In 2016, Code Club Australia launched the Moonhack online coding event and broke the world record for the most children coding in one day. Then in 2017 they broke the record again. By now, more than 150,000 young learners from 70 countries have participated in Moonhack.
Moonhack is an online coding challenge for young learners and celebrates humans’ technological achievements. The 2022 event takes place from 10 to 23 October to coincide with World Space Week, and it features six brand-new projects that show how satellites can help us live more sustainably. We caught up with Kaye North, Community and Engagement Manager at Code Club Australia, to find out more.
What will this year’s Moonhack bring?
Kaye developed this year’s projects across Scratch, micro:bit, and Python to cater for learners with all levels of coding experience. One project was designed in collaboration with astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker from the Australian National University. Another project highlights that objects in the sky have been meaningful for humans since way before the advent of modern satellites. Kaye developed this project together with a community in the Torres Strait.
“The Torres Strait is a unique part of Australia off the tip of Queensland,” Kaye told us. “It’s this amazing group of islands. As a teacher I taught there for three years and learned a lot about the community’s culture.” When a colleague suggested a project about Tagai — a constellation central to Torres Strait Islander culture — Kaye jumped at the chance to work with the island community again.
Kaye initially intended to work with a Torres Strait elder, “but that really snowballed. I had two days at a Tagai school, where the cultural teacher shared his story about the Tagai constellation. I worked with a Year 6 class, coding and putting ideas together, creating this one amazing project. And as we were pulling it together, one of the girls said ‘We need to put our language into it, we should be able to speak in it.’ And that’s where the idea of having the kids’ voices in the project came from.”
What will young learners gain from taking part in Moonhack?
Moonhack 2021 had over 25,000 participants, and Kaye wants to share the Tagai project with as many people in 2022. When we asked her what else she hopes young people take away from Moonhack this year, she said:
“I hope that people really get the connection to satellites in space and how these are going to influence us fulfilling the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. I really hope that comes through. Big picture though? That the kids have fun.”
Moonhack 2022 runs from 10 to 23 October and is free and open to any young coder, whether they are part of a Code Club or not. The projects are already available in English, French, Dutch, and Greek. Arabic and Latin American Spanish versions are in preparation.
The summer months are an exciting time at the Foundation: you can feel the buzz of activity as we prepare for the start of a new school year in many parts of the world. Across our range of fantastic (and free) programmes, everyone works hard to create new and improved resources that help teachers and students worldwide.
We’ve asked some of our programme leads to tell you what’s new in their respective areas. We hope that you’ll come away with a good idea of the breadth and depth of teacher support that’s on offer. Is there something we aren’t doing yet that we should be? Tell us in the comments below.
Sway Grantham has been at the forefront of writing resources for our Teach Computing Curriculum over the last three years. The Curriculum is part of the wider National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) and provides hundreds of free classroom resources for teachers, from Key Stage 1 to 4. Each resource includes lesson plans, slides, activity sheets, homework, and assessments. Since we published the Curriculum in 2020, all lessons have been reviewed and updated at least once. Managing the process of continuously improving these resources is a key part of Sway’s work.
Hi Sway, what updates have you been making to the Teach Computing Curriculum to help teachers this year?
We make changes to the Teach Computing Curriculum all the time! However, specific things we are excited about ahead of the new school year are updates to how our content is presented on the website so that it’s really easy to see which unit you should be teaching in each half term. We’ve also renamed some of the units to make it clearer what they cover. And to help Key Stage 3 teachers launch Computing in secondary school with skills that are foundational for progress through the requirements of the Key Stage 3 curriculum, we’ve updated the first Year 7 unit, now called Clear messaging in digital media.
You recently asked for teachers’ feedback as part of an annual impact survey. What did you find out?
We are still in the process of looking through the feedback in detail, but I can share some high-level insights. 96% of teachers who responded to the survey gave a score between 7 and 10 for recommending that other teachers use the Teach Computing Curriculum. Over 80% reported that the Teach Computing Curriculum has improved their confidence, subject knowledge, and the quality of their teaching ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’. Finally, over 90% of respondents said the Curriculum is effective at supporting teachers, developing teachers’ subject knowledge, and saving teachers’ time.
We are grateful to the 907 people who took part in the survey! You have all helped us to ensure the Curriculum has a positive impact on teachers and learners throughout England and beyond.
James, why is it so important for teachers to underpin their classroom practice with best-practice pedagogical approaches?
In order to teach any area of the curriculum effectively, educators need to understand both the content they are teaching and the most effective ways to deliver that content. Computing is a broad discipline made up of lots of inter-connected knowledge. Different areas of the subject benefit from different approaches, and this may vary depending on the experience of the learners and the context within which they are learning. Understanding which approaches are best suited to different content helps educators support learners effectively.
Computing education research related to school-aged learners is still in its early stages compared to other subjects, and new approaches and pedagogies are being developed, tested, and evaluated. Staying aware of these developments is important for educators and that’s why it’s something the Foundation is dedicated to supporting.
What do you have in store for teachers this year?
This year we continue to share best practice and hear from educators applying new ideas in their classroom through Hello World magazine and podcast. Educators should also keep a look out for our second Hello World special edition exploring the breadth and depth of Computing. To get hold of a copy of this later this year, make sure you’re subscribed to Hello World.
Allen, what has gone into the making of these new GCSE resources?
I think one of the biggest and most important things that’s been evident to me while working on this project is the care and thought that our content creators have put into each and every piece they worked on. To the end user it will simply be material on a web page, but sitting behind each page are countless discussions involving the whole team around how to present certain facts, concepts, or processes. Sometimes these discussions have even caused us to reevaluate our own thinking around how we deliver computer science content. We have debated the smallest things such as glossary terms, questioning every word to make sure we are as clear and concise as possible. Hopefully the care, expertise, and dedication of the team shines through in what really is a fantastic source of information for teachers and learners.
What do you have in store for teachers and learners this year?
With 96% of teachers and 88% of students reporting that the content is of high quality and easily accessible, we still need to continue to support them to ultimately enable learners to achieve their potential. Looking ahead, there is still lots of work to do to make sure Isaac offers the best possible user experience. And we plan to add a lot more questions to really bolster the numbers of questions at varying levels of difficulty for learners. This will have the added benefit of being useful for any teachers wanting to up-skill too! A massive strength of the platform is its questions, and we are really keen to give as wide a range of them as possible.
Tamasin Greenough Graham leads the team at Code Club, our global network of free, in-school coding clubs for young people aged 9 to 13. In Code Clubs, participants learn to code while having fun getting creative with their new skills. Clubs can be run by anyone who wants to help young people explore digital technologies — you don’t need coding experience at all. The Code Club team offers everything you need, including coding projects with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, and lots of resources to help you support your club members. They are also on hand to answer your questions.
Tamasin, what kind of support can teachers expect when they decide to set up a Code Club?
Running a Code Club really is simple and a lot of fun! We have free training to suit everyone, including webinars that guide you through getting started, a self-study online course you can take to prepare for running your Code Club, and drop-in online Q&A sessions where you can chat about your questions to our friendly team or to other educators who run clubs.
Once you have registered your Code Club, you’ll get access to an online dashboard packed with useful resources: from guidance on preparing and delivering your first session, to certificates to celebrate your club members’ successes, and unplugged activities for learners to do away from the screen.
What experience do you need to run a Code Club?
You don’t need to have any coding experience to run a club, as we provide a giant range of fun coding projects and support materials that can be easily followed by educators and young people alike. You just need to support and encourage your young coders, and you can get in touch with the Code Club team if you need any help!
The project paths we offer provide a framework for young coders to develop their skills, whatever their starting point is. Each path starts with three Explore projects, where coders learn new coding concepts and skills. The next two Design projects in the path help them practise these skills through creating fun games, animations, or websites. The final Invent project of the path gives a design brief, and based on this learners have the space to use their new skills and their creativity to code something based on their own ideas.
Our project paths start with the basics of Scratch, and work through to creating websites in HTML and CSS, and to text-based coding in Python. For more advanced or adventurous coders, we also offer project paths to make physical projects with Raspberry Pi Pico, create 3D models in Blender, or even build 3D worlds in Unity.
Why is it important to teach coding to primary-aged children?
Lots of primary-aged children use digital technology every day, whether that be a TV, a phone, playing video games, or a computer at school. But they don’t have to be just consumers of technology. Through learning to code, young people become able to create their own technology, and our projects are designed to help them see how these new skills allow them to express themselves and solve problems that matter to them.
What young people do with their new skills is up to them – that’s the exciting part! Computing skills open paths to a wide range of projects and work where digital skills are helpful. And while learning coding is fun and useful, it also helps learners develop a many other important skills to do with problem solving, teamwork, and creativity.
Martin O’Hanlon heads the team that produces our free online courses programme. If you’re looking for continued professional development in computer science, look no further than to our more than 35 courses. (For teachers in England, a large number of the courses count towards the NCCE’s Primary, Secondary, or GCSE certificates.) Curated in 13 curated learning pathways, all of our courses provide high-quality training that you can take at home, at a time that suits you.
Martin, what can learners expect from taking one of our online courses?
Our online computing courses are free and have something for everyone who is interested in computing. We offer pathways for learning to program in Python or Scratch, teaching computing in the classroom, getting started with physical computing, and many more.
We vary the materials and formats used in our courses, including videos, written articles, quizzes, and discussions to help learners get the most out of the experience. You will find a lot of practical activities and opportunities to practice what you learn. There are loads of opportunities to interact with and learn from others who are doing the course at the same time as you. And educators from the Raspberry Pi Foundation join the courses during facilitation periods to give their advice, support, and encouragement.
What is the idea behind the course pathways?
We have a large catalogue of online training courses, and the pathways give learners a starting point. They group the courses into useful collections, offering a recommended path for everyone, whether that’s people who are brand-new to computing or who have identified a gap in their existing computing skills or knowledge.
Our aim is that these pathways help people find the right course at the right point in their computing journey.
One more thing…
We’re also very excited to work on new research projects this school year, to help deepen the computing education community’s understanding of how to teach the subject in schools. Are you a primary teacher in England who is interested in making computing culturally relevant for your pupils?
Since joining the Raspberry Pi Foundation as a Code Club Community Manager for Scotland earlier this year, I have seen first-hand the passion, dedication, and commitment of the Scottish community to support the digital, personal, and social skills of young people.
Code Club launched in schools in 2012 to give opportunities to children to share and develop their love of coding through free after-school clubs. Now we have clubs across the world connecting learners in having fun with digital technologies.
Meeting Scotland’s inspiring Code Club community
One of my first visits was to St. Mark’s Primary School in East Renfrewshire, where I met an amazing Code Club leader called Ashley Guy. Ashley only got involved in Code Club this year, but has already launched three clubs at her school!
I went to visit her Primary 2 and 3’s club, where the children were working on creating animations in Scratch to celebrate Code Club’s tenth birthday. It was a real joy to see the young children so engaged with our projects. The young coders worked both independently and together to create their own animations.
One of the girls I spoke to made a small error while coding her project, but she smiled and said, “I made a mistake, but that’s okay because that’s how we learn!” She showed just the kind of positive, problem-solving mindset that Code Club helps to cultivate.
Another school doing something incredible at their Code Club, led by Primary 7 teacher Fiona Lindsay, is Hillside School in Aberdeenshire. I love seeing the fun things they get up to, including celebrating Code Club’s 10th birthday in style with an impressive Code Club cake.
Fiona and her club are using the Code Club projects and resources to create their own exciting and challenging games. They’ve taken part in several of our online codealongs, and they also held an event at the school to showcase their great work — which even got the children’s parents coding!
Some of the young people who attend Code Club at Hillside School sent us videos about their experiences, why they come to Code Club, and what it means to them. Young coder Abisola describes Code Club in one word:
Young coder Crystal said, “We can experiment with what we know and make actual projects… At Code Club we learn about new blocks in Scratch and what blocks and patterns go together to make something.” Here is Crystal sharing her favourite part of Code Club:
Obuma also attends the Code Club at Hillside School. She shared what she gains from attending the sessions and why she thinks other young people should join a Code Club too:
“At Code Club we improve our teamwork skills, because there’s a lot of people in Code Club and most of the time you work together to create different things… Join [Code Club] 100%. It is so fun. It might not be something everyone would want to try, but if you did try it, then you would enjoy it.”
Obuma, young coder at Hillside School’s Code Club
Coding with the community
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most as part of the Code Club team has been running an UK-wide online codealong to celebrate STEM Clubs Week. The theme was outer space, so our ‘Lost in space’ project in Scratch was the ideal fit.
During this practical coding session, classes across Scotland, England, and Wales had great fun coding the project together to animate rockets that move around space. We were thrilled by the feedback from teachers.
“The children really enjoyed the session. They are very proud of their animations and some children went on to extend their programs. All [the] children said they would love to do more codealongs!”
Teacher who took part in an online Code Club codealong
Thank you to everyone who got involved in the codealong. See you again at the next one.
What Scotland — and everyone in the community — can look forward to in the new term
To help you start your Code Club year with ease and fun, we will be launching new free resources for you and your club members. There’ll be a special pack filled with step-by-step instructions and engaging activities to kickstart your first session back, and a fun sticker chart to help young coders mark their progress.
We would love to see you at our practical and interactive online workshop ‘Ten reasons why coding is fun for everyone’ on Thursday 15 September at 16:00–17:00 BST, which will get you ready for National Coding Week (19–23 September). Come along to the workshop to get useful guidance and tips on how to engage everyone with coding.
We will also be holding lots of other exciting activities and sessions throughout the upcoming school term, including for World Space Week (4–10 October), the Moonhack coding challenge in October, and World Hello Day in November. So keep an eye on our Twitter @CodeClubUK for live updates.
Whether you’re interested in learning more about Code Club in Scotland, you have a specific question, or you just want to say hi, I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me at [email protected], or @CodeClubSco on Twitter. I’ll also be attending the Scottish Education Expo on 21 and 22 September along with other Code Club team members, so come along and say hello.
Get involved in Code Club today
With the new school term approaching, now is a great time to register and start a Code Club at your school. You can find out more on our website, codeclub.org, or contact us directly at [email protected]
You may have heard a lot about coding and how important it is for children to start learning about coding as early as possible. Computers have become part of our lives, and we’re not just talking about the laptop or desktop computer you might have in your home or on your desk at work. Your phone, your microwave, and your car are all controlled by computers, and those computers need instructions to tell them what to do. Coding, or computer programming, involves writing those instructions.
If children discover a love for coding, they will have an avenue to make the things they want to make; to write programs and build projects that they find useful, fun, or interesting. So how do you give your child the opportunity to learn about coding? We’ve listed some free resources and suggested activities below.
If you have a young child under about 7 years of age, then a great place to begin is with ScratchJr. This is an app available on Android and iOS phones and tablets, that lets children learn the basics of programming, without having to worry about making mistakes.
Code Club World
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has developed a series of activities for young learners, on their journey to developing their computing skills. Code Club World provides a platform for children to play with code to design their own avatar, make it dance, and play music. Plus they can share their creations with other learners.
“You could have a go too and discover Scratch together. The platform is designed for complete beginners and it is great fun to play with.”
Carol Thornhill, Engineering Science MA, Mathematics teacher
For 7- to 11-year-old children, Scratch is a good way to begin their journey in coding, or to progress from ScratchJr. Like ScratchJr, Scratch is a block-based language, allowing children to assemble code to produce games, animations, stories, or even use some of the add-ons to interact with electronic devices and explore physical computing.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has hundreds of Scratch projects that your child can try out, but the best place to begin is with our Introduction to Scratch path, which will provide your child with the basic skills they need, and then encourage them to build projects that are relevant to them, culminating in their creation of their own interactive ebook.
Your child may never tire of Scratch, and that is absolutely fine — it is a fully functioning programming language that is surprisingly powerful, when you learn to understand everything it can do. Another advantage of Scratch is that it provides easy access to graphics, sounds, and interactivity that can be trickier to achieve in other programming languages.
Our Python resources cover the basics of using the language, and then progress from there. Python is one of the most widely used languages when it comes to the fields of artificial intelligence and data science, and we have resources to support your child in learning about these fascinating aspects of technology. Our projects can even introduce your child to the world of electronics and physical computing with activities that use the inexpensive Raspberry Pi Pico, and a handful of electronic components, enabling your kids to create a wide variety of art installations and useful gadgets.
“Trying Python doesn’t mean you can’t go back to Scratch or switch between Scratch and Python for different purposes. I still use Scratch for some projects myself!”
Tracy Gardner, Computer Science PhD, former IBM Software Architect and currently a project writer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation
“Our new project paths can be tackled by young creators on their own, without adult intervention. Paths are structured so that they build skills and confidence in the early stages, and then provide more open-ended tasks and inspirational ideas that creators can adapt or work from.”
Rik Cross, BSc (Hons), PGCE, former teacher and Director of Informal Learning at the Raspberry Pi Foundation
The Web is integral to many of our lives, and we believe that it is important for children to have an understanding of the technology that drives it. That is why we have an Introduction to the Web path that allows children to develop their own web pages, focusing on the kinds of webpages that they want to build, be that sending a greeting card, telling a story, or creating a showcase of their projects.
Coding clubs are a great place for children to have fun and become more confident with coding, where they can learn through making and share their creations with each other. The Raspberry Pi Foundation operates the world’s largest network of coding clubs — CoderDojo and Code Club.
“I have a new group of creators at my Code Club every year and my favourite part is when they realise they really can let their imagination run wild. You want to make an animation where a talking pineapple chases a snowman — absolutely. You want to make a piece of scalable art out of 1000 pixelated cartoon musical instruments — go right ahead. If you can code it, you can make it ”
Liz Smart, Code Club and CoderDojo mentor, former Solutions Architect and project writer for the Raspberry Pi Foundation
Once your child has learnt some of the basics, they may enjoy entering a coding challenge! The European Astro Pi Challenge programme allows young people to write code and actually have it run on the International Space Station, and Coolest Projects gives children a chance to showcase their projects from across the globe.
No matter what technology your child wants to engage with, there is a wealth of free resources and materials available from organisations such as the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Scratch Foundation, that prepare young people for 21st century life. Whether they want to become professional software engineers, tinker with some electronics, or just have a play around … encourage them to explore some coding projects, and see what they can learn, make, and do!
Author: Marc Scott, BSc (Hons) is a former Science, Computer Science, and Engineering teacher and the Content Lead for Projects at the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
It’s wonderful hearing from people in the community about what learning and teaching digital making means to them and how it impacts their lives. So far, our community stories series has involved young creators, teachers, and mentors from the UK and US, India, Romania, and Ireland, who are all dedicated to making positive change in their corner of the world through getting creative with technology.
For our next story, we travel to a tiny school in North Yorkshire in the UK to meet teacher Sophie Hudson, who’s been running a Code Club since February 2021.
Introducing Sophie and Linton-on-Ouse Primary School
A teacher for 10 years, Sophie is always looking for new opportunities and ideas to inspire and encourage her learners. The school where she teaches, Linton-on-Ouse Primary School & Nursery in rural Yorkshire, is very small. With only five teachers supporting the children, any new activity has to be meticulously planned and scheduled. Sophie was also slightly nervous about setting up a Code Club because she doesn’t have a computer science background, sharing that “there’s always one subject that you feel less confident in.”
Sophie started the Code Club off small, with only a few learners. But then she grew it quickly, and now half of the learners in Key Stage 2 attend, and the club sessions have become a regular fixture in the school week.
“Once I did have a look at it [Code Club], it really wasn’t as scary as I thought. […] It has had a really positive influence on our school.”
Sophie Hudson, primary school teacher
Thanks to our free Code Club project guides and coding challenges like Astro Pi Mission Zero, Sophie’s Code Club has plenty of activities and resources for the children to learn to code with confidence — while having fun too. Sophie says: “I like the idea that the children can be imaginative: it’s play, but it’s learning at the same time. They might not even realise it.”
Visiting the Code Club at Linton-on-Ouse Primary School was a joyful experience. The children listened intently as Sophie kicked off the lunchtime club session. As they started to code, there were giggles and gasps throughout, and the classroom filled with sounds and intermittent squeaks from the ‘Stress ball’ project. It was clear how much enjoyment the learners felt, and how engaged everyone was with their coding projects. Learner Erin told us she likes Code Club because she can “have a little fun with it”. Learners Maise and Millie enjoy it because “it makes you worry less about getting stuff wrong, because you always know there’s a back-up plan.”
“It’s amazing. Anything is possible.”
Millie (10), learner at Sophie’s Code Club
Attending Code Club had a profound impact on a 9-year-old learner called Archie, who shares that his confidence has improved since taking part in the sessions: “I would never, ever think of doing things that I do now in Code Club,” he says. His mum Jenni has also seen a difference in Archie since he joined Code Club, with his confidence improving generally at school.
The positive impact that Sophie has on Linton-on-Ouse Primary School & Nursery is undeniable, not only by running Code Club as an extracurricular activity but also by joint-leading science and leading PE, computing, and metacognition. Head teacher Davinia Pearson says, “How could you not be influenced by someone who’s just out there looking for the best for their class and children, and making a difference?”
Help us celebrate Sophie and her Code Club at Linton-on-Ouse Primary School & Nursery by sharing their story on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Since the inception of Code Club in 2012, teachers in Wales have been part of the Code Club community, running extracurricular Code Club sessions for learners in their schools. As of late 2021, there are 84 active clubs in Wales. With our new Code Club Community Coordinator for Wales, Sarah Eve Roberts, on board, we are thrilled to be able to offer more dedicated support to the community in Wales.
Support and engagement for Welsh Code Clubs
Sarah introduced herself to the Welsh education community by running a Code Club training workshop for teachers. Educators from 32 Welsh schools joined her to learn how to start their own Code Club and then tried one of the free coding projects we provide for club sessions for themselves.
The Welsh Code Club network had a chance to meet Sarah at a country-wide online codealong on 11 March, just in time to kick off British Science Week 2022. In this one-hour codealong event, we took beginner coders through the first project of our new ‘Introduction to Scratch’ pathway, Space Talk. Space Talk is a fantastic project for Code Clubs: it provides beginners with a simple introduction to coding in Scratch, and also gives plenty of opportunity for more experienced learners to get creative and make the project their own.
The codealong was fantastically popular, with 90 teachers and 2900 learners from 59 schools participating. Several of the schools shared their excitement with us on Twitter, posting pictures and videos of their Space Talk projects.
Tamasin Greenough Graham, Head of Code Club, says: “It was wonderful to see so many children and teachers from Wales coding with us. I really loved the creativity they showed in all their projects!”
Welsh translations of Code Club learning materials
Although the codealong took place in English, Space Talk and the whole ‘Introduction to Scratch’ pathway are available in the Welsh language. The pathway includes a total of six projects, bringing the total number of Welsh-language coding projects we offer to 37. It’s really important to us to offer our learning materials in Welsh, especially because we know it helps young people engage with our free coding activities.
Two of these translators, Marcus and Julia Davage, are based in Wales. They help to make our projects accessible to Welsh-speaking learners. Marcus and Julia have been part of the community for 6 years, volunteering at Code Club and running their own club:
“I started volunteering for Code Club in 2016 when my daughter was in a Welsh-medium primary school and her teacher had started a Code Club. This lasted until 2019. Last year I started my own Code Club at the Welsh-medium primary school at which my wife Julia teaches. Since helping out, she has taught Scratch in her own lessons!”
– Marcus Davage, Code Club volunteer & Welsh translation volunteer
Marcus and Julia have translated numerous learning resources and communications for our Welsh community. Marcus describes the experience of translating:
“I noticed that several of the projects hadn’t been completely translated into Welsh, so when my company, BMC Software, promoted a Volunteering Day for all of its staff, I jumped at the opportunity to spend the whole day finishing off many of the missing translations! I must admit, I did laugh at a few terms, like ’emoji’ (which has no official translation), ’emoticon’ (‘gwenoglun’ or ‘smiley face’), and ‘wearable tech’ (‘technoleg gwisgadwy’).”
– Marcus Davage, Code Club volunteer & Welsh translation volunteer
We’re thankful to Marcus and Julia and to all the teachers and volunteers in Wales who bring coding skills to the young people in their schools.
Get involved in Code Club, in Wales or elsewhere
Keen readers may have noticed that this year marks the tenth anniversary of Code Club! We have lots of celebrations planned for the worldwide community of volunteers and learners, in long-running clubs as well as in brand-new ones.
So now is an especially great time to get involved by starting a Code Club at your school, or by signing up to volunteer at an up-and-running club. Find out more at codeclub.org.
And if you’re interested in learning more about Code Club in Wales, email us at [email protected] so Sarah can get in touch.
This month, the team behind our Code Club programme supported nearly 6000 children across Scotland to “code against climate change” during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.
“The scale of what we have achieved is outstanding. We have supported over 5750 young learners to code projects that are both engaging and meaningful to their conversations on climate.”
Louise Foreman, Education Scotland (Digital Skills team)
Creative coding to raise awareness of environmental issues
“This type of event at this scale would not have been possible before the pandemic. Now joining and learning through live online events is quite normal, thanks to platforms like e-Sgoil’s DYW Live. That said, the success of these code-alongs has been above even our wildest imaginations.”
Peter Murray, Education Scotland (Developing the Young Workforce team)
At our first session, for beginners, the coding newcomers explored the importance of pollinating insects for the environment. They first learned that a third of the food we eat depends on pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and that these insects are endangered by environmental crises.
Then the young coders celebrated pollinating insects by coding a garden scene filled with butterflies, based on our popular Butterfly garden project guide. This Scratch project introduces beginner coders to loops while they code their animations, and it allows them to get creative and customise the look of their projects. Above are still images of two example animations coded by the young learners.
The second Code Club code-along event was designed for more confident coders. First, learners were asked to consider the impact of plastic in our oceans and reflect on the recent news that around 26,000 tonnes of coronavirus-related plastic waste (such as masks and gloves) has already entered our oceans. To share this message, they then coded a game based on our Save the shark Scratch project guide. In this game, players help a shark swim through the ocean trying to avoid plastic waste, which is dangerous to its health.
Supporting young people’s future together
These two Scotland-wide code-along events for schools were made possible by the long-standing collaboration between Education Scotland and our Code Club team. Over the last five years, our shared mission to grow interest for coding and computer science among children across Scotland has helped Scottish teachers start hundreds of Code Clubs.
“The code-alongs were the perfect celebration of all the brilliant work we have done together over the years. What better way to demonstrate the importance of computing science to young people than to show them that not only can they use those skills on something important like climate change, but they are also in great company with thousands of other children across Scotland. I am excited about the future.”
Join thousands of teachers around the world who run Code Clubs
We also want to give kudos to the teachers of the 235 schools who helped their learners participate in this Code Club code-along. Thanks to your skills in supporting your learners to participate in online sessions — skills hard-won during school closures — over 5000 young people have been inspired about coding and protecting the planet we all share.
Teachers around the world run Code Clubs for their learners, with the help of our free Code Club resources and support. Find out more about starting a Code Club at your school at www.codeclub.org.
Today we are launching an exciting series of impact stories from the community, to shine a spotlight on some of the young people who are learning and creating with technology through our educational initiatives.
These stories get to the heart of our mission: to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world.
Designed in close collaboration with families across the world, our new series of short inspirational films showcases some of the wonderful things that young people are empowered to do when they learn to use technology to address the issues that matter to them.
We are incredibly proud to be a part of these young people’s journeys — and to see the positive impact of engaging with our free programmes, coding clubs, and resources. We can’t wait to share their unique experiences and achievements with you as we roll out the series over the next few months.
And we invite you to celebrate these young people by liking and sharing their stories on social media!
Meet Zaahra and Eesa
The first story takes you to a place not far from our home: London, UK.
Zaahra (12) and Eesa (8) are a sister and brother coding team and live in East London. For the last four years they’ve been learning about computing and digital making by attending regular sessions at their local Code Club. Zaahra and Eesa love working as a team and using technology to solve problems around them. When they found it difficult to communicate with their grandparents in their first language, Sylheti, the siblings decided to code a language learning app called ‘Easy Sylheti’. Eesa says, “We wanted to create something that was helpful to us, but also to our family and the community.”
“I’ve discovered that I’m capable of a lot more than I thought.”
Describing the effect of learning to create with technology and seeing the success of their app, Zaahra declares, “I’ve discovered that I’m capable of a lot more than I thought.” And she’s using her new-found confidence to continue helping her community: Zaahra has recently taken up a role as youth member on the Newham Youth Empowerment Fund Panel.
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Aardman has created so many characters that the members of Raspberry Pi hold dear in our hearts. From the early days of Morph’s interactions with Tony Hart, or Christmas evenings sat watching the adventures of Wallace and Gromit, through to their grand cinema-screen epics, we all have a soft spot for the wonderful creatures this talented bunch have invented.
So when Aardman approached us to ask if we’d like to be the Educational Partner for their new film A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, we obviously jumped at the chance. Aardman are passionate about education, and we are too, so this really was a no-brainer.
Shaun the Sheep: Mission to Space
Today we are launching the brand-new, global Code Club competition ‘Shaun the Sheep: Mission to Space’.
We’re asking young people in registered Code Clubs across the world to create awe-inspiring animations featuring Shaun the Sheep and his new friend Lu-La’s adventures, by following our specially themed ‘Shaun the Sheep: Mission to Space’ Scratch project guide!
For those of you who aren’t in a Code Club, we’re also running a second giveaway here on the Raspberry Pi blog. For your chance to enter, you need to find three characters from the film that we’ve hidden throughout the Raspberry Pi and Code Club websites. Once you’ve found three, fill in this form, and we’ll pick ten winners to receive some A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon goodies, including stickers and a pair of Shaun the Sheep ears.
Please note: at least one of the characters you submit must be from the Code Club website, so get hunting!
The closing date for the character hunt is 4 October 2019.
Both competitions are open to everyone, no matter where in the world you are.
We’ll also be uploading the ‘Shaun the Sheep: Mission to Space’ Scratch project to the Raspberry Pi desktops at the Raspberry Pi Store, Cambridge, so make sure you stop by this coming half-term to try your hand at coding your own Shaun the Sheep adventure.
Yolanda Payne is a veteran teacher and Raspberry Pi Certified Educator. After discovering a love for computers at an early age (through RadioShack Tandy), Yolanda pursued degrees in Instructional/Educational Technology at Mississippi State University, the University of Florida, and the University of Georgia. She has worked as an instructional designer, webmaster, and teacher, and she loves integrating technology into her lessons. Here’s Yolanda’s story:
My journey to becoming a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator started when an esteemed mentor, Juan Valentin, tweeted about the awesome experience he had while attending Picademy. Having never heard of Picademy or the Raspberry Pi, I decided to check out the website and instantly became intrigued. I applied for a Raspberry Pi STEM kit from the Civil Air Patrol and received a Raspberry Pi and a ton of accessories. My curiosity would not be satisfied until I learned just what I could do with the box of goodies. So I decided to apply to Picademy and was offered a spot after being waitlisted. Thus my obsession with the possibilities of the Raspberry Pi began.
Code Club allows me to provide a variety of lessons, tailored to my students’ interests and skill levels, without me having to be an expert
While at Picademy, I learned about Code Club. Code Club allows me to provide a variety of lessons tailored to my learners’ interests and skill levels, without me having to be an expert in all of the lessons. My students are 6th- to 8th-graders, and there are novice coders as well as intermediate and advanced coders in the group. We work through lessons together, and I get to be a student with them.
I have found a myriad of resources to support their dreams of making
Although I may not have all the answers to their questions, I’m willing to work to secure whatever supplies they need for their project making. Whether through DonorsChoose, grants, student fundraising, or my personal contributions, I have found a myriad of resources to support their dreams of making.
Raspberry Pi group photo!
My district has invested in a one-to-one computer initiative for students, and I am happy to help students become creators of technology and not just consumers. Having worked with Code Club through the Raspberry Pi Foundation, my students and I realize just how achievable this dream can be. I’m able to enhance my Pi skills by teaching a summer hacking camp at our local university, and next year, we have goals to host a Pi Jam! Thankfully, my principal is very supportive of our endeavours.
Students at Coolest Projects USA 2018
This year, a few of my students and my son were able to participate in Coolest Projects USA 2018 to show off their projects, including a home surveillance camera, a RetroPie arcade game, a Smart Mirror, and a photo booth and dash cam. They dedicated a lot of time and effort to bring these projects to life, often on their own and beyond the hours of our Code Club. This adventure has inspired them, and they are already recruiting other students to join them next year! The possibilities of the Raspberry Pi constantly rejuvenates my curiosity and enhances the creativity that I get to bring to my teaching — both inside and outside the classroom.
Learn more about the free programmes and resources Yolanda has used on her computer science education journey, such as Picademy, Code Club, and Coolest Projects, by visiting the Education section of our website.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s mission is to bring computing and digital making to everyone. Tackling the persistent gender imbalance in technology is a crucial part of this undertaking. As part of our work to increase the number of girls choosing to learn how to create with technology, we are marking International Women’s Day with a celebration of real role models.
Maria Quevedo, Managing Director, Code Club & Raspberry Pi Foundation, talks about the importance of real role models who show girls and women that computing
Real role models are important
There is strongevidence to indicate that the presence of role models is a very effective way to inspire women and minorities to become interested in subjects and industries where they are underrepresented. Research suggests that the imbalance among the role models that girls and women are exposed to in their everyday lives contributes significantly to the persistently low number of girls pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at school, and ultimately impacts their career choices.
Female role models in UK media
In order to understand the extent of this imbalance, we carried out an analysis to explore the visibility of female technology role models in the UK media.
One of our most striking findings was that in the twelve months since International Women’s Day 2018, each of the women competing in UK television’s Love Island 2018 was written about in the UK media on average seven times more often than 50 of the UK’s top female technology role models. And popular UK men’s lifestyle magazines were twice as likely to write about top female technology leaders than magazines aimed at women.
We also looked at the subject matter covered by popular women’s and men’s magazines in the UK. We found that fashion (37% of all articles) and beauty (26%) were the most popular topics in women’s lifestyle media, while politics (5%) and careers (4%) were some of the least popular. The contrast with men’s lifestyle media was very pronounced. There, topic coverage was much more evenly distributed: fashion (21%) and politics (16%) came top, with grooming (12%) and careers (12%) close behind.
In other words, in the women’s lifestyle magazines, about 14 articles are written about fashion and beauty for every one about careers. Men’s lifestyle magazines, meanwhile, publish one careers piece for every three fashion and grooming articles.
Real role models in Code Club, CoderDojo, and beyond
It’s alarming to see such a dramatic imbalance in visibility for female technology leaders, and such stark differences between the focus of women’s and men’s media. We work hard to make sure our activities such as Code Club and CoderDojo are equally welcoming to girls and boys, and we’re proud that 45% of the volunteers and educators who run these clubs are women. However, role models in wider society are just as important in shaping the values, beliefs, and ambitions of girls and women.
We have a consistently high proportion of girls – around 40% – attending our Code Clubs and CoderDojos. But girls’ perceptions of computing, and their confidence, can be influenced hugely before they ever arrive at our clubs to give it a try – so much so that they may never arrive at all.
In this context, the differences we observed between the topics that women’s and men’s media cover are troubling. It really comes down to balance: there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading about fashion or beauty, but greater diversity in the women, interests, and careers that saturate our popular culture would undoubtedly impact the gender imbalance that persists in sectors such as technology and science.
We are for everyone
When it comes to encouraging girls to take part in our digital skills activities, our approach is highly adaptable, but ultimately we are for everyone. We believe this inclusive approach is the most effective way of reinforcing that all genders are equally capable of enjoying and excelling at computing. It would be invaluable to see this reflected in popular culture.
This International Women’s Day, we’re encouraging women to consider the ways in which we are real role models. Join us to celebrate the #RealRoleModels who inspire you, and share the fantastic contributions of girls and women in technology.
Scratch 3 introduces a brand-new look and feel. The most obvious change is that the stage is now on the right-hand side; there are new paint and sound editing tools; new types of code blocks; and the blocks are now larger and easier to read.
Perhaps the biggest news is that Scratch 3 also works on tablets, opening up coding to many children who don’t have access to a computer.
We want to make this a smooth transition for all of you who rely on our free project resources, whether that be at a Code Club, CoderDojo, Raspberry Jam, or at home, so we’ve been busy upgrading our resources to work with Scratch 3.
The upgrading process also was a chance for us to review our resources to make sure they are the best they can be; as part of this, we’ve introduced a number of improvements, such as simplified layouts, better hints, and better print-outs.
And we know that for many people, starting to use Scratch 3 is not simple, or not even possible yet, so we are committed to providing support for both Scratch 2 and 3 for the next 12 months.
We are really pleased with how our newly polished Scratch projects turned out, and we hope you are too!
What’s to come
Over the coming months, we’ll update the rest of our Scratch projects. Meanwhile, our amazing volunteer translators will begin the process of translating the upgraded projects.
Brand-new projects that take advantage of some of Scratch 3’s new features are also in the pipeline!
Scratch 3 on Pi
Another reason for ensuring we support both Scratch 2 and 3 is that, at the moment, there is no offline, installable version of Scratch 3 for Raspberry Pi. Rest assured that this is something we are working on!
The creation of Scratch 3 for Raspberry Pi will be a two-step process: first we’ll support MIT with their optimisation of Scratch 3 to make sure it delivers the best performance possible on a range of devices; once that work is complete, we’ll create an offline build of Scratch 3 for Raspberry Pi, including new extensions for the GPIO pins and the Sense HAT.
Make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Facebook, as we’ll be announcing more information on this in the coming months!
The Raspberry Pi Press has been hard at work of late, producing new issues of The MagPi, HackSpace magazine, and our latest publication, Wireframe. But that hasn’t slowed us down, and this week, we’re pleased to announce the release of The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide, a 244-page book that will help get you well on your way to Raspberry Pi domination.
The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide
We’ve roped in Gareth Halfacree, full-time technology journalist and technical author, and the wonderful Sam Alder, illustrator of our incredible cartoons and animations, to put together the only guide you need to help you get started with the Raspberry Pi.
From setting up your Raspberry Pi on day 1, to taking your first steps into writing coding, digital making, and computing, The Official Raspberry Beginner’s Guide is great for users from age 7 to 107! It’s available now in the Raspberry Pi Press store, with free international delivery.
As always, we have also released the guide as a free PDF, and you’ll soon be seeing physical copies on the shelves of Waterstones, Foyles, and other good bookshops.
Code Club Book of Scratch
And that’s not all! This week we also launched the brand-new Code Club Book of Scratch, the first-ever print publication from the team at Code Club.
You can learn more about the book on the Code Club blog, and you’ll also find it in the Raspberry Pi Press store, and in bookstores alongside The Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide. You can download the free PDF here, but the print version of the Code Club Book of Scratch is rather special. As well as being stuffed full of amazing Scratch projects to try down at your local Code Club, it also comes with magic glasses that reveal secret hints in some of the guides. It’s spiral bound, so it always lays flat, and there are 24 exclusive Code Club stickers as well! The pictures here don’t really do it justice – it’s a wonderful book, even if I am a bit biased.
Every year for the last five years, Hour of Code has encouraged school students to spend just one hour writing some code, in the hope that they get bitten by the bug rather than generating too many bugs! This year, you can find activities from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Code Club, and CoderDojo on the official Hour of Code website.
Boat race, a Code Club resource, is a one-hour project aimed at beginners. It guides students to use Scratch to create a game in which the player uses their mouse to navigate a boat to a desert island without bumping into obstacles.
Scratch can run in any browser, or directly from a Raspberry Pi, making it on of the easiest ways for students to get into coding for the Hour of Code.
The Boat race resource is available in many languages, including Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, and Ukrainian.
Beginner Scratch Sushi Cards
Again using Scratch, this CoderDojo project walks students through how to create a fish-catching game where the player controls a shark sprite.
Astro Pi Mission Zero
In in the Mission Zero project, students write a short Python program that checks the ambient temperature onboard the International Space Station, and leaves a message for the astronauts there!
Students complete this Hour of Code challenge using the Trinket online Astro Pi simulator, and those based in an ESA Member or Associate States can submit their code to run onboard the ISS. They’ll even receive an official certificate showing where the ISS was when their code ran.
We don’t just create activities for other people to experience digital making and learning — we also get involved ourselves! Every month we host a maker day for our staff, where everyone can try out our digital making projects or even work on their own project. Our December maker day is during Hour of Code week, and we are going to make an extra-special effort and try to get as many staff members as possible coding!
The educators at Raspberry Pi are fans of Seymour Papert’s constructionist learning philosophy — you can read his Mindstorms book in this free PDF — and the joy of learning through making isn’t just a thing for kids; adults get just as much positivity out of creating digital fart noises or animating crazed chickens to chase the Scratch cat. With the right support from our wide range of projects, anyone can make their own ideas a reality through coding — Senior Learning Manager Lauren, for example, got very excited about her Morrissey haiku project!
Being able to code is creative; it lets you bring your idea to life, whether that’s something that could help millions of people or simply something you think would be cool.
So, whether you’re an absolute beginner to coding or you’ve fixed so many bugs that your nickname is ‘The Exterminator’, what will YOU code this week?
Last year, Code Club Australia set a new world record during their Moonhack event for the most young people coding within 24 hours. This year, they’re hoping to get 50000 kids involved — here’s how you can take part in this interstellar record attempt!
Celebrating the Apollo 11 moon landing
Nearly 50 years ago, humankind took one giant leap and landed on the moon for the first time. The endeavour involved an incredible amount of technological innovation that, amongst other things, helped set the stage for modern coding.
To celebrate this amazing feat, Code Club Australia are hosting Moonhack, an annual world record attempt to get as many young people as possible coding space-themed projects over 24 hours. This year, Moonhack is even bigger and better, and we want you to take part!
Moonhack past and present
The first Moonhack took place in 2016 in Sydney, Australia, and has since spread across the globe. More than 28000 young people from 56 countries took part last year, from Syria to South Korea and Croatia to Guatemala.
This year, the aim is to break that world record with 50000 young people — the equivalent of the population of a small town — coding over 24 hours!
Taking part in Moonhack is super simple: code a space-themed project and submit it on 20 July, the anniversary of the moon landing. Young people from 8 to 18 can take part, and Moonhack is open to everyone, wherever you are in the world.
The event is perfect for Code Clubs, CoderDojos, and Raspberry Jams looking for a new challenge, but you can also take part at home with your family. Or, if you have access to a great venue, you could also host a Moonhackathon event and invite young people from your community to get involved — the Moonhack team is offering online resources to help you do this.
On the Moonhack website, you’ll find four simple, astro-themed projects to choose from, one each for Scratch, Python, micro:bit, and Gamefroot. If your young coders are feeling adventurous, they can also create their own space-themed projects: last year we saw some amazing creations, from a ‘dogs vs aliens’ game to lunar football!
For many young people, Moonhack falls in the last week of term, so it’s a perfect activity to celebrate the end of the academic year. If you’re in a part of the world that’s already on break from school, you can hold a Moonhack coding party, which is a great way to keep coding over the holidays!
To register to take part in Moonhack, head over to moonhack.com and fill in your details. If you’re interested in hosting a Moonhackathon, you can also download an information pack here.
At Bell Gardens’ Boys & Girls Club, activities center around healthy living and homework support, in addition to opportunities for kids to practice good character and citizenship, and to explore the arts and technology. But, as we know, rapid changes in technology mean needing to always be on the lookout for updated and kid-friendly materials. Therefore, Loren and her Boys & Girls Club team wanted to find resources that expose their kids to technology and empower them to contribute to society, to solve problems, or to simply get creative.
Code Club Bell Gardens
Loren found that Code Club, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s longest-running outreach program, has just the resources and online project platform they needed to really level up their digital tech program. Code Club resources, like all resources provided Raspberry Pi, are user-friendly, accessible, and always free.
Now, just two short months since their first session, the on-site Code Club at Bell Gardens has grown exponentially and become a favourite of the community. At 20 members and growing, their Code Club is composed entirely of members from the Bell Gardens community, serving kids from 6 to 15. The club runs at least once a week, and Loren hopes to run it more often due to its positive effects. She says:
I’ve seen a lot of internal and external growth in each member. I can honestly say that all the members have been impacted by the exposure to new resources and opportunities. Not only has their self-confidence improved, so have their skills in critical thinking, coding, and math.
Loren admits that the first day of Code Club started off as challenging. “Many of the youngest members faced significant learning difficulties pertaining to literacy and math. However, many of them happily surprised our staff with their ability to memorize the projects steps along with the symbols on the screen. After a two-hour session, most members were able to complete their projects without any assistance!”
The club members come from diverse backgrounds, so Loren is thoughtful about creating a team culture while supporting individual development. As a team, they focus on two objectives: passion and innovation. “Members are constantly seeking solutions to their own questions and challenges. They thrive on inspiration and motivation, which in my opinion is the finest way to be a catalyst in the technological age.”
Bell Gardens heads to Coolest Projects
With Coolest Projects North America coming in September, Bell Gardens’ Code Club members are working on projects over the summer to prepare for the big event. Loren is already looking forward to the showcase: “I am thrilled to bring our club to Coolest Projects because it’s a unique opportunity for the community! Our community has an overwhelming lack of resources, especially concerning education, so I am looking forward to introducing our members to an innovative, competitive environment, but most of all to inspire them to select a project they can feel passionate about.”
Coolest Projects North America
Coolest Projects North America will take place at the Discovery Cube, Orange County, on September 23, 2018.
First, let me tell you why this partnership matters to me. As a child growing up in North Wales in the 1980s, Scouting changed my life. My time with 2nd Rhyl provided me with countless opportunities to grow and develop new skills. It taught me about teamwork and community in ways that continue to shape my decisions today.
As my own kids (now seven and ten) have joined Scouting, I’ve seen the same opportunities opening up for them, and like so many parents, I’ve come back to the movement as a volunteer to support their local section. So this is deeply personal for me, and the same is true for many of my colleagues at the Raspberry Pi Foundation who in different ways have been part of the Scouting movement.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Scouting and Raspberry Pi share many of the same values. We are both community-led movements that aim to help young people develop the skills they need for life. We are both powered by an amazing army of volunteers who give their time to support that mission. We both care about inclusiveness, and pride ourselves on combining fun with learning by doing.
Raspberry Pi started life in 2008 as a response to the problem that too many young people were growing up without the skills to create with technology. Our goal is that everyone should be able to harness the power of computing and digital technologies, for work, to solve problems that matter to them, and to express themselves creatively.
In 2012 we launched our first product, the world’s first $35 computer. Just six years on, we have sold over 20 million Raspberry Pi computers and helped kickstart a global movement for digital skills.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation now runs the world’s largest network of volunteer-led computing clubs (Code Clubs and CoderDojos), and creates free educational resources that are used by millions of young people all over the world to learn how to create with digital technologies. And lots of what we are able to achieve is because of partnerships with fantastic organisations that share our goals. For example, through our partnership with the European Space Agency, thousands of young people have written code that has run on two Raspberry Pi computers that Tim Peake took to the International Space Station as part of his Mission Principia.
Today we’re launching the new Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge to help tens of thousands of young people learn how to create with technology through Scouting. Over the past few months, we’ve been working with the Scouts all over the UK to develop and test the new badge requirements, along with guidance, project ideas, and resources that really make them work for Scouting. We know that we need to get two things right: relevance and accessibility.
Relevance is all about making sure that the activities and resources we provide are a really good fit for Scouting and Scouting’s mission to equip young people with skills for life. From the digital compass to nature cameras and the reinvented wide game, we’ve had a lot of fun thinking about ways we can bring to life the crucial role that digital technologies can play in the outdoors and adventure.
We are beyond excited to be launching a new partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, which will help tens of thousands of young people learn digital skills for life.
We also know that there are great opportunities for Scouts to use digital technologies to solve social problems in their communities, reflecting the movement’s commitment to social action. Today we’re launching the first set of project ideas and resources, with many more to follow over the coming weeks and months.
Accessibility is about providing every Scout leader with the confidence, support, and kit to enable them to offer the Digital Maker Staged Activity Badge to their young people. A lot of work and care has gone into designing activities that require very little equipment: for example, activities at Stages 1 and 2 can be completed with a laptop without access to the internet. For the activities that do require kit, we will be working with Scout Stores and districts to make low-cost kit available to buy or loan.
We’re producing accessible instructions, worksheets, and videos to help leaders run sessions with confidence, and we’ll also be planning training for leaders. We will work with our network of Code Clubs and CoderDojos to connect them with local sections to organise joint activities, bringing both kit and expertise along with them.
Today’s launch is just the start. We’ll be developing our partnership over the next few years, and we can’t wait for you to join us in getting more young people making things with technology.
Join us as we celebrate the Year of Engineering in the newest issue of Hello World, our magazine for computing and digital making educators.
Inspiring future engineers
We’ve brought together a wide range of experts to share their ideas and advice on how to bring engineering to your classroom — read issue 5 to find out the best ways to inspire the next generation.
Plus we’ve got plenty on GP and Scratch, we answer your latest questions, and we bring you our usual collection of useful features, guides, and lesson plans.
Highlights of issue 5 include:
The bluffers’ guide to putting together a tech-themed school trip
Inclusion, and coding for the visually impaired
Getting students interested in databases
Why copying may not always be a bad thing
How to get Hello World #5
Hello World is available as a free download under a Creative Commons license for everyone in world who is interested in computer science and digital making education. Get the latest issue as a PDF file straight from the Hello World website.
We’re currently offering free print copies of the magazine to serving educators in the UK. This offer is open to 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 — 20000 educators have already signed up to receive theirs!
Get in touch!
You could write for us about your experiences as an educator, and 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!
Last week, we shared the first half of our Q&A with Raspberry Pi Trading CEO and Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton. Today we follow up with all your other questions, including your expectations for a Raspberry Pi 4, Eben’s dream add-ons, and whether we really could go smaller than the Zero.
Get your questions to us now using #AskRaspberryPi on Twitter
With internet security becoming more necessary, will there be automated versions of VPN on an SD card?
There are already third-party tools which turn your Raspberry Pi into a VPN endpoint. Would we do it ourselves? Like the power button, it’s one of those cases where there are a million things we could do and so it’s more efficient to let the community get on with it.
Just to give a counterexample, while we don’t generally invest in optimising for particular use cases, we did invest a bunch of money into optimising Kodi to run well on Raspberry Pi, because we found that very large numbers of people were using it. So, if we find that we get half a million people a year using a Raspberry Pi as a VPN endpoint, then we’ll probably invest money into optimising it and feature it on the website as we’ve done with Kodi. But I don’t think we’re there today.
Have you ever seen any Pis running and doing important jobs in the wild, and if so, how does it feel?
It’s amazing how often you see them driving displays, for example in radio and TV studios. Of course, it feels great. There’s something wonderful about the geographic spread as well. The Raspberry Pi desktop is quite distinctive, both in its previous incarnation with the grey background and logo, and the current one where we have Greg Annandale’s road picture.
And so it’s funny when you see it in places. Somebody sent me a video of them teaching in a classroom in rural Pakistan and in the background was Greg’s picture.
Raspberry Pi 4!?!
There will be a Raspberry Pi 4, obviously. We get asked about it a lot. I’m sticking to the guidance that I gave people that they shouldn’t expect to see a Raspberry Pi 4 this year. To some extent, the opportunity to do the 3B+ was a surprise: we were surprised that we’ve been able to get 200MHz more clock speed, triple the wireless and wired throughput, and better thermals, and still stick to the $35 price point.
We’re up against the wall from a silicon perspective; we’re at the end of what you can do with the 40nm process. It’s not that you couldn’t clock the processor faster, or put a larger processor which can execute more instructions per clock in there, it’s simply about the energy consumption and the fact that you can’t dissipate the heat. So we’ve got to go to a smaller process node and that’s an order of magnitude more challenging from an engineering perspective. There’s more effort, more risk, more cost, and all of those things are challenging.
With 3B+ out of the way, we’re going to start looking at this now. For the first six months or so we’re going to be figuring out exactly what people want from a Raspberry Pi 4. We’re listening to people’s comments about what they’d like to see in a new Raspberry Pi, and I’m hoping by early autumn we should have an idea of what we want to put in it and a strategy for how we might achieve that.
Could you go smaller than the Zero?
The challenge with Zero as that we’re periphery-limited. If you run your hand around the unit, there is no edge of that board that doesn’t have something there. So the question is: “If you want to go smaller than Zero, what feature are you willing to throw out?”
It’s a single-sided board, so you could certainly halve the PCB area if you fold the circuitry and use both sides, though you’d have to lose something. You could give up some GPIO and go back to 26 pins like the first Raspberry Pi. You could give up the camera connector, you could go to micro HDMI from mini HDMI. You could remove the SD card and just do USB boot. I’m inventing a product live on air! But really, you could get down to two thirds and lose a bunch of GPIO – it’s hard to imagine you could get to half the size.
What’s the one feature that you wish you could outfit on the Raspberry Pi that isn’t cost effective at this time? Your dream feature.
Well, more memory. There are obviously technical reasons why we don’t have more memory on there, but there are also market reasons. People ask “why doesn’t the Raspberry Pi have more memory?”, and my response is typically “go and Google ‘DRAM price’”. We’re used to the price of memory going down. And currently, we’re going through a phase where this has turned around and memory is getting more expensive again.
Machine learning would be interesting. There are machine learning accelerators which would be interesting to put on a piece of hardware. But again, they are not going to be used by everyone, so according to our method of pricing what we might add to a board, machine learning gets treated like a $50 chip. But that would be lovely to do.
Which citizen science projects using the Pi have most caught your attention?
I like the wildlife camera projects. We live out in the countryside in a little village, and we’re conscious of being surrounded by nature but we don’t see a lot of it on a day-to-day basis. So I like the nature cam projects, though, to my everlasting shame, I haven’t set one up yet. There’s a range of them, from very professional products to people taking a Raspberry Pi and a camera and putting them in a plastic box. So those are good fun.
How does it feel to go to bed every day knowing you’ve changed the world for the better in such a massive way?
What feels really good is that when we started this in 2006 nobody else was talking about it, but now we’re part of a very broad movement.
We were in a really bad way: we’d seen a collapse in the number of applicants applying to study Computer Science at Cambridge and elsewhere. In our view, this reflected a move away from seeing technology as ‘a thing you do’ to seeing it as a ‘thing that you have done to you’. It is problematic from the point of view of the economy, industry, and academia, but most importantly it damages the life prospects of individual children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The great thing about STEM subjects is that you can’t fake being good at them. There are a lot of industries where your Dad can get you a job based on who he knows and then you can kind of muddle along. But if your dad gets you a job building bridges and you suck at it, after the first or second bridge falls down, then you probably aren’t going to be building bridges anymore. So access to STEM education can be a great driver of social mobility.
By the time we were launching the Raspberry Pi in 2012, there was this wonderful movement going on. Code Club, for example, and CoderDojo came along. Lots of different ways of trying to solve the same problem. What feels really, really good is that we’ve been able to do this as part of an enormous community. And some parts of that community became part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation – we merged with Code Club, we merged with CoderDojo, and we continue to work alongside a lot of these other organisations. So in the two seconds it takes me to fall asleep after my face hits the pillow, that’s what I think about.
We’re currently advertising a Programme Manager role in New Delhi, India. Did you ever think that Raspberry Pi would be advertising a role like this when you were bringing together the Foundation?
No, I didn’t.
But if you told me we were going to be hiring somewhere, India probably would have been top of my list because there’s a massive IT industry in India. When we think about our interaction with emerging markets, India, in a lot of ways, is the poster child for how we would like it to work. There have already been some wonderful deployments of Raspberry Pi, for example in Kerala, without our direct involvement. And we think we’ve got something that’s useful for the Indian market. We have a product, we have clubs, we have teacher training. And we have a body of experience in how to teach people, so we have a physical commercial product as well as a charitable offering that we think are a good fit.
It’s going to be massive.
What is your favourite BBC type-in listing?
There was a game called Codename: Druid. There is a famous game called Codename: Droid which was the sequel to Stryker’s Run, which was an awesome, awesome game. And there was a type-in game called Codename: Druid, which was at the bottom end of what you would consider a commercial game.
And I remember typing that in. And what was really cool about it was that the next month, the guy who wrote it did another article that talks about the memory map and which operating system functions used which bits of memory. So if you weren’t going to do disc access, which bits of memory could you trample on and know the operating system would survive.
I still like type-in listings. The Raspberry Pi 2018 Annual has a type-in listing that I wrote for a Babbage versus Bugs game. I will say that’s not the last type-in listing you will see from me in the next twelve months. And if you download the PDF, you could probably copy and paste it into your favourite text editor to save yourself some time.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation loves to celebrate people who use technology to solve problems and express themselves creatively, so we’re proud to expand the incredibly successful event Coolest Projects to North America. This free event will be held on Sunday 23 September 2018 at the Discovery Cube Orange County in Santa Ana, California.
What is Coolest Projects?
Coolest Projects is a world-leading showcase that empowers and inspires the next generation of digital creators, innovators, changemakers, and entrepreneurs. The event is both a competition and an exhibition to give young digital makers aged 7 to 17 a platform to celebrate their successes, creativity, and ingenuity.
In 2012, Coolest Projects was conceived as an opportunity for CoderDojo Ninjas to showcase their work and for supporters to acknowledge these achievements. Week after week, Ninjas would meet up to work diligently on their projects, hacks, and code; however, it can be difficult for them to see their long-term progress on a project when they’re concentrating on its details on a weekly basis. Coolest Projects became a dedicated time each year for Ninjas and supporters to reflect, celebrate, and share both the achievements and challenges of the maker’s journey.
Coolest Projects North America
Not only is Coolest Projects expanding to North America, it’s also expanding its participant pool! Members of our team have met so many amazing young people creating in all areas of the world, that it simply made sense to widen our outreach to include Code Clubs, students of Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, and members of the Raspberry Jam community at large as well as CoderDojo attendees.
Exhibit and attend Coolest Projects
Coolest Projects is a free, family- and educator-friendly event. Young people can apply to exhibit their projects, and the general public can register to attend this one-day event. Be sure to register today, because you make Coolest Projects what it is: the coolest.
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