcing our new online training series

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/announcing-our-new-online-training-series/

At the end of this week, with our final Picademy of 2016 taking place in Texas, we will have trained over 540 educators in the US and the UK this year, something of which we’re immensely proud. Our free face-to-face training has proved hugely popular: on average, we receive three eligible applications for each available place! However, this model of delivery is not without its limitations: after seeing our Picademy attendees getting excited on Twitter, we often get questions like: “Why haven’t you run a Picademy near me yet? When are you coming to train us?”

Cartoon: an apparently clothes-less man sits at a desk with a keyboard, monitor and Raspberry Pi, on a tiny sandy island surrounded by blue sea. A stick figure wearing a Pi T-shirt waits under a palm tree beside him to be taught about computing using Raspberry Pi. A shark repeatedly circles their island.

We grew frustrated at having to tell people that we didn’t have plans to provide Picademy in their region in the foreseeable future, so we decided to find a way to reach educators around the world with a more accessible training format.

We’re delighted to announce a new way for people to learn about digital making from Raspberry Pi: two free online CPD training courses, available anywhere in the world. The courses will run alongside our face-to-face training offerings (Picademy, Skycademy, and Code Club Teacher Training), and are facilitated by FutureLearn, a leading platform for online educational training. This new free training supports our commitment to President Obama’s Computer Science For All initiative, and we’re particularly pleased to be able to announce it just as Computer Science Education Week is getting underway. Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect:

Course 1: Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python

In the foreground, a Raspberry Pi computer with a small "traffic lights" board attached; it has red, yellow and green LEDs, and the yellow one is lit. In the background, various electronics components, a mouse and a keyboard.

This four-week course will introduce you to physical computing, showing you how easy it is to create a system that responds to and controls the physical world, using computer programs running on the Raspberry Pi. You’ll apply your new-found knowledge to a series of challenges, including controlling an LED with Python, using a button press to control a circuit, and making a button and LED game.

If you’re a teacher, you’ll also have the chance to develop ideas for using Raspberry Pi and Python in your classroom, and to connect with a network of other educators.

Course 2: Teaching Programming in Primary Schools

A boy and a girl aged around 9-11 years sit at a desk in a classroom, focussed on the activity they are doing using laptops. From the girl's screen we can see that she is programming in Scratch. A man sits beside the boy, helping him with his work.

This four-week course will provide a comprehensive introduction to programming, and is designed for primary or K-5 teachers who are not subject specialists. Over four weeks, we’ll introduce you to key programming concepts. You’ll have the chance to apply your understanding of them through projects, both unplugged and on a computer, using Scratch as the programming language. Discover common mistakes and pitfalls, and develop strategies to fix them.

Registration opens today, with the courses themselves starting mid-February 2017. We hope they will inspire a new army of enthusiastic makers around the world!

Visit our online training page on FutureLearn.

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Skycademy 2016

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/skycademy-2016/

Over the next three days, we have 30 educators arriving at Pi Towers to learn how to build, launch, and track a High Altitude Balloon (HAB). For the uninitiated, Skycademy 2016 is our second CPD event which provides experience of launching balloons to educators, showing them how this can be used for an inspiring, project-based learning experience.

Skycademy_Header_v2

This is my first year preparing for Skycademy, and it has been a steep but worthwhile learning curve. Launching a HAB combines aspects of maths, physics, computing, design and technology, and geography, and the sheer scope of the project means that it’s rare for school-age children to get these types of experiences. It’s great news, then, that Raspberry Pi have the in-house skills, ambition, and commitment to run such things, and train others to run them too.

Skycademy runs over three days: on the first day, delegates form teams and take part in several workshops aimed at planning and building their flight. Day Two sees them launch, track, and recover their payload. Day Three has them regroup to reflect and plan for the year ahead. The support doesn’t end there: our Skycademy graduates go on to take part in a year-long project that will see them launch flights at their own schools and organisations, helped by their own students.

Tracking tomorrow’s launch

If you’re interested in watching the launch tomorrow, you can follow our progress by searching for #skycademy on Twitter. You can also use the links below to track the progress of different teams. Today, you will begin to see their payloads appearing on the map, and tomorrow you’ll be able to follow the chase.

 

Tracking Images
All teams rpf.io/flights rpf.io/flights/images
Alto rpf.io/alto rpf.io/alto/images
Cirrus rpf.io/cirrus rpf.io/cirrus/images
Cumulus rpf.io/cumulus rpf.io/cumulus/images
Nimbus rpf.io/nimbus rpf.io/nimbus/images
Stratus rpf.io/stratus rpf.io/stratus/images

 

Our current launch plan is to set the balloons free slightly to the west of Cambridge around 10am, but we’ll be posting updates to Twitter.

If you aren’t lucky enough to be taking part in Skycademy today, don’t worry: we’ll be making lots of resources available in the near future for anyone to access and run their own flights. Alternatively, you can also visit Dave Akerman’s website for lots of HAB information and guides to get you started.

Welcome to Dan Fisher’s ‘Fun with HABs’

I recently found out what lay in store for our latest crop of educators when I took part in a test launch two weeks ago…

We made our way to the launch site at Elsworth, Cambridgeshire, feeling nervous and excited. We arrived at 09.30, as experts Dave Akerman and Steve Randall were already starting to assemble their kit. The hope was that we might actually be able to break the world record for the highest amateur unmanned balloon flight. Dave and Steve are continually leapfrogging each other for this title.

IMG_0478

The payload Dave is making in the picture weighs about 250g and consists of a Raspberry Pi A+ connected to Pi-In-The-Sky (PITS) and LoRa boards. The lighter the payload, the higher the potential altitude. The boards broadcast packets of data back to earth, which can be decoded by our tracking equipment.

IMG_0554

Surprisingly, the payload’s chassis assembly is hardly high-tech: a polystyrene capsule gaffer-taped to some nylon cord and balsa wood, to which the balloon and parachute are attached. For this launch, Dave and Steve used hydrogen rather than helium, as it enables you to achieve higher altitudes. Having no previous experience working with pure hydrogen, I had visions of some kind of disaster happening.

Hindenberg

We weighed the payload to calculate how much hydrogen we would need to fill the balloon and ensure the correct ascent rate. Too much hydrogen means the balloon ascends too quickly and might burst early. Too little hydrogen results in a slow balloon which might not burst at all, and could float away and be lost.

IMG_8205

After Dave filled the balloon with hydrogen, we attached the real payload (lots more gaffer tape) and we were ready for a good ol’ launch ‘n’ track. However, as is often the case, it didn’t exactly go to plan…

Home, home on the range

Picture the scene: two Raspberry Pi staffers are driving off-road through a military firing range. Behind the wheel is Dave Akerman, grinning broadly.

“It’s so much more interesting when they don’t just land in a ditch,” he says, speeding the SUV over another pothole.

We’ve tracked our high altitude balloon for two hours to an area of land in Thetford Forest, Norfolk which is used for live ammo practice: not somewhere you’d want to go without permission. Access is looking unlikely until we get a call from the nearby army base’s ops team: we’re in. We make our way past the firing range and into the woods.

IMG_0564

After tracking as far as we can by car, we continue on foot until we spot the payload about ten metres up in a fir tree with very few branches. There’s no way of climbing up. Fortunately, Dave has come armed with the longest telescopic pole I’ve ever seen. It even has a hook on the business end for snagging the parachute’s cords. I act as a spotter as Dave manoeuvres the pole into position and tugs the payload free.

IMG_0568

Giddy with the unexpected success of our recovery, we head back to the SUV and make for the exit, only to find we’ve been locked in. Scenarios where we’ve unwittingly become contestants in the next Hunger Games cross my mind. Armed only with long plastic poles, I worry we might be early casualties.

IMG_0569

After feverish calls to the base again, they agree to come out and free us: a man in a MoD jacket dramatically smashes the lock with a hammer. We race back to Cambridge HQ, payload in hand and with a story to tell.

The Great Escape

Uploaded by David Akerman on 2016-07-26.

That’s it for now; look out for our post-Skycademy follow-up post soon!

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Apply for Skycademy 2016

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/apply-skycademy-2016/

Before humans took to the skies in metal tubes powered by jet engines, there was a gentler mode of transport that we used to conquer the skies: the humble balloon.

The Montgolfier brothers' first human-crewed balloon takes off at the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, on November 21, 1783

The Montgolfier brothers’ first human-crewed balloon takes off at the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, on November 21, 1783

After the success of last year’s launches, we are giving you another opportunity to blaze a trail across the sky and become a pioneer of aviation with the return of Skycademy, our High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) training programme.

Skycademy is a FREE, two-and-a-half day CPD event that provides experience of HABing to UK-based educators, demonstrating how it can be used as an engaging teaching tool. We’ll help you take ballooning to a whole new level (literally), where the hot air of Victorian era ballooning is replaced with space-age Helium to send your balloon soaring into the stratosphere at altitudes of up to 35 km. Fun fact: that’s around three times the cruising altitude of a Boeing 747!

IMG_20151009_090006446_HDR

Attached to the HAB is the payload consisting of a Pi-In-The-Sky GPS tracker board (developed by the wonderful Dave Akerman and Anthony Stirk), and a camera module, both controlled by a Raspberry Pi. You will use these elements to capture the balloon’s epic voyage and collect data to use back in your classroom.

Read more about last year’s adventures, mishaps, and balloons that were lost somewhere over the North Sea here.

vlcsnap-2015-09-03-08h25m55s123

See the earth from a whole new perspective.

At this point you might be thinking: “That sounds pretty cool, but I’m new to ballooning and nervous about launching into our airspace. Do we just get the kit and roll with it or do we get training?”

Enter Skycademy. Thirty lucky attendees will be guided through the steps to running a launch and, weather permitting, get hands-on experience of a real flight, so you’ll have all the experience you need before taking it back to the classroom. The event is free to attend and will be held from 8–10 August 2016. While the course is based in Cambridge, launch day will require you to travel to the launch site and then drive to recover your payload.

Training Itinerary

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.

Skycademy team

A team prepares their HAB for launch.

Sharing the fun

Attendees are supported throughout the course by experienced HAB enthusiasts and the Raspberry Pi Education Team. However, the 2.5 days of training is only the start of a longer process where educators are expected to run launches at their own schools. Skycademy attendees will therefore receive the support and equipment needed to achieve this as part of a twelve-month programme.  The ultimate aim is to get young people excited and inspired by the project, and about all the STEM skills around it. A great example of this came from a successful launch by Queen Margaret’s School for Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival 2015:

WOW Near Space Programme – WOW 2016

As part of WOW 2016, a girls school will use weather balloons to send a small payload into near space, at altitudes of around 30km, where atmospheric temperature drops to -50C. The satellite carries a Raspberry Pi computer transmitting images of the WOW hash tag and the curvature of our planet.

Launch Day Butterflies

Seeing your HAB ascend majestically into the sky is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Skycademy graduate Sue Gray knows this feeling all too well after she launched at Elsworth, Cambridgeshire in May 2016:

“It was quite scary letting it go! Once it was let loose, there was no turning back.  If anything had been forgotten, it would stay that way! The balloon and payload sailed off into the bright blue sky and grew smaller and smaller as it flew away. A fantastic sight indeed.

Then it was time to pack up the launch box, wish the other teams good luck and set off on the chase.  A quick phone call to Mr Verma confirmed that he was receiving the telemetry from the payload and could see it moving across the map.

We got to Bourne a little ahead of the payload but…something was wrong.  It seemed to be hanging in the air just to the east of Peterborough and we hadn’t received any telemetry for over twenty minutes.  We stopped to take stock (and grab some food and drinks), Mr Verma confirmed that he too was not seeing any movement although he’d seen the balloon change to a parachute on the tracker – indicating a burst!”

After tracking the payload to a general area and searching the surrounding farmland, the team had to give up the search. As luck would have it, someone continued searching on their behalf and tracked it down!

Sue on Twitter

FANHAB is found!! Our payload stopped completely but it was joined wiv Steve’s & his sprung into action again & he tracked it! @LegoJames

These are just some of the ups and downs you can expect from a launch. Sounds like fun right? Ready to get involved?

People we are looking for:

  • UK-based educators who want to run their own High Altitude project with young people should apply.
  • Community members who want to help or support the educator launches, please comment below.

APPLY FOR SKYCADEMY

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Picademy: New dates announced!

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/picademy-new-dates-announced/

Mad Fer It in Manchester

It’s been a while since we blogged on all things Picademy, so here’s a quick update…

For the uninitiated, Picademy is our free, two-day CPD event series for educators who want to use the Raspberry Pi for projects in the classroom. Over the past three months, we’ve been busy delivering four events in Manchester, creating over a hundred new Raspberry Pi Certified Educators in the process. The whole team was blown away by the passion of the people who attended. In fact, such was the rabid enthusiasm for Raspberry Pi in the area that we added two extra dates in April to cope with the demand – good job, Manchester!

A recent Picademy Manchester cohort.

A recent Picademy Manchester cohort

Picademy uses project-based learning to underpin its workshops, so that delegates can immediately see how the projects can be used in a classroom setting. This way of learning might be a little bit daunting for those who haven’t been in the classroom as a student for while, so we love it when people who might initially lack confidence using the Pi undergo a transformation and embrace the role reversal of teacher becoming student.

A willingness to embrace new ideas, being open to failure, and allowing yourself to make mistakes on the road to success are important messages to take away and think about from each event. One recent Picademy Manchester graduate has written a great blog post reflecting on her experiences at Picademy, and another praised the support she received:

“Thank you so much for a brilliant two days in Manchester. It’s one of the most supportive and inspiring events I have ever attended.”
Carol Macintosh, Picademy delegate

The Pi on the Tyne is all mine

With Picademy Manchester finishing in April, we can announce that our next location will be in Newcastle at Newcastle City Library, where we will be holding events in the spring and early summer.

To find out more and make an application, visit our Picademy Newcastle page.

Our condensed version of the Newcastle skyline

Our condensed version of the Newcastle skyline in all its glory

Code Club Teacher Training

If you want something more compact to fit into your busy schedule, Code Club Teacher Training will also be running in Newcastle alongside Picademy events. The training is only two hours long and provides teachers with practical activities and engaging resources to develop young people’s understanding. The sessions are delivered in school, as INSET or twilight sessions, and are mapped against the new computing curriculum. We offer three modules: Computational Thinking, Programming, and Internet and the Web.

Request a Teacher Training session in your school: www.codeclubpro.org/request_training

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