Tag Archives: education

Computing curriculum fundamentals | Hello World #20

Post Syndicated from Sway Grantham original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/computing-curriculum-fundamentals-computing-systems-networks/

Why are computing systems at the heart of our computing curriculum design? Senior Learning Manager Sway Grantham from the Foundation team explains in her article from the brand-new issue of Hello World, our free magazine for computing educators, out today.

Cover of Hello World issue 20.

Whether you plan lessons on a Computing topic, develop curriculum content, or even write curriculum policy, you have to make choices. What are you going to include and what is less of a priority? You have to consider time constraints and access to resources, prior learning and maybe even pupil interests. You probably also have to consider the wider curriculum context. Well, here is my first principle to help you: computing systems should be the foundation of your Computing curriculum.

A computing systems epiphany

As a primary teacher, when I first began writing Computing lesson plans for children aged 9 to 10, I started with programming. This was a very visual entry into Computing, and children were excited to create projects that were familiar to them, such as games and animations. However, as my understanding of Computing grew, I realised that something was missing.

Two learners do physical computing in the primary school classroom.

My learners could explain what an algorithm is, as well as explaining that a program is ‘a set of instructions that runs on a computer to tell it what to do’. Both of these met the curriculum needs, but I wasn’t convinced that they could link these two concepts together. Could they connect what they were doing on a floor robot to the computing systems around them? Did they understand what a computer was? Well… I asked them to see what they’d say!

According to my class, a computer was:

  • A piece of technology
  • A keyboard and a screen
  • A search engine
  • A machine used for work
  • A metal brain
  • A machine with a keyboard
  • An information device
  • Electric

This very simple question highlighted a wealth of alternate conceptions about programming and computing systems. The other commonality of my learners’ definitions was that they described the computer’s function, as if, in order to define what a computer is, we just need to know what it does. This view of a definition greatly limits learners’ ability to understand what potential computers have beyond personal use.

My learners had two discrete chunks of knowledge: how to program a floor robot, and that laptops were computers. However, without a bridge to connect them, this learning was disjointed. Learners needed to have a concrete, conceptual understanding of ‘what a computer is’ before they could start to comprehend the more abstract role of a program in that system.

Knowledge of computing systems empowers people to take control of technology and not just consume it.

Beyond the experiences of my young learners, we see examples of a lack of understanding about computing systems all the time in society. Many competent users of software are able to regularly complete the tasks that they need, but if one day something doesn’t work, they do not know how to find a solution. Equally, many people enjoy exploring digital making projects, yet if they want to personalise the project, they don’t know what they can or can’t change to do this. Knowledge of computing systems empowers people to take control of technology and not just consume it.

Planning computing content today

Both of these examples highlight the importance of introducing computing systems as both life skills and as support for developing other areas of computing. More recently, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been creating 100 hours of curriculum content in partnership with non-profit organisation Amala Education. Through this content we aim to give refugee learners who may never have used technology enough understanding to build a website that encourages social change.

Whilst we know that the material needs to include some foundational knowledge of computing systems, we must first consider the core content that learners must understand to achieve the end goal, such as:

  • Webpage creation 
  • HTML/CSS/JavaScript
  • Project management 
  • Project development

These areas of learning are a great place to start as, undeniably, learners aren’t going to be able to build a website without knowing the process of creating a website, the languages used to create web pages, or the project management skills to see a project from start to finish.

This could be the entirety of the content, but instead, I encourage you to think back to those children who could program but didn’t know on what devices programs could run. We need to connect the core content to that foundational content: how is building a website related to computing systems?

Prior knowledge

All learning is built on prior knowledge, even if that prior knowledge has been gained through life experience and not formal education. To build a website, we need to know how to type and use a mouse. We need to know what a website is, why people use websites, and what sort of media is found on them. Beyond that, we need to know how the files that we are creating are being shared with other people. We need to understand that a computer can communicate with another computer and what the process is to make that happen. None of this learning is the core content of building a website, but if you tried to build a website without understanding these things, it would be difficult to do.

All learning is built on prior knowledge, even if that prior knowledge has been gained through life experience and not formal education.

As the learners we support together with Amala Education might have no prior experience of using technology, we needed to ensure that enough foundational computing systems content was built into the learning sequence — things such as:

  • Recognising digital devices
  • Decomposing computing systems
  • Digital painting (mouse skills)
  • Combining text and images (desktop publishing)
  • Networks and the internet
  • Internet searching

By incorporating this content into the learning sequence, we ensure that learners do not just learn a process for creating a website. They understand the impact of the choices they make when building a website, they have the skills to implement their ideas, and they can connect their understanding to solve any unexpected challenges they find along the way. This more holistic approach should support learners’ knowledge transfer and offer them a much broader range of opportunities. 

This more holistic approach should support learners’ knowledge transfer and offer them a much broader range of opportunities.

Whatever your curriculum requires, you will have the core content you need to teach. This could be the requirements of your standardised curriculum, it could be the specific project you’re trying to build, or it could be the aspirations that you have for your students. However, rather than stopping at that part of your learning sequence, take a step back and consider the prior knowledge you’re connecting to. I expect you will find that computing systems is what you need to ensure learners’ new knowledge has a solid foundation.

Read the new Hello World issue today

Computing systems and networks is one of those computer science topics in which misconceptions abound. Hello World issue 20 focuses on how you can support your learners to grasp even the tricky ideas within this topic, giving you practical ideas, activities, and insights from practicing educators. Download your free PDF copy now, and subscribe to never miss an issue.

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Combining computing and maths to teach primary learners about variables

Post Syndicated from Katharine Childs original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/variables-primary-school-computing-maths-education-seminar/

In our first seminar of 2023, we were delighted to welcome Dr Katie Rich and Carla Strickland. They spoke to us about teaching the programming construct of variables in Grade 3 and 4 (age 8 to 10).

We are hearing from a diverse range of speakers in our current series of monthly online research seminars focused on primary (K-5) computing education. Many of them work closely with educators to translate research findings into classroom practice to make sure that all our younger learners have positive first experiences of learning computing. An important goal of their research is to impact the development of pedagogy, resources, and professional development to support educators to deliver computing concepts with confidence.

Variables in computing and mathematics

Dr Katie Rich (American Institutes of Research) and Carla Strickland (UChicago STEM Education) are both part of a team that worked on a research project called Everyday Computing, which aims to integrate computational thinking into primary mathematics lessons. A key part of the Everyday Computing project was to develop coherent learning resources across a number of school years. During the seminar, Katie and Carla presented on a study in the project that revolved around teaching variables in Grade 3 and 4 (age 8 to 10) by linking this computing concept to mathematical concepts such as area, perimeter, and fractions.

Young person using Scratch.

Variables are used in both mathematics and computing, but in significantly different ways. In mathematics, a variable, often represented by a single letter such as x or y, corresponds to a quantity that stays the same for a given problem. However, in computing, a variable is an identifier used to label data that may change as a computer program is executed. A variable is one of the programming constructs that can be used to generalise programs to make them work for a range of inputs. Katie highlighted that the research team was keen to explore the synergies and tensions that arise when curriculum subjects share terms, as is the case for ‘variable’. 

Defining a learning trajectory

At the start of the project, in order to be able to develop coherent learning resources across school years, the team reviewed research papers related to teaching the programming construct of variables. In the papers, they found a variety of learning goals that related to facts (what learners need to know) and skills (what learners need to be able to do). They grouped these learning goals and arranged the groups into ‘levels of thinking’, which were then mapped onto a learning trajectory to show progression pathways for learning.

Four of the five levels of thinking identified in the study: Data storer, data user, variable user, variable creator.
Four of the five levels of thinking identified in the study: Data Storer, Data User, Variable User, Variable Creator. Click to enlarge.

Learning materials about variables

Carla then shared three practical examples of learning resources their research team created that integrated the programming construct of variables into a maths curriculum. The three activities, described below, form part of a series of lessons called Action Fractions. You can read more about the series of lessons in this research paper.

Robot Boxes is an unplugged activity that is positioned at the Data User level of thinking. It relates to creating instructions for a fictional robot. Learners have to pay attention to different data the robot needs in order to draw a box, such as the length and width, and also to the value that the robot calculates as area of the box. The lesson uses boxes on paper as concrete representations of variables to which learners can physically add values.

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Ambling Animals is set at the ‘Data Storer’ and ‘Variable Interpreter’ levels of thinking. It includes a Scratch project to help students to locate and compare fractions on number lines. During this lesson, find a variable that holds the value of the animal that represents the larger of two fractions.

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Adding Fractions draws on facts and skills from the ‘Variable Interpreter’ and ‘Variable Implementer’ levels of thinking and also includes a Scratch project. The Scratch project visualises adding fractions with the same denominator on a number line. The lesson starts to explain why variables are so important in computer programs by demonstrating how using a variable can make code more efficient. 

Takeaways: Cross-curricular teaching, collaborative research

Teaching about the programming construct of variables can be challenging, as it requires young learners to understand abstract ideas. The research Katie and Carla presented shows how integrating these concepts into a mathematics curriculum is one way to highlight tangible uses of variables in everyday problems. The levels of thinking in the learning trajectory provide a structure helping teachers to support learners to develop their understanding and skills; the same levels of thinking could be used to introduce variables in other contexts and curricula.

A learner does physical computing in the primary school classroom.

Many primary teachers use cross-curricular learning to increase children’s engagement and highlight real-world examples. The seminar showed how important it is for teachers to pay attention to terms used across subjects, such as the word ‘variable’, and to explicitly explain a term’s different meanings. Katie and Carla shared a practical example of this when they suggested that computing teachers need to do more to stress the difference between equations such as xy = 45 in maths and assignment statements such as length = 45 in computing.

The Everyday Computing project resources were created by a team of researchers and educators who worked together to translate research findings into curriculum materials. This type of collaboration can be really valuable in driving a research agenda to directly improve learning outcomes for young people in classrooms. 

How can this research influence your classroom practice or other activities as an educator? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. We’ll be continuing to reflect on this question throughout the seminar series.

You can watch Katie’s and Carla’s full presentation here:

Join our seminar series on primary computing education

Our monthly seminar series on primary (K–5) teaching and learning is of interest to a global audience of educators, including those who want to understand the prior learning experiences of older learners.

We continue on Tuesday 7 February at 17.00 UK time, when we will hear from Dr Jean Salac, University of Washington. Jean will present her work in identifying inequities in elementary computing instruction and in developing a learning strategy, TIPP&SEE, to address these inequities. Sign up now, and we will send you a joining link for the session.

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Rapid7 Now Available Through Carahsoft’s NASPO ValuePoint

Post Syndicated from Rapid7 original https://blog.rapid7.com/2023/01/24/rapid7-now-available-through-carahsofts-naspo-valuepoint/

Rapid7 Now Available Through Carahsoft’s NASPO ValuePoint

We are happy to announce that Rapid7’s solutions have been added to the NASPO ValuePoint Cloud Solutions contract held by Carahsoft Technology Corp. The addition of this contract enables Carahsoft and its reseller partners to provide Rapid7’s Insight platform to participating States, Local Governments, and Educational (SLED) institutions.

“Rapid7’s Insight platform goes beyond threat detection by enabling organizations to quickly respond to attacks with intelligent automation,” said Alex Whitworth, Sales Director who leads the Rapid7 Team at Carahsoft.

“We are thrilled to work with Rapid7 and our reseller partners to deliver these advanced cloud risk management and threat detection solutions to NASPO members to further protect IT environments across the SLED space.”

NASPO ValuePoint is a cooperative purchasing program facilitating public procurement solicitations and agreements using a lead-state model. The program provides the highest standard of excellence in public cooperative contracting. By leveraging the leadership and expertise of all states and the purchasing power of their public entities, NASPO ValuePoint delivers the highest valued, reliable and competitively sourced contracts, offering public entities outstanding prices.

“In partnership with Carahsoft and their reseller partners, we look forward to providing broader availability of the Insight platform to help security teams better protect their organizations from an increasingly complex and volatile threat landscape,” said Damon Cabanillas, Vice President of Public Sector Sales at Rapid7.

The Rapid7 Insight platform is available through Carahsoft’s NASPO ValuePoint Master Agreement #AR2472. For more information, visit https://www.carahsoft.com/rapid7/contracts.

Training teachers and empowering students in Machakos, Kenya

Post Syndicated from Wariara Waireri original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/computing-education-machakos-kenya-edtech-hub-launch/

Over the past months, we’ve been working with two partner organisations, Team4Tech and Kenya Connect, to support computing education across the rural county of Machakos, Kenya.

Working in rural Kenya

In line with our 2025 strategy, we have started work to improve computing education for young people in Kenya and South Africa. We are especially eager to support communities that experience educational disadvantage. One of our projects in this area is in partnership with Team4Tech and Kenya Connect. Together we have set up the Dr Isaac Minae EdTech Hub in the community Kenya Connect supports in the rural county of Machakos, and we are training teachers so they can equip their learners with coding and physical computing skills.

“Watching teachers and students find joy and excitement in learning has been tremendous! The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s hands-on approach is helping learners make connections through seeing how technology can be used for innovation to solve problems. We are excited to be partnering with Raspberry Pi Foundation and Team4Tech in bringing technology to our rural community.”

– Sharon Runge, Executive Director, Kenya Connect

We are providing the Wamunyu community with the hardware and the skills and knowledge training they need to use digital technology to create solutions to problems they see. The training will make sure that teachers across Machakos can sustain the EdTech Hub and computing education activities independently. This is important because we want the community to be empowered to solve problems that matter to them and for all the local young people to have opportunities that are open to their peers in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, and other cities in Kenya.

Launching the Dr Isaac Minae EdTech Hub in Wamunyu

In October this year, we travelled to Wamunyu to help Kenya Connect set up and launch the Dr Isaac Minae EdTech Hub, for which we provided hardware including Raspberry Pi 400 computers and physical computing kits with Raspberry Pi Pico microcontrollers, LEDs, buzzers, buttons, motors and more. We also held a teacher training session to start setting up the local educators with the skills and knowledge they need to teach coding and physical computing. In the training, educators brought a range of experiences with using computers. Some were unfamiliar with computer hardware, but at the end of the training session, they all had designed and created physical computing projects using electronic circuits and code. It was hugely inspiring to work with these teachers and see their enthusiasm and commitment to learning.

Through our two-year partnership with Kenya Connect, we aim to reach at least 1000 learners between the ages of 9 to 14 from 62 schools in Machakos county. We will work with at least 150 teachers to build their knowledge, skills, and confidence to teach coding, digital making, and robotics, and to run after-school Code Clubs. We’ll help teachers offer learning experiences based on our established learning paths to their students, and these experiences will include basic coding skills aligned to Kenya’s Competency Based Curriculum (CBC). We are putting particular focus on adapting our learning content so that teachers in Machakos can offer culturally relevant educational activities in their community. 

“Our partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation will open up new avenues for teachers to learn coding and physical computing. This is in line with the current Competency Based Curriculum that requires students to start learning coding at an early age. Though coding is entrenched in the curriculum, teachers are ill-prepared and schools lack devices. We are so grateful to the Raspberry Pi Foundation for providing teachers and students access to devices and the Raspberry Pi learning paths.”

– Patrick Munguti, Director of Education and Technology, Kenya Connect

Looking to the future

Next up for our work on this project is to continue supporting Kenya Connect to scale the program in the county.

A group of learners and educators pose together in rural Kenya.

In all our work in Sub-Saharan Africa, we are committed to strengthening and growing our partnerships with locally led youth and community organisations, the private sector, and the public sector, in line with our mission to open up more opportunities for young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies.

Our work in Sub-Saharan Africa is generously funded by the Ezra Charitable Trust.

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Reflecting on what we teach in computing education and how we teach it

Post Syndicated from James Robinson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/reflecting-on-computing-education-hello-world-special-editions/

Reflecting is important within any line of work, and computing education is no different. Reflective practice is always valuable, whether you support learners in a non-formal setting, such as a Code Club or CoderDojo, or in a more formal environment, such as a school or college. When you reflect, you might for example evaluate a session or lesson and make changes for next time, or consider whether to reorder activities and learning across a longer time period, or even think broadly about what you teach and how you teach it.

Two special editions of Hello World: The big book of computing content, and the big book of computing pedagogy.

This is where our two special editions of Hello World come in: The Big Book of Computing Content and The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy. Both available as free downloads, they help you reflect on what you teach within Computing and how you teach it.

What you teach: The Big Book of Computing Content

Computing is a broad and interdisciplinary subject, and different curricula and courses around the world focus on different aspects of it. For all of us, therefore, computing is framed by the curricula with which we are working and the terms which we’re using to talk about the subject. Over the past years at the Foundation, we have been developing a Computing taxonomy to help describe the different aspects of the subject. The Big Book of Computing Content is based on this taxonomy. The aim of this special edition of Hello World is to illustrate the breadth of Computing, and to model language that describes the different concepts, knowledge, and skills that comprise it.

Cover of The Big Book of Computing Content.
The Big Book of Computing Content explores what we mean by Computing and aims to provide a common language to describe the subject. This book complements our Hello World special edition on pedagogy, introducing research alongside practical articles from teachers.

We have organised this Big Book according to our taxonomy’s 11 content strands and also included progressive learning outcomes for each strand at different stages of learning. These outcomes are not prescriptive; instead they illustrate the wide applications of the subject by highlighting the kinds of knowledge and understanding that learners could develop in each area of Computing.

We hope that The Big Book of Computing Content encourages educators to reflect on all aspects of Computing and how they interconnect, as well as on the language we use to describe Computing. Whether the Big Book helps you to discover new aspects to Computing, to think about the subject differently, or simply to see the differences in how we as educators talk about our subject, the time you spend reflecting is important and valuable.

How you teach: The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy

One part of our work as educators is understanding the breadth of Computing and the specific ideas within it. The other part is reflecting on how we teach the subject: the specific methods, strategies, and practices we can use with our learners. The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy describes a range of teaching approaches framed around our 12 pedagogical principles for teaching Computing. Each research-informed principle either reflects how general-purpose pedagogy applies within Computing or explores pedagogies specific to Computing itself. This Big Book consists of research summaries as well as practical articles from educators which illustrate how you can apply the different pedagogies.

Cover of The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy.
Hello World’s special edition on pedagogy lays out approaches to teaching computing in the classroom. It bridges the gap between research and practice, giving you accessible chunks of research, followed by stories from educators.

Rather than prescribing a set of principles that educators must follow, the aim of The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy is to help you develop your understanding of a range of pedagogical approaches which you can select, apply, and adapt to suit your context.

Reflect to develop your knowledge and agency

Ultimately we want to support all Computing and Computer Science educators to build their understanding of subject matter (that is, content) and pedagogy, or what is called pedagogical content knowledge (PCK, a term popularised by Lee Shulman). Combining your PCK with your grasp of the context of your learners, curricula, and setting will enable you to choose suitable practices for your content and context.

Three computer science educators discuss something at a screen.

We hope that you find the two Big Books to be valuable reference tools to help you and your peers reflect on what it is you mean when you talk about Computing, and on how you teach the concepts, knowledge, and skills within it. Both books are available as free PDF downloads.

We would love to hear examples of how you have used The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy or The Big Book of Computing Content to inform your own teaching practice or to discuss practice with colleagues. Tell us in the comments.

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Spotlight on primary computing education in our 2023 seminar series

Post Syndicated from Bonnie Sheppard original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/primary-computing-education-research-seminar-series-2023/

We are excited to announce our next free online seminars, running monthly from January 2023 and focusing on primary school (K–5) teaching and learning of computing.

Two children code on laptops while an adult supports them.

Our seminars, having covered various topics in computing education over the last three years, will now offer you a close look at current questions and research in primary computing education. Through this series we want to connect research and teaching practice, and further primary computing education across the globe.

Are these seminars for me?

Our upcoming seminars are for everyone interested in computing education, not just for primary school teachers — you are all cordially invited to join us. Previous seminars have been attended by a valuable mix of teachers, volunteers, tech industry professionals, and researchers, all keen to explore how computing education research can be put into practice.

Learner using Scratch on a laptop.

Whether you teach in a classroom, or support learners in a coding club, you will find out how our youngest learners develop their computing knowledge. You’ll also explore with us what this means for your learning context in practical terms.

What you can expect from the online seminars

Each seminar starts with a presenter explaining, in easy-to-understand terms, some recent research they have done. The presentation is followed by a discussion in smaller groups. We then regroup for a Q&A session with the presenter.

Attendees of our previous seminars have said:

“The seminar will be useful in my practice when our coding club starts.”

“I love this initiative, your choice of speakers has been fantastic. You are creating a very valuable CPD resource for Computer Science teachers and educators all over the world. Thank you. 🙏”

“Just wanted to say a huge thank you for organising this. It was brilliant to hear the presentation but also the input from other educators in the breakout room. I currently teach in a department of one, which can be quite lonely, so to join other educators was brilliant and a real encouragement.” 

Learn from specialists to benefit your own learners

Computer science has been taught in universities for many years, and only more recently has the subject been introduced in schools. That means there isn’t a lot of research about computing education for school-aged learners yet, and even less research about how young children of primary school age learn about computing. 

Young learners at computers in a classroom.

That’s why we are excited to invite you to learn with us as we hear from international primary computing research teams who share their knowledge in our online seminars:

  • Tuesday 10 January 2023: Kicking off our series are Dr Katie Rich and Carla Strickland from Chicago with a seminar on how they developed new instructional materials for teaching variables in primary school. They will specifically focus on how they combined research with classroom realities, and share experiences of using their new materials in class. 
  • Tuesday 7 February 2023: Dr Jean Salac from the University of Washington is particularly interested in identifying and addressing inequities in the computing classroom, and will speak about a new learning strategy that has been found to improve students’ understanding of computing concepts and to increase equal access to computing.
  • Tuesday 7 March 2023: Our own Dr Bobby Whyte from the Raspberry Pi Foundation will share practical examples of how primary computing can be integrated into literacy education. He will specifically look at storytelling elements within computing education and discuss the benefits of combining competency areas.
  • May 2023: Information coming soon
  • Tuesday 6 June 2023: In a collaborative seminar, Aim Unahalekhaka from Tufts University in Massachusetts will first present her research into how children learn coding through ScratchJr. Participants are encouraged to bring a tablet or device with ScratchJr to then look at practical project evaluations and teaching strategies that can help young learners create purposefully.
  • Tuesday 12 September 2023: Joining us from the University of Passau in Germany, Luisa Greifenstein will speak about how to give children appropriate feedback that encourages positive attitudes towards computing education. In particular, she will be looking at the effects of different feedback strategies and present a new Scratch tool that offers automated feedback.
  • October 2023: Information coming soon
  • Tuesday 7 November 2023: We are delighted to be joined by Dr Aman Yadav from Michigan State University who will focus on computational thinking and its value for primary schooling. In his seminar, he will not only discuss the unique opportunities for computational thinking in primary school but also discuss findings from a recent project that focused on teachers’ perspectives. 

Sign up now to attend the seminars

All our seminars start at 17:00 UK time (18:00 CET / 12:00 noon ET / 9:00 PT) and take place in an online format. Sign up now to receive a calendar invitation and the link to join on the day of each seminar.

We look forward to seeing you soon, and to discussing with you how we can apply research results to better support all our learners.

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Introduce young people to coding with our updated projects

Post Syndicated from Liz Smart original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/introduction-to-scratch/

A year ago we launched our Introduction to Scratch path of six new coding projects. This was the first path to use our new 3…2…1…Make! approach for prioritising fun and engagement whilst enabling creators to make the things that matter to them. Creators learn how to add code, costumes, and sounds to sprites as they make animations, a game, an app, and a book.

Young person using Scratch.

As the first birthday of the Introduction to Scratch path approached, we decided to review and refresh each project. We used input from the community, looked at remixes of the projects, and analysed visitor data to guide us in our review.

We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who engaged in focus groups, provided input via social channels, or clicked the project feedback buttons. We really appreciate you taking the time to reach out and we hope you will be pleased with the changes. 

An illustration of the 3-2-1 structure of the new Raspberry Pi Foundation coding project paths.
Our project paths have a 3-2-1 structure (click the image to enlarge)

The updates are split into two parts, those we made specifically to the Introduction to Scratch path, and changes made across all of the 3…2…1…Make! projects.

3…2…1…Make! projects

The first thing you might notice is the revamp of our Introduction step, now called ‘You will make’. This simplified step focuses on setting the scene and encourages creators to play with a completed project example.

Young person using a computer.
Picture Conor McCabe Photography

Also changed is the Reflection step, replaced by ‘Quick quiz’ — a much neater page that guides creators through three questions before awarding a project badge. 

Introduction to Scratch

Here is an overview of the Scratch path to tell you more about the projects and the changes we’ve made to the content.

Creators can start using the updated Scratch projects right away!

Three Explore projects

Our first three projects in the path introduce creators to a set of skills and provide step-by-step instructions to help them develop initial confidence.

Explore 1: Space talk 

In this project, creators design a space scene with characters that emote to share their thoughts or feelings. We received some amazing feedback from a member of the Deaf community to enhance the Nano uses sign language task and include a great new boxout to prompt discussion amongst our creators.

We also heard from a couple of club leaders that the Text to Speech extension in Scratch was a great addition to this project so we added an optional Text to Speech information card to the Upgrade your project step.  

Three alien characters stood still on a planet. One alien has a speech bubble that says, "Hello!". Another has a thinking bubble that reads, "Hmm...".

Explore 2: Catch the bus

The bus in the Catch the bus project is a tour bus, but we originally used the school backdrop as a departure point. We liked how the backdrop looked but now recognise that doing a project about a school bus whilst in a club was probably not the most popular choice. Please forgive us! The project now uses a nighttime city scene.

We also removed the use of the ‘Timer hat block’ from this project — it isn’t needed for the rest of the path and has behaviour that complicates things. The ‘timer hat block’ has been replaced by a ‘wait block’.

A bus drives along a cityscape at night. Scratch cat is faced towards the bus. A hippo with wings flies alongside the bus and towards Scratch cat.

 

Explore 3: Find the bug

We have loved engaging with the community submissions of this project and really enjoyed seeing how quickly we can find the small bugs on each level of the games that have been created. With replicating that enthusiasm in mind, our changes to this project focused on young creators sharing their project and playing projects created by others.

Our new Share and play step has a number of options, including sharing in a club, submitting your project to a shared studio, and experiencing remixes as a user. We have also embedded some community projects into the step to provide upgrade ideas and inspiration.

An insect is on a blackboard. Next to the insect is a speech bubble that contains "13.10". A parrot is below the blackboard.

Two Design projects

The next two projects in the path encourage creators to practise the skills they learned in the previous ‘Explore’ projects, and to express themselves creatively while they grow in independence.

The revamped Get ideas task on the first step of each Design project now has a featured community project that will be regularly updated. You may also notice that the inspirational examples have been reordered or changed using analysis from interactions with them.

Additional community submissions can be found in the Share and play steps to provide upgrade ideas and creators are encouraged to look at remixes of the starter project for even more inspiration. 

Design 1: Silly eyes

Interacting with remixes of the Silly eyes project is one of our favourite things to do! The project involves creating a character whose eyes follow the mouse pointer. We love seeing how design decisions have shaped each project and how various upgrades have been used.

For this project, we decided to remove the ‘Add stage effects’ step as it was largely a repeat of the earlier ‘Add sprite effects’ step. Stage effects is now an optional upgrade which means creators can get through to the ‘Share and play’ step to look at the design decisions made by others, then use those to choose which ideas to include in their project. 

A sea creature with large eyes.

Design 2: Surprise animation

This project consists of creating an animation of a story. We looked at the remixes so far and realised the main steps of the surprise animations were:  

  1. Create your scene
  2. Show curiosity
  3. Add a surprise

Sometimes projects had a reaction in them but others relied on creating a reaction in the user watching the animation. With this in mind we moved the Reaction step and added it as an optional upgrade. We also added graphics to each step to explain the step position in the animation timeline.

A new option to remix one of the example projects was added to this project as a starting point if creators were short of time, needed help with ideas, or had perhaps already thought of an extension to the example animations. 

A filmstrip that contains three images.

One Invent project

Our final project in the path is where creators use their skills to meet a project brief for a particular audience.

The project brief has been revamped to make it more concise with the Reflection step becoming a checklist to keep track of how the project is meeting the brief. 

Invent: I made you a book

This project consists of creating a book with multiple pages to tell a story or share facts. The major change to this project is a reorganisation of the steps. The original planning step has now split in two — the first step to decide the high-level purpose and audience for the book and the second step to plan the book in more detail using either the starter Scratch project or our new planning sheet

A storyboard with images that have been drawn by hand.
Creators can use the new planning sheet to sketch their ideas on paper

The build and test step has also been restructured to break up the skills into categories and make the tasks clearer. At the end of the step, creators are encouraged to ask for feedback then repeat the process to work on their book until it is ready to share.  

What next?

We will start refreshing another path soon but in the meantime, we hope you and your creators enjoy using the revamped Introduction to Scratch path. We would love to hear your feedback on any of our projects via the feedback button on the bottom of each project page. 

Two learners working together at a computer.

We look forward to seeing what your creators make. 

The post Introduce young people to coding with our updated projects appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Take part in the Hour of Code

Post Syndicated from Liz Smart original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/hour-of-code-activities/

Launched in 2013, Hour of Code is an initiative to introduce young people to computer science using fun one-hour tutorials. To date, over 100 million young people have completed an hour of code with it. 

A girl doing a physical computing project.

Although the Hour of Code website is accessible all year round, every December for Computer Science Education Week people worldwide run their own Hour of Code events. Each year we love seeing many Code Clubs, CoderDojos, and young people at home across the community complete their Hour of Code. You can register your 2022 Hour of Code event now to run between 5 and 11 December. 

To support your event, we have pulled together a bumper set of our free coding projects, which can each be completed in just one hour. You will find these activities on the Hour of Code website.

Two young digital makers using Raspberry Pi

There’s something for all ages and levels of experience, so put an hour aside and help young people make something fabulous with code:

Ages 7–11

Beginner

For younger creators new to coding, a Scratch project is a great place to start. 

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With our Space talk project, they can create a space scene with characters that ‘emote’ to share their thoughts or feelings using sounds, colours, and actions. Creators program the character emotes using Scratch blocks to control graphic effects, costume animation, and sound effects. 

Alternatively, our Stress ball project lets them code an onscreen stress ball that reacts to user clicks. Creators use the Paint and Sound editors in Scratch to personalise a clickable stress ball, and they add Scratch blocks to control graphic effects, costume animation, and sound effects. 

We love this fun stress ball example sent to us recently by young creator April from the United States:

Another great option is to use Code Club World, which is a free tool to help children who are new to coding.  

Creators can develop a character avatar, design a T-shirt, make some music, and more.

Comfortable

For 7- to 11-year-olds who are more comfortable with block-based coding, our project Broadcasting spells is ideal to choose. With the project, they connect Scratch blocks to code a wand that casts spells turning sprites into toads, and growing and shrinking them. Creators use broadcast blocks to transform multiple sprites at once, and they create sound effects with the Sound editor in Scratch. 

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Ages 11–14

Beginner

We have three exciting projects for trying text-based coding during Hour of Code in this category. The first, Anime expressions, is one of our brand-new ‘Introduction to web development’ projects. With this project, young people create a responsive webpage with text and images for an anime drawing tutorial. They write HTML to structure the webpage and CSS styles to apply layout, colour palettes, and fonts. 

For a great introduction to coding with Python, we have the project Hello world from our ‘Introduction to Python’ path. With this project, creators write Python text-based code to create an interactive program that shows text and emojis based on user input. They learn about variables as they use them to store text and numbers, and they learn about writing functions to organise code and do calculations, retrieve the current date and time, and make a customisable dice. 

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LED firefly is a fantastic physical making project in which young people use a Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller and basic electronic components to create a blinking LED firefly. They program the LED’s light patterns with MicroPython code and activate it via a switch they make themselves using jumper wires.

A blinking LED with paper wings.

Comfortable

For 11- to 14-year-olds who are already comfortable with HTML, the Flip treat webcards project is a fun option. With this, they create a webpage showing a set of cards that flip when a visitor’s mouse pointer hovers over them. Creators use CSS styling and animations to add interactivity, then they customise the cards with fancy fonts and colour gradients.

Young people who have already done some Python coding can try out our project Target practice. With this project they create a game, using the p5 graphics library to draw a colourful target, and writing code so that the player scores points by hitting the target’s rings with arrows. While they create the project, they learn about RGB colours, shape positioning with x and y coordinates, and decisions using if, else-if, and else code statements. 

Ages 14+

Beginner

Our project Charting champions is a great introduction to data visualisation and analysis for coders aged 15 and older. With the project, they will discover the power of the Python programming language as they store Olympic medal data in lists and use the pygal library to create an interactive chart.

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Comfortable

Teenage coders who feel comfortable with Python programming can use our project Solar system simulator to code an animated, interactive solar system model using the Python p5 graphics library. Their model will be interactive, as they’ll use dictionaries to store planet facts that display when a user clicks on an orbiting planet.

Coding for Hour of Code and beyond

Now is the time to register your Hour of Code event, then decide which project you’d like to support young people to create. You can download certificates for each of the creators from the Hour of Code certificates page.

And make sure to check out our project paths so you know what projects you can help the young people you support to code beyond this one hour of code. 

We don’t just create activities so that other people can experience coding and digital making — we also get involved ourselves!

Two members of the Code Club working at computers.

Recently, our teams who support the Code Club and CoderDojo networks got together to make LED fireflies. We are excited to get coding again as part of Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week.

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At what age can a child start coding?

Post Syndicated from Marc Scott original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/what-age-can-a-child-start-coding/

Coding, or computer programming, is a way of writing instructions so that computers can complete tasks. Those instructions can be as simple as ‘move a toy robot forwards for three seconds and then make a beep’, or more complicated instructions, such as ‘check the weather in my local area and then adjust the heating in my house accordingly’.

A boy types code at a CoderDojo coding club.

Why should kids learn to code? 

Even if your child never writes computer programs, it is likely they already use software that coders have created, and in the future they may work with, manage, or hire people who write code. This is why it is important that everyone has an understanding of what coding is all about, and why we at the Raspberry Pi Foundation are passionate about inspiring and supporting children to learn to code for free.

When young people are given opportunities to create with code, they can do incredible things — from expressing themselves, to addressing real-world issues, to trying out the newest technologies. Learning to code also helps them develop resilience and problem-solving skills.

But at what age should you start your child on their journey to learn about coding? Is there a too young age? Will they miss out on opportunities if they start too late?

No matter at what age you introduce children to coding, one key element is empowering them to create things that are relevant to them. Above all else, coding should be a fun activity for kids.

Learning programming 

You might be surprised how young you can start children on their coding adventure. My own child started to learn when they were about six years old. And you can never be too old to learn to code. I didn’t start learning to program until I was in my late thirties, and I know many learners who decided to take up coding after their retirement.

Acquiring new skills and knowledge is often best accomplished when you are young. Learning a programming language is a little like learning a new spoken or written language. There are strict rules, special words to be used in specific orders and in different contexts, and even different ways of thinking depending on the languages you already know.

Two children code together on Code Club World.

When people first introduced computer programming into the world, there were big barriers to entry. People had to pay thousands of dollars for a computer and program it using punch cards. It was very unlikely that any child had access to the money or the skills required to create computer programs. Today’s world is very different, with computers costing as little as $35, companies creating tools and toys aimed at coding for children, and organisations such as ours, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and our children’s coding club networks Code Club and CoderDojo, that have the mission to introduce children to the world of coding for free.

Getting hands-on with coding

By the age of about four, a child is likely to have the motor skills and understanding to begin to interact with simple toys that introduce the very basics of coding. Bee-Bot and Cubelets are both excellent examples of child-friendly toy robots that can be programmed.

Bee-Bot is a small floor robot that children program by pressing simple combinations of direction buttons so that it moves following the instructions provided. This is a great way of introducing children to the concept of sequencing. Sequencing is the way computers follow instructions one after the other, executing each command in turn.

A woman and child follow instructions to build a digital making project at South London Raspberry Jam.

Cubelets can be used to introduce physical computing to children. With Cubelets, children can snap together physical blocks to create their own unique robots. These robots will perform actions such as moving or lighting up, depending on their surroundings, such as the distance your hand is from the robot or the brightness of light in the room. These are a good example of teaching how inputs to a program can affect the outputs — another key concept in coding.

Visual programming 

As your child gets older and becomes more used to using technology, and their eye-hand coordination improves, they might want to try out tools for visual programming. They can use free online programming platforms, such as ScratchJr on a tablet or phone or Scratch or Code Club World in a computer’s web browser. To learn more about these visual programming tools and what your child can create with them, read our blog post How do I start my child coding.

a sighted boy using Scratch on a laptop at home

Children can begin to explore Scratch or Code Club World from about the age of six, although it is important to understand that all young people develop at different speeds. We offer many free resources to help learners get started with visual, block-based programming languages, and the easiest places to start are our Introduction to Scratch path and the home island on Code Club World. Children and adults of all ages can learn a lot from Scratch, develop their own engaging activities, and most importantly, have fun doing so.

Text-based coding 

At around the ages of nine or ten, children’s typing skills are often sufficient for them to start using text-based languages. Again, it is important that they are allowed to have fun and express themselves, especially if they are moving on from Scratch. Our Introduction to Python path allows children to continue creating graphics while they program, as they are used to doing in Scratch; our Introduction to Web path will let them build their own simple websites to allow them to express their creative selves.

Two girls code at a laptop.
Picture: Conor McCabe Photography

There is no correct age to start learning

In my time at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, I have taught children as young as five and adults as old as seventy. There is no correct age at which a child can begin coding, and there are opportunities to begin at almost any age. The key to introducing coding to anyone is to make it engaging, relevant, and most of all fun!

The post At what age can a child start coding? appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Get kids creating webpages with HTML and CSS

Post Syndicated from Rik Cross original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/learning-html-and-css/

With our new free ‘Introduction to web development’ path, young people are able to learn HTML and create their own webpages on topics that matter to them. The path is made up of six projects that show children and teenagers how to structure pages using HTML, and style them using CSS. 

At Coolest Projects, a young person explores a coding project.

With all the website tools available today, why learn HTML? 

Webpage creation has come a long way since the 1990s, but HTML is still the markup language that is used to display almost every page on the World Wide Web. By knowing how it works, you can deepen your understanding of the technology you use every day.

If you want to build your own website today, there are many tools to get you quickly up and running. These tools often involve dragging and dropping predefined elements and choosing from a wide collection of themed looks. Learning HTML and CSS skills is important for web designers, developers, and content creators who want to build unique webpage designs that make their content stand out.

Six webpages, each with a unique design and based on a topic important to the creator.
The path helps young people express themselves through their own webpages

With our new ‘Introduction to web development’ path, we want creators (the young people who use our projects) to be able to quickly make fantastic-looking websites that follow modern best practices, while they also learn how HTML and CSS work together to create a webpage. Creators write their own HTML to develop the content and structure of their webpages. And they customise our pre-built CSS style sheets to get their webpages to look like they imagine.

This really is a fun and unique approach to learning HTML and building a webpage, and we think young people will quickly engage with it. They start by finding out how to structure pages using HTML before applying CSS styles that bring their pages to life. Through the six projects, they build all the skills and independence they need to make webpages that matter to them. 

Accessibility first

We believe that young people should find out about website accessibility right from the start of their learning journey. That’s why the path for learning HTML shows creators how they can make their websites accessible to all their users regardless of the users’ needs or digital devices.

That’s why our new path uses semantic HTML. Older HTML tutorials might show you how to structure a webpage using tags like <div> and <span>. In contrast, the meaning and purpose of tags in semantic HTML is very clear. For example:

  • <main> is used to tag the main content for the webpage
  • <footer> is used for content to be displayed in the footer
  • <blockquote> contains a quote and typically the author of the quote
  • <section> contains a portion of content that usually sits within the main part of the webpage

Semantic HTML supports accessibility because it allows people who use a screen reader to more easily navigate a webpage and read it in a logical way. 

Another element of accessible design that the path introduces is the colour combinations used on webpages. It is really important that contrasting colours are used for the background and the text. High contrast makes the text more readable, which means the webpage is more suitable for visually impaired users. 

Good and bad examples of colour contrasting on webpages.
It’s very important to use contrasting colours on a webpage

The path also shows creators the importance of adding meaningful alternative text for images. Good alternative text helps visually impaired users, and users who have a very low bandwidth and therefore turn images off in their web browser. 

With the path, young people will learn how to design webpages that respond to the device of the user

Finally, our path for learning HTML introduces creators to the concept of responsive web design. Responsive design is helpful because websites can be viewed on thousands of different devices. Some people view pages on large, high-resolution monitors, and others view them on a mobile phone screen. We show learners how they can use HTML and CSS to make their pages responsive so they display in the way that works best for the specific screen on which a user is viewing them.

Key questions answered

Who is the ‘Intro to web development’ path for?

We have written the projects in this path with young people of around the age from 9 to 17 in mind. 

HTML and CSS are text-based markup languages. This means a young person who wants to start learning HTML needs to be familiar with typing on a keyboard. It would also be helpful to have experience of using the copy and paste function, which is useful when changing the layout of a page or copying similar pieces of code. 

Young people attending a Dojo.

If a young person is unsure whether they have the right skills to get started with the path, they can first try out a short ‘Discover’ project. With this Discover project, young people can choose between the themes ‘space’, ‘sunsets’, ‘forests’, or ‘animals’ to see how they can create their first webpage in just five steps. (We’re still working on the ‘Discover’ project type, so if you have any feedback about it, let us know.)

An example step from the Discover project, forest theme.
Young people can experiment with our Discover project to build their own webpage in just a few steps

What will young people learn with the path?

Creators will learn how to use HTML and CSS to build webpages that have:

  • Images
  • Lists
  • Quotes 
  • Links 
  • Animations
  • Imported fonts

They will also learn about how to make their webpages accessible to all through use of:

  • Semantic HTML
  • Alternative text for images
  • Colour contrast checking
  • Responsive design (means the webpage adapts to the device on which it is viewed)

How long does the path take to complete?

We’ve designed the path so young people can complete it in six one-hour sessions, with one hour for each project. Since the project instructions encourage creators to upgrade their projects, they may wish to go further and spend a little more time getting their projects exactly as they imagine them. 

A CoderDojo coding session for young people.

What software is needed to create the projects in the path?

Young people only need a standard web browser to follow the project instructions and use an online code editor to create their webpages. 

What can young people do next?

Explore our other projects for learning HTML

There are 28 other step-by-step projects for creators to choose from on our website. They can browse through these to see what cool things they’d like to make and what new skills they want to learn.

Build a webpage for Coolest Projects 

If your kid is proud of the webpage they create with the final ‘Invent’ project in the path, they can share it with a worldwide community of young creators in our free Coolest Projects tech showcase. Project registration will open again in spring 2023. You can sign up to hear news about the showcase on the Coolest Projects homepage.

Two teenage girls participating in Coolest Projects shows off their tech project.
Details about the projects in ‘Intro to web development’

The ‘Intro to web development’ path is structured according to our Digital Making Framework, with three Explore projects, two Design projects, and a final Invent project. You can also check out our learning graph to to see the progression of young people’s skills and knowledge throughout the path.

Explore project 1: Anime expressions



In the ‘Anime expressions’ project, creators build and style a webpage for an anime drawing tutorial. They learn how to use HTML tags to structure a webpage; use CSS to apply layout, colours, and fonts; and add images and text content to their page.  

Explore project 2: Top 5 emojis



With the ‘Top 5 emojis’ project, young people create a webpage displaying their top 5 list of emojis. They learn how to add emojis, create a list, use a block quote, and animate elements of the page. 

Explore project 3: Flip treat webcards



With the ‘Flip treat webcards’ project, creators make a webpage showing a flip card with a treat from around the world. They use CSS to make the card flip over when a user interacts with it. Creators also learn how to apply gradients and import fonts from Google Fonts

Design project 1: Mood board



This Design project gives creators the chance to develop the skills that they have learned in the three ‘Explore’ projects. With the ‘Mood board’ project, young people create a webpage to display a mood board for a real or imaginary project. The mood board could, for example, show ideas for a party, a fashion item, a redesign of their bedroom, or a website; or it could show reminders of all the things that make them happy. 

Design project 2: Sell me something

 




The ‘Sell me something’ project is another chance for creators to practise the skills that they have gained in the ‘Explore’ projects. They create a webpage to ‘sell something’ to the webpages visitors. It could be anything they like, from an object they love, to a game they like to play. 

Invent project: Build a webpage

 




The ‘Build a webpage’ project is the final project in the path and allows young people to independently build a webpage on any topic they’re interested in. This Invent project offers info cards to remind creators of the key skills they’ve learned with the path, and a light structure to support them through the process of making their webpage. Young people are encouraged to showcase their final webpages in the path gallery to inspire other creators. 

The post Get kids creating webpages with HTML and CSS appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

California State University Chancellor’s Office reduces cost and improves efficiency using Amazon QuickSight for streamlined HR reporting in higher education

Post Syndicated from Madi Hsieh original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/big-data/california-state-university-chancellors-office-reduces-cost-and-improves-efficiency-using-amazon-quicksight-for-streamlined-hr-reporting-in-higher-education/

The California State University Chancellor’s Office (CSUCO) sits at the center of America’s most significant and diverse 4-year universities. The California State University (CSU) serves approximately 477,000 students and employs more than 55,000 staff and faculty members across 23 universities and 7 off-campus centers. The CSU provides students with opportunities to develop intellectually and personally, and to contribute back to the communities throughout California. For this large organization, managing a wide system of campuses while maintaining the decentralized autonomy of each is crucial. In 2019, they needed a highly secure tool to streamline the process of pulling HR data. The CSU had been using a legacy central data warehouse based on data from their financial system, but it lacked the robustness to keep up with modern technology. This wasn’t going to work for their HR reporting needs.

Looking for a tool to match the cloud-based infrastructure of their other operations, the Business Intelligence and Data Operations (BI/DO) team within the Chancellor’s Office chose Amazon QuickSight, a fast, easy-to-use, cloud-powered business analytics service that makes it easy for all employees within an organization to build visualizations, perform ad hoc analysis, and quickly get business insights from their data, any time, on any device. The team uses QuickSight to organize HR information across the CSU, implementing a centralized security system.

“It’s easy to use, very straightforward, and relatively intuitive. When you couple the experience of using QuickSight, with a huge cost difference to [the BI platform we had been using], to me, it’s a simple choice,”

– Andy Sydnor, Director Business Intelligence and Data Operations at the CSUCO.

With QuickSight, the team has the capability to harness security measures and deliver data insights efficiently across their campuses.

In this post, we share how the CSUCO uses QuickSight to reduce cost and improve efficiency in their HR reporting.

Delivering BI insights across the CSU’s 23 universities

The CSUCO serves the university system’s faculty, students, and staff by overseeing operations in several areas, including finance, HR, student information, and space and facilities. Since migrating to QuickSight in 2019, the team has built dashboards to support these operations. Dashboards include COVID-related leaves of absence, historical financial reports, and employee training data, along with a large selection of dashboards to track employee data at an individual campus level or from a system-wide perspective.

The team created a process for reading security roles from the ERP system and then translating them using QuickSight groups for internal HR reporting. QuickSight allowed them to match security measures with the benefits of low maintenance and familiarity to their end-users.

With QuickSight, the CSUCO is able to run a decentralized security process where campus security teams can provision access directly and users can get to their data faster. Before transitioning to QuickSight, the BI/DO team spent hours trying to get to specific individual-level data, but with QuickSight, the retrieval time was shortened to just minutes. For the first time, Sydnor and his team were able to pinpoint a specific employee’s work history without having to take additional actions to find the exact data they needed.

Cost savings compared to other BI tools

Sydnor shares that, for a public organization, one of the most attractive qualities of QuickSight is the immense cost savings. The BI/DO team at the Chancellor’s Office estimates that they’re saving roughly 40% on costs since switching from their previous BI platform, which is a huge benefit for a public organization of this scale. Their previous BI tool was costing them extensive amounts of money on licensing for features they didn’t require; the CSUCO felt they weren’t getting the best use of their investment.

The functionality of QuickSight to meet their reporting needs at an affordable price point is what makes QuickSight the CSUCO’s preferred BI reporting tool. Sydnor likes that with QuickSight, “we don’t have to go out and buy a subscription or a license for somebody, we can just provision access. It’s much easier to distribute the product.” QuickSight allows the CSUCO to focus their budget in other areas rather than having to pay for charges by infrequent users.

Simple and intuitive interface

Getting started in QuickSight was a no-brainer for Sydnor and his team. As a public organization, the procurement process can be cumbersome, thereby slowing down valuable time for putting their data to action. As an existing AWS customer, the CSUCO could seamlessly integrate QuickSight into their package of AWS services. An issue they were running into with other BI tools was encountering roadblocks to setting up the system, which wasn’t an issue with QuickSight, because it’s a fully managed service that doesn’t require deploying any servers.

The following screenshot shows an example of the CSUCO security audit dashboard.

example of the CSUCO security audit dashboard.

Sydnor tells us, “Our previous BI tool had a huge library of visualization, but we don’t need 95% of those. Our presentations look great with the breadth of visuals QuickSight provides. Most people just want the data and ultimately, need a robust vehicle to get data out of a database and onto a table or visualization.”

Converting from their original BI tool to QuickSight was painless for his team. Sydnor tells us that he has “yet to see something we can’t do with QuickSight.” One of Sydnor’s employees who was a user of the previous tool learned QuickSight in just 30 minutes. Now, they conduct QuickSight demos all the time.

Looking to the future: Expanding BI integration and adopting Amazon QuickSight Q

With QuickSight, the Chancellor’s Office aims to roll out more HR dashboards across its campuses and extend the tool for faculty use in the classroom. In the upcoming year, two campuses are joining CSUCO in building their own HR reporting dashboards through QuickSight. The organization is also making plans to use QuickSight to report on student data and implement external-facing dashboards. Some of the data points they’re excited to explore are insights into at-risk students and classroom scheduling on campus.

Thinking ahead, CSUCO is considering Amazon QuickSight Q, a machine learning-powered natural language capability that gives anyone in an organization the ability to ask business questions in natural language and receive accurate answers with relevant visualizations. Sydnor says, “How cool would that be if professors could go in and ask simple, straightforward questions like, ‘How many of my department’s students are taking full course loads this semester?’ It has a lot of potential.”

Summary

The CSUCO is excited to be a champion of QuickSight in the CSU, and are looking for ways to increase its implementation across their organization in the future.

To learn more, visit the website for the California State University Chancellor’s Office. For more on QuickSight, visit the Amazon QuickSight product page, or browse other Big Data Blog posts featuring QuickSight.


About the authors

Madi Hsieh, AWS 2022 Summer Intern, UCLA.

Tina Kelleher, Program Manager at AWS.

Learn to program in Python with our online courses

Post Syndicated from Rosa Brown original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/learn-to-program-in-python-online-courses-for-teachers/

If you’re new to teaching programming or looking to build or refresh your programming knowledge, we have a free resource that is perfect for you. Our ‘Learn to program in Python’ online course pathway is for educators who want to develop their understanding of the text-based language Python. Each course is packed with information and activities to help you apply what you learn in your classroom teaching.

A computing teacher and a learner do physical computing in the primary school classroom.

Why learn to program in Python?

Writing a program in Python is very similar to writing in English, which makes starting to program much easier. Python is also a general-purpose programming language, so once you’ve learned the basics, you can use Python for lots of different programming activities.

That’s why Python is a perfect choice for learning to program, and why many of our educational resources involve Python. Our seven online Python courses cover aspects from taking your first steps into programming, to writing a program to control an electronic circuit, to learning about object-oriented programming.

With time and practice, you will be able to use Python programming to create unique solutions to problems, build helpful tools, and make things that are important to you.

How does the Python course pathway work? 

The courses in the pathway have been written by our educators and include advice and activities to help you teach programming in your classroom. You can reuse the course activities to explain programming concepts to your learners and get them to write programs themselves. Because you will have first-hand experience of the activities, you’ll be able to anticipate your learners’ difficulties and adapt your lessons to suit them.

In a computing classroom, a smiling girl raises her hand.

All the courses are designed to take three or four weeks to complete, based on you spending two hours a week on participating. You can have free time-limited access to each course for the length of time it’s designed to take to complete. For example, if it’s a four-week course, like ‘Programming 101’, you can sign up for free to get four weeks of access.

The seven courses in the Python path can be completed in any order you like, and you can choose the courses that match your interests and needs.

A room of educators at desktop computers.

Each course involves activities that help you create a programming project using the concepts that you’re learning about. These activities are designed to be a fun and interactive way to reinforce what you’ve learned and can also be used with your learners in the classroom.

Course spotlight: Programming 101

If programming is completely new to you, our ‘Programming 101’ course is the best place to start. In ‘Programming 101’, we use this definition of programming to start with the idea that programming is about you telling a computer what to do: 

“Programming is how you get computers to solve problems.” 

We see programming as a chance to think creatively about a problem and about all the different ways it could be solved. While you might be unfamiliar with terms like programming, algorithms, or selection, the ‘Programming 101’ course demonstrates how they touch on things that many of us know from other areas of our lives.

On the course, you will:

  • Learn about basic programming concepts such as sequencing and repetition
  • Start to write your own programs
  • Discover how to interpret error messages to find and fix mistakes in your programs

What will you make in the courses?

Through building an understanding of programming, you will see how you can write your own programs to make games, quizzes, physical computing projects, and more. Here’s look at some of the things you could make in three of the seven courses: 

  • Programming 101: Write your first program in Python to make a personal assistant bot. You’ll discover how to make the output of your program respond to the user’s input.  
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You’ll write a program to create personal assistant bot in the ‘Programming 101’ course for beginners.
  • Programming with GUIs: Build a game where players compare two sets of emoji to find the emoji that matches. To make this game, you’ll use what you learn in the course to design the layout of a graphic user interface (GUI) and make sure only one emoji appears twice. 
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You’ll make an interactive graphic game in the ‘Programming with GUIs’ course.
  • Object-oriented Programming: Create a text-based adventure game with a character on a quest through different rooms! You’ll discover how to write a program that reacts to user input, and how to write your own code to create more challenges within the game based on your ideas.    

So check out our courses and start gaining Python programming skills today!

Python programming resources for young people

If you want to help your learners develop their understanding of programming in Python, you’ll be interested in these free resources we’ve created for young people: 

Introduction to Python: Our guided project path for learners who are new to text-based programming. We have created these projects with young people around the age of 9 to 13 in mind. Each project takes one hour to complete, and learners can make their own fun programs while learning about Python.

More Python: Our guided project path for learners who want to move beyond the ‘Intro to Python’ path to write programs that contain charts, artwork, and more. We’ve written these projects for young people around the age of 10 to 13.

Isaac Computer Science: This learning platform we’ve created for GCSE and A level students (age 14 to 18) uses Python and other text-based languages to teach the programming concepts within England’s computer science curriculum.   

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A taxonomy of Computing content for education

Post Syndicated from James Robinson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/taxonomy-computing-content-computer-science-education/

Supporting educators to provide high-quality computing education has always been integral to our mission. In 2018, we began creating more learning resources for formal education settings. The UK government had recently announced future investment in supporting computing educators. Schools in England were offering the national Computing curriculum established in 2014. (In the USA, a more common term for prescribed education content is ‘standards’.)

England’s Computing curriculum requires that all learners be taught the subject between ages 5 and 16, and it consists of only 25 statements outlining expectations for learners. To accompany this curriculum, we started developing a framework to help us describe the subject of Computing, and in particular the common threads running through it.

A 2012 report by the Royal Society presented the breadth of computing by dividing it into three areas: information technology, computer science, and digital literacy. Although this goes some way to describe computing as a discipline, in our view this model creates artificial divides between aspects of the subject according to whether they are seen as more or less technical. Our more holistic view of computing recognises that concepts and skills within the subject are far more interconnected.

Principles for our taxonomy

When we set out to develop our framework, the goal was to provide a way to look at and describe the subject of Computing as a set of interconnected topics; the framework doesn’t define standards or curricula. There are, of course, many ways of organising the subject matter, implemented through exam specifications, textbooks, schemes of learning, and various progression guides. For our framework, we reviewed examples of each of these, from England and beyond, and decided on some organisational principles:

  • Our framework should describe the whole of Computing, incorporating computer science, information technology, and digital literacy
  • The framework should be applicable across primary and secondary education, meaning it should be useful for categorising the knowledge encountered by all learners, from five-year-olds to our oldest secondary school students
  • While inspired by England’s national curriculum, the framework should be independent of any particular exam specification and capable of adaptation to new curricula
  • The framework should represent Computing as a discipline that combines a broad mixture of concepts and skills 

Developing the taxonomy

Following these principles, we identified ten content themes, or strands, that thread through a learner’s journey in Computing education. We call this framework representing the knowledge and skills that make up the subject our Computing taxonomy. As the Foundation is part of the consortium that established the National Centre for Computing Education in England, our taxonomy became a cornerstone of the work of the Centre, providing a common language to describe Computing in English schools.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation's computing content taxonomy, made of 11 strands: effective use of tools, safety and security, design and development, impact of technology, computing systems, networks, creating media, algorithms and data structures, programming, data and information, artificial intelligence.
The 11 content strands we’ve identified for the subject of Computing.

Computing is, of course, a constantly evolving field and as such, our taxonomy evolves with it. Since 2018 we’ve iterated our taxonomy to incorporate new things we’ve learned, for example relating to the rapid developments of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in recent years. AI now is a significant area of study and represented as its own strand in our current taxonomy, bringing the number of strands up to eleven:

  • Effective use of tools
  • Safety and security
  • Design and development
  • Impact of technology
  • Computing systems
  • Networks
  • Creating media
  • Algorithms and data structures
  • Programming
  • Data and information
  • Artificial intelligence

Given the interconnected nature of Computing, we embrace a best-fit approach to content categorisation, choosing the most appropriate strand(s) for each idea. In developing our Computing taxonomy, we determined that four of the strands (the horizontal strands in the diagram) were best taught interwoven with the others, in context rather than as discrete topics. A good example of this is the strand ‘Safety and security’, which focuses on supporting learners to realise the benefits of digital technology without putting themselves and others at risk. While it would be possible to teach this strand as one discrete set of lessons, revisiting it throughout a learner’s journey provides regular reinforcement as well as grounding in the context of other strands.

Within the strands, we have also identified progressive learning outcomes for each stage of learning. These learning outcomes are illustrative of the kinds of knowledge and understanding that learners could develop in each area of Computing. They are not prescriptive and instead aim to illustrate the wide applications of the discipline.

Coming soon: The Big Book of Computing Content

On 24 October, we will publish The Big Book of Computing Content. Framed by our taxonomy, The Big Book of Computing Content presents our work so far in describing the diverse range of concepts and skills that comprise Computing. It also includes the illustrative learning outcomes we’ve identified.

Cover of The Big Book of Computing Content.

This will be the second special edition of Hello World, our free magazine for computing educators. The new Big Book complements our first special edition, The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy, in which we lay out 12 key principles for teaching the subject.

The Big Book of Computing Content will be available in print and as a free PDF download; if you subscribe now, you’ll receive the PDF in your inbox on publication day.

Share your thoughts on our taxonomy

We hope our taxonomy and the new Big Book enable you to reflect on the breadth of Computing and resonate with your teaching. Please share your reflections, in the comments below or by tagging us on social media, if you’d like to help us develop the taxonomy further.

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Experience AI with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and DeepMind

Post Syndicated from Philip Colligan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/experience-ai-deepmind-ai-education/

I am delighted to announce a new collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation and a leading AI company, DeepMind, to inspire the next generation of AI leaders.

Young people work together to investigate computer hardware.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s mission is to enable young people to realise their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies. Our vision is that every young person — whatever their background — should have the opportunity to learn how to create and solve problems with computers.

With the rapid advances in artificial intelligence — from machine learning and robotics, to computer vision and natural language processing — it’s increasingly important that young people understand how AI is affecting their lives now and the role that it can play in their future. 

DeepMind logo.

Experience AI is a new collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation and DeepMind that aims to help young people understand how AI works and how it is changing the world. We want to inspire young people about the careers in AI and help them understand how to access those opportunities, including through their subject choices. 

Experience AI 

More than anything, we want to make AI relevant and accessible to young people from all backgrounds, and to make sure that we engage young people from backgrounds that are underrepresented in AI careers. 

The program has two strands: Inspire and Experiment. 

Inspire: To engage and inspire students about AI and its impact on the world, we are developing a set of free learning resources and materials including lesson plans, assembly packs, videos, and webinars, alongside training and support for educators. This will include an introduction to the technologies that enable AI; how AI models are trained; how to frame problems for AI to solve; the societal and ethical implications of AI; and career opportunities. All of this will be designed around real-world and relatable applications of AI, engaging a wide range of diverse interests and useful to teachers from different subjects.

In a computing classroom, two girls concentrate on their programming task.

Experiment: Building on the excitement generated through Inspire, we are also designing an AI challenge that will support young people to experiment with AI technologies and explore how these can be used to solve real-world problems. This will provide an opportunity for students to get hands-on with technology and data, along with support for educators. 

Our initial focus is learners aged 11 to 14 in the UK. We are working with teachers, students, and DeepMind engineers to ensure that the materials and learning experiences are engaging and accessible to all, and that they reflect the latest AI technologies and their application.

A woman teacher helps a young person with a coding project.

As with all of our work, we want to be research-led and the Raspberry Pi Foundation research team has been working over the past year to understand the latest research on what works in AI education.

Next steps 

Development of the Inspire learning materials is underway now, and we will release the whole set of resources early in 2023. Throughout 2023, we will design and pilot the Experiment challenge.

If you want to stay up to date with Experience AI, or if you’d like to be involved in testing the materials, fill in this form to register your interest.

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Back to school 2022: Our support for teachers

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/back-to-school-2022-support-teachers-computing-computer-science/

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.

A waving person.

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.

A waving person.

James Robinson dedicates his work at the Foundation to creating free pedagogical resources that underpin the classroom practice of computing teachers worldwide. He has led the creation of the Pedagogy Quick Reads and the Research Bytes newsletter for the NCCE, and the development of our 12 principles of computing pedagogy, available as a handy poster. He also works on our Hello World magazine, produces the associated Hello World podcast, and curates Hello World’s special issues, such as The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy.

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.

A waving person.

Allen Heard and his team have very recently completed a huge project: creating a full curriculum of GCSE topics and associated questions for Isaac Computer Science, our free online learning platform for teachers and students. The new topics cover the entirety of the GCSE exam board specifications for AQA, Edexcel, Eduqas, OCR, and WJEC, and are integrated with our existing A level computer science resources. They are great to pick up and use for classwork, homework, and revision.  

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.

A waving person.

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.

A waving person.

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.

Thanks, everyone.

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?

Young learners at computers in a classroom.

We’re currently looking for teachers to take part in our research project around primary school culturally adapted resources, running from October 2022 to July 2023. Find out more about what taking part involves.

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What we learnt from the CSTA 2022 Annual Conference

Post Syndicated from James Robinson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/what-we-learnt-from-the-csta-2022-annual-conference/

From experience, being connected to a community of fellow computing educators is really important, especially given that some members of the community may be the only computing educator in their school, district, or country. These professional connections enable educators to share and learn from each other, develop their practice, and importantly reduce any feelings of isolation.

It was great to see the return of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Annual Conference to an in-person event this year, and I was really excited to be able to attend.

A teacher attending Picademy laughs as she works through an activity

Our small Raspberry Pi Foundation team headed to Chicago for four and a half days of meetups, professional development, and conversations with educators from all across the US and around the world. Over the week our team ran workshops, delivered a keynote talk, gave away copies of Hello World magazine, and signed up many new subscribers. You too can subscribe to Hello World magazine for free at helloworld.cc/subscribe.

We spoke to so many educators about all parts of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s work, with a particular focus on the Hello World magazine and podcast, and of course The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy. In collaboration with CSTA, we were really proud to be able to provide all attendees with their own physical copy of this very special edition. 

It was genuinely exciting to see how pleased attendees were to receive their copy of The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy. So many came to talk to us about how they’d used the digital copy already and their plans for using the book for training and development initiatives in their schools and districts. We gave away every last spare copy we had to teachers who wanted to share the book with their colleagues who couldn’t attend.

Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it to the conference, The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy is available as a free PDF, which due to its Creative Commons licence you are welcome to print for yourself.

Another goal for us at CSTA was to support and encourage new authors to the magazine in order to ensure that Hello World continues to be the magazine for computing educators, by computing educators. Anyone can propose an article idea for Hello World by completing this form. We’re confident that every computing educator out there has at least one story to tell, lessons or learnings to share, or perhaps a cautionary tale of something that failed.

We’ll review any and all ideas and will support you to craft your idea into a finished article. This is exactly what we began to do at the conference with our workshop for writers led by Gemma Coleman, our fantastic Hello World Editor. We’re really excited to see these ideas flourish into full-blown articles over the coming weeks and months.

Our week culminated in a keynote talk delivered by Sue, Jane, and James, exploring how we developed our 12 pedagogy principles that underpin The Big Book of Computing Pedagogy, as well as much of the content we create at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. These principles are designed to describe a set of approaches that educators can add to their toolkit, giving them a shared language and the agency to select when and how they employ each approach. This was something we explored with teachers in our final breakout session where teachers applied these principles to describe a lesson or activity of their own.

We found the experience extremely valuable and relished the opportunity to talk about teaching and learning with educators and share our work. We are incredibly grateful to the entire CSTA team for organising a fantastic conference and inviting us to participate.

Discover more with Hello World — for free

Cover of issue 19 of Hello World magazine.

Subscribe now to get each new Hello World straight to your digital inbox, for free! And if you’re based in the UK and do paid or unpaid work in education, you can subscribe for free print issues.

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Learn how to teach computing to 5- to 11-year-olds

Post Syndicated from Rosa Brown original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/introducing-our-new-course-pathway-for-educators-teaching-computing-to-5-to-11-year-olds/

Introducing children to computing concepts from a young age can help develop their interest and attachment to the subject. While parents might wonder what the best tools and resources are for this, primary and K1–5 educators also need to know what approaches work with their learners.

Girls writing programs on their computers.

‘Teaching computing to 5- to 11-year-olds’ is one of the new course pathways we’ve designed to help educators spark young people’s interest in the subject. Our online courses are made by a team of writers, videographers, illustrators, animators, copy editors, presenters, and subject matter experts. They work together over months of production to create high-quality educational video content for participants all over the world.

This course pathway offers advice and practical activities to: 

  • Support young people to create and solve problems with technology
  • Promote the relevance of computing in young people’s lives
  • Create inclusive learning experiences   

Our new course pathway for primary educators  

The nine courses included give you a comprehensive understanding of teaching computing to younger learners (5- to 11-year-olds). All the courses have been written by a team of subject matter experts, education professionals, and teachers. Some of the courses cover a specific topic, such as programming or physical computing, while others help educators reflect on their teaching practice

Child using Scratch on a laptop.
With Scratch, young people can learn how to program their own games, animations, stories, and more!

All of the courses include a range of ideas to use in your own programming sessions. The activities will help you to introduce concepts like computer networks and the internet to young learners in a relatable way. There are also activities to help learners progress within a topic, such as moving from a block-based programming language like Scratch to a text-based one like Python.      

What will I gain from the courses? 

The courses are an opportunity to: 

  • Discover new computing activities
  • Get support from our team of course facilitators
  • Meet other educators from around the world!  

Do I need any previous experience with computing?

These courses will give you everything you need to teach computing to young learners. No computing experience is required. 

There is also no specific order in which you need to complete the courses. We want educators to complete the courses in an order that makes sense to them.

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If you are new to teaching computing, ‘Get started teaching computing in primary schools’ is the place to start. The four-week course will encourage you to think about why it’s important for your learners to build their understanding around computing. You’ll discover how to support learners to become digital makers who can use technology to solve problems. Everyone who registers on the course will have access to an action plan to help implement what they have learnt into their teaching practice.            

Who is the pathway for? 

These are free courses for anyone, anywhere, who is interested in teaching young people about computing. 

A teacher aids children in the classroom

How much time will I spend on each course? 

All of the courses take between two and four weeks to complete, based on participants spending two hours a week on a course. You will have free access to each course for the length of time it takes to complete it. For example, if it’s a two week course, like ‘Creating an inclusive classroom: approaches to supporting learners with SEND in computing’, you will have two weeks of free access to the course. 

Discover what you could learn with ‘Teaching computing to 5- to 11-year-olds’ today.

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How to create great educational video content for computing and beyond

Post Syndicated from Michael Conterio original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/how-to-create-educational-video-content-computing-computer-science/

Over the past five years, we’ve made lots of online educational video content for our online courses, for our Isaac Computer Science platform for GCSE and A level, and for our remote lessons based on our Teach Computing Curriculum hosted on Oak National Academy.

We have learned a lot from experience and from learner feedback, and we want to share this knowledge with others. We’re also aware there’s always more to learn from people across the computing education community. That’s one reason we’re continually working to broaden the range of educators we work with. Another is that we want all learners to see themselves represented in our educational materials, because everyone belongs in computer science.

Facilitators and participants involved in the Teach Online programme.
RPF staff and the Teach Online participants

To make progress with all these goals, we ran a pilot programme for educators called Teach Online at the end of 2021 and the start of 2022. Through Teach Online, we provided twelve educators with training, opportunities, and financial and material support to help them with creating online educational content, particularly videos.

Over five online sessions and a final in-person day, we trained them in not only the production of educational videos, but also some of the pedagogy behind it. The pilot programme has now finished, and we thought we’d share some of the key points from the sessions with you in the wider community.

Learning to create a great online learning experience

When you learn new skills and knowledge, it’s important to think about how you apply these. For this reason, a useful question you can use throughout the learning process is “Why?”. So as you think about how to create the best online learning experience, ask yourself in different contexts throughout the content design and production:

  • Why am I using this style of video to illustrate this topic?
  • Why am I presenting these ideas in this order?
  • Why am I using this choice of words?

For example, it’s easy to default to creating ‘talking head’ videos featuring one person talking directly to the camera. But you should always ask why — what are the reasons for using a ‘talking head’ style. Instead, or in addition, you can make videos more engaging and support the learning experience by:

  • Turning the video into an interview
  • Adding other camera angles or screencasts to focus on demonstrations
  • Cutting away to B-roll footage (additional video that can provide context or related action, while the voiceover continues) or to still images that help connect a concept to concrete examples
Teach Computing programme participant.
Teach Online participants explored different ways to make their videos engaging

Planning is key

By planning your content carefully instead of jumping into production right away, you can:

  • Better visualise what your video should look like by creating a storyboard
  • Keep learners engaged by deliberately splitting learning up into smaller chunks while still keeping a narrative flow between them
  • Develop your learners’ understanding of key computing concepts by using semantic waves to unpack and repack concepts

The Teach Online participants told us that they particularly enjoyed learning more about planning videos:

“I now understand that a little planning can make the difference between a mediocre online learning experience and a professional-looking valuable learning experience.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

“Planning the session using a storyboard is so helpful to visualise the actual recording.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

Storyboard from a Teach Computing participant.
Storyboards are a great option to plan online learning experiences

Considering equity, diversity, and inclusion

We are committed to making computing and computer science accessible and engaging, so we embed measures to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout our free learning and teaching resources, including the Teach Online programme. It’s important not to leave this aspect of creating educational content as an afterthought: you can only make sure that your content is truly as equitable and inclusive as you can make it if you address this at every stage of your process. As an added bonus, many ways of making your content more accessible not only benefit learners with specific needs, but support and engage all of your audience so everyone can learn more easily.

Best practices that you can use while creating online content include:

Connecting with your learner audience

One of video’s key advantages is the ability to immediately connect with the audience. To help with that, you can try to talk directly to a single viewer, using “you” and “I” rather than “we”. You can also show off your personality in the presentation slides you use and the backgrounds of your videos.

“[I will use my learning from the programme] by adapting teaching and learning to actively engage learners.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

It’s important to find your own personal presenting style. There is not one perfect way to present, and you should experiment to find how you are best able to communicate with your viewers. How formal or informal will you be? Is your delivery calm or energetic? Whatever you decide, you may want to edit your script to better fit your style. A practical tip for doing this is to read your video scripts aloud while you are writing them to spot any language that feels awkward to you when spoken. 

“It was really great to try the presenting skills, and I learned a lot about my style.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

A videographer preparing to film a course presenter.

Connecting with each other

Throughout the Teach Online programme, we helped participants create a community with each other. Finding your own community can give you the support that you need to create, and help you continue to develop your knowledge and skills. Working together is great, whether that’s collaborating in-person locally, or online via for example the CAS forums or social media.

“I very much liked the diverse group of educators in this programme, and appreciated everyone sharing their experiences and tips.” – Educator who participated in our Teach Online programme

The Teach Online graduate have told us about the positive impact the programme has had on their teaching in their own contexts. So far we’ve worked with graduates to create Isaac Computer Science videos covering data structures, high- and low-level languages, and string handling.

What do you want to know about creating online educational content?

There is a growing need for online educational content, particularly videos — not only to improve access to education, but also to support in-person teaching. By investing in training educators, we help diversify the pool of people working in this area, improve the confidence of those who would like to start, and provide them with the skills and knowledge to successfully create great content for their learners.

In the future we’d also like to support the wider community of educators with creating online educational content. What resources would you find useful? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The post How to create great educational video content for computing and beyond appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

How do I start my child coding?

Post Syndicated from Marc Scott original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/how-do-i-start-my-child-coding/

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.

A boy types code at a CoderDojo coding club.

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.

Scratch Junior 

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.

ScratchJr programming interface.

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

Scratch

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.

A girl with her Scratch project
A girl with a Scratch project she has coded.

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.

Python 

If you’re looking for more traditional programming languages for your child to progress on to, especially when they reach 12 years of age or beyond, then we like to direct our young learners to the Python programming language and to the languages that the World Wide Web is built on, particularly HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Animation coded in Python of an archery target disk.
An animation coded using Python.

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

A young person codes at a Raspberry Pi computer.
Python is a great text-based programming language for young people to learn.

Coding projects

On our coding tutorials website we have many different projects to help your child learn coding and digital making. These range from beginner resources like the Introduction to Scratch path to more advanced activities such as the Introduction to Unity path, where children can learn how to make 3D worlds and games. 

“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

Web development 

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.

A girl has fun learning to code at home on a tablet sitting on a sofa.
It’s empowering for children to learn to how the websites they visit are created with code.

Coding clubs 

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

Three teenage girls at a laptop.
At Code Club and CoderDojo, many young people enjoy teaming up to code projects together.

Coding challenges 

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.

A Coolest Projects participant
A girl with her coded creation at an in-person Coolest Projects showcase.

Free resources 

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.

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Computing and sustainability in your classroom | Hello World #19

Post Syndicated from Gemma Coleman original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/computing-sustainability-classroom-hello-world-19/

Issue 19 of our free magazine Hello World, written by and for the computing education community, focuses on the interaction between sustainability and computing, from how we can interact with technology responsibly, to its potential to mitigate climate change.

Cover of issue 19 of Hello World magazine.

To give you a taste of this brand-new issue, here is primary school teacher Peter Gaynord’s article about his experience of using an environmental case study to develop a cross-curricular physical computing unit that gives his learners a real-life context.

Peter Gaynord.
Peter Gaynord.

Real-life problem solving

The prospect of developing your own unit of work from scratch can feel very daunting. With the number of free resources available, it begs the question, why do it? Firstly, it gives you the opportunity to deliver computing that is interwoven with the rest of your curriculum. It also naturally lends itself to a constructionist approach to learning through meaningful engagement with real-world problem-solving. In this article, I am going to share my experience of developing a ten-lesson unit of physical computing for students aged nine to ten that is linked to the more general topic of the environment.

To engage children in the process of problem-solving, it is important that the problem is presented as a real and meaningful one. To introduce the topic of the environment, we showed pupils a video of the Panama Canal, including information about the staggering amount of CO2 that is saved by ships taking this route instead of the alternative, longer routes that use more fuel. However, we explained that because of the special geographical features, a moving bridge needed to be constructed over the canal. The students’ challenge was first to design a solution to the problem, and then to make a working model.

An model of a bridge.
One bridge model from Peter’s class.

The model would use physical computing as part of the solution to the problem. The children would program a single-geared motor using a Crumble microcontroller to slowly lift and lower the bridge by the desired amount. We decided to issue a warning to drivers that the road bridge was about to close using a Sparkle, a programmable LED. Ultimately, the raising and lowering of the bridge would happen automatically when a ship approached. For this purpose, we would use an ultrasonic sensor to detect the presence of the ship.

Building the required skills

To develop the skills required to use the Crumble microcontroller, we led some discrete computing lessons based largely on the Teach Computing Curriculum’s ‘Programming A — Selection in physical computing’ unit. In these lessons, the children developed the skill of sensing and responding differently to conditions using the selection programming construct. They learnt this key concept alongside controlling and connecting the motor, the Sparkle, and the ultrasonic sensor.

A learner does physical computing in the primary school classroom.
Physical computing allows learners to get hands-on.

For students to succeed, we also had to teach them skills from other subjects, and consider at what stage it would be most useful to introduce them. For example, before asking children to document their designs, we first needed to teach the design technology (DT) objectives for communicating ideas through sketches. Most other DT objectives that covered the practical skills to make a model were interwoven as the project progressed. At the end of the project, we guided the children through how to evaluate their design ideas and reflect on the process of model making. Before pupils designed their solutions, we also had to introduce some science for them to apply to their designs. We covered increasing forces using levers, pulleys, and gears, as well as the greenhouse effect and how burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming.

An end pivot model of a bridge.
Another bridge model made in Peter’s class.

It is very important not to specify a solution for students at the beginning, otherwise the whole project becomes craft instead of problem-solving. However, it is important to spend some time thinking about any practical aspects of the model building that may need extra scaffolding. Experience suggested that it was important to limit the scale of the children’s models. We did this by showing them a completed central bridge span and later, guiding the building of this component so that all bridges had the same scale. It also turned out to be very important that the children were limited in their model building to using one single-geared motor. This would ensure that all children engaged with actively thinking about how to utilise the lever and pulley system to increase force, instead of relying on using more motors to lift the bridge.

If you want to finish reading Peter’s article and see his unit outline, download Hello World issue 19 as a free PDF.

Discover more in Hello World 19 — for free

As always, you’ll find this new issue of Hello World packed with resources, ideas, and insights to inspire your learners and your own classroom practice:

  • Portraits of scientists who apply artificial intelligence models to sustainability research
  • Research behind device-repair cafés
  • A deep dive into the question of technology obsolescence
  • And much more

All issues of Hello World as available as free PDF downloads. Subscribe to never miss a digital issue — and if you’re an educator in the UK, you can subscribe to receive free print copies in the post.

PS: US-based educators, if you’re at CSTA Annual Conference in Chicago this month, come meet us at booth 521 and join us at our sessions about writing for Hello World, the Big Book of Computing Pedagogy, and more. We look forward to seeing you there!

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