Since 2017 we’ve been training Computing educators in England and around the world through our suite of free online courses on FutureLearn. Thanks to support from Google and the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE), all of these courses are free for anyone to take, whether you are a teacher or not!
We’re excited that Computer Science educators at all stages in their computing journey have embraced our courses — from teachers just moving into the field to experienced educators looking for a refresher so that they can better support their colleagues.
Hear from two teachers about their experience of training with our courses and how they are benefitting!
Moving from Languages to IT to Computing
Rebecca Connell started out as a Modern Foreign Languages teacher, but now she is Head of Computing at The Cowplain School, a 11–16 secondary school in Hampshire.
Although she had plenty of experience with Microsoft Office and was happy teaching IT, at first she was daunted by the technical nature of Computing:
“The biggest challenge for me has been the move away from an IT to a Computing curriculum. To say this has been a steep learning curve is an understatement!”
However, Rebecca has worked with our courses to improve her coding knowledge, especially in Python:
“Initially, I undertook some one-day programming courses in Python. Recently, I have found the Raspberry Pi courses to be really useful in building confidence and taking my skills further. So far, I have completed Programming 101 — great for revision and teaching ideas — and am now into Programming 102.”
GCSE Computing is more than just programming, and our courses are helping Rebecca develop the rest of her Computing knowledge too:
“I am now taking some online Raspberry Pi courses on computer systems and networks to firm up my knowledge — my greatest fear is saying something that’s not strictly accurate! These courses have some good ideas to help explain complex concepts to students.”
“I really like the new resources and supporting materials from Raspberry Pi — these have really helped me to look again at our curriculum. They are easy to follow and include everything you need to take students forward, including lesson plans.”
And Rebecca’s not the only one in her department who is benefitting from our courses and resources:
“Our department is supported by an excellent PE teacher who delivers lessons in Years 7, 8, and 9. She has enjoyed completing some of the Raspberry Pi courses to help her to deliver the new curriculum and is also enjoying her learning journey.”
Refreshing and sharing your knowledge
Julie Price, a CAS Master Teacher and NCCE Computer Science Champion, has been “engaging with the NCCE’s Computer Science Accelerator programme, [to] be in a better position to appreciate and help to resolve any issues raised by fellow participants.”
“I have encountered new learning for myself and also expressions of very familiar content which I have found to be seriously impressive and, in some cases, just amazing. I must say that I am becoming addicted to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s online courses!”
She’s been appreciating the open nature of the courses, as we make all of the materials free to use under the Open Government Licence:
“Already I have made very good use of a wide range of the videos, animations, images, and ideas from the Foundation’s courses.”
With 29 courses to choose from (and more on the way!), from Introduction to Web Development to Robotics with Raspberry Pi, we have something for everyone — whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced computer science teacher. All of our courses are free to take, so find one that inspires you, and let us support you on your computing journey, along with Google and the NCCE.
At Raspberry Pi, we’re interested in all things to do with technology, from building new tools and helping people teach computing, to researching how young people learn to create with technology and thinking about the role tech plays in our lives and society. Today, I’m writing about our habit of replacing devices with newer versions just for the sake of it.
Technology is involved in more of our lives than ever before: most of us carry a computer in our pocket everywhere we go. On the other hand, the length of time for which we use each individual piece of technology has grown very short. This is what’s referred to as upgrade culture, a cycle which sees most of us replacing our most trusted devices every two years with the latest products offered by tech giants like Apple and Samsung.
How we got to this point is hard to determine, and there does not seem to be a single root cause for upgrade culture. This is why I want to start a conversation about it, so we can challenge our current perspectives and establish fact-based attitudes. I think it’s time that we, as individuals and as a collective, examine our relationship with new technology.
What is the natural lifespan of a device?
Digital technology is still so new that there is really no benchmark for how long digital devices should last. This means that the decision power has by default landed in the hands of device manufacturers and mobile network carriers, and for their profit margins, a two-year lifecycle of devices is beneficial.
Where do you see your role in this process as a consumer? Is it wrong to want to upgrade your phone after two years of constant use? Should phone companies slow their development, and would this hinder innovation? And, if you really need to upgrade, is there a better use for your old device than living in a drawer? These questions defy simple answers, and I want to hear what you think.
How does this affect the environment?
As with all our behaviours as consumers, the impact that upgrade culture has on the environment is an important concern. Environmental issues and climate change aren’t anything new, but they’re currently at the forefront of the global conversation, and for good reason.
Mobile devices are of course made in factories, and the concerns this raises have been covered well in many other places. The same goes for the energy needed to build technology. This energy could, at least in theory, be produced from renewable sources. Here I would like to focus on another aspect of the environmental impact device production has, which relates to the materials necessary to create the tiny components that form our technological best friends.
Some components of your phone cannot be created without extremely rare metals and other elements, such as silicon and lithium. (In fact, there are 83 stable non-radioactive elements in the periodic table, and 70 of them are used in some capacity in your phone.) Upgrade culture means there is high demand for these materials, and deposits are becoming more and more depleted. If you’re hoping there are renewable alternatives, you’ll be disappointed: a study by researchers working at Yale University found that there are currently no alternative materials that are as effective.
Then there’s the issue of how the materials are mined. The market trading these materials is highly competitive, and more often than not manufacturers buy from the companies offer the lowest prices. To maintain their profit margin, these companies have to extract as much material as possible as cheaply as they can. As you can imagine, this leads to mining practices that are less than ethical or environmentally friendly. As many of the mines are located in distant areas of developing countries, these problems may feel remote to you, but they affect a lot of people and are a direct result of the market we are creating by upgrading our devices every two years.
Many of us agree that we need to do what we can to counteract climate change, and that, to achieve anything meaningful, we have to start looking at the way we live our lives. This includes questioning how we use technology. It will be through discussion and opinion gathering that we can start to make more informed decisions — as individuals and as a society.
The obsolescence question
You probably also have that one friend/colleague/family member who swears by their five year old mobile phone and scoffs at the prices of the newest models. These people are often labeled as sticklers who are afraid to join the modern age, but is there another way to see them? The truth is, if you’ve bought a phone in the last five years, then — barring major accidents — it will most likely still function and be just as effective as it was when it came out of the box. So why are so many consumers upgrading to new devices every two years?
Again there isn’t a single reason, but I think marketing departments should shoulder much of the responsibility. Using marketing strategies, device manufacturers and mobile network carriers purposefully make us see the phones we currently own in a negative light. A common trope of mobile phone adverts is the overwrought comparison of your current device with a newly launched version. Thus, each passing day after a new model is released, our opinion of our current device worsens, even if it’s just on a subconscious level.
This marketing strategy is related to a business practice called planned obsolescence, which sees manufacturers purposefully limit the durability of their products in order to sell more units. An early example of planned obsolescence is the lightbulb, invented at the Edison company: it was relatively simple for the company to create a lightbulb that lasted 2500 hours, but it took years and a coalition of manufacturers to make a version that reliably broke after 1000 hours. We’re all aware that the lightbulb revolutionised many aspects of life, but it turns out it also had a big influence on consumer habits and what we see as acceptable practices of technology companies.
The widening digital divide
The final aspect of the impact of upgrade culture that I want to examine relates to the digital divide. This term describes the societal gap between the people with access to, and competence with, the latest technology, and the people without these privileges. To be able to upgrade, say, your mobile phone to the latest model every two years, you either need a great degree of financial freedom, or you need to tie yourself to a 24-month contract that may not be easily within your means. As a society, we revere the latest technology and hold people with access to it in high regard. What does this say to people who do not have this access?
Inadvertently, we are widening the digital divide by placing more value on new technology than is warranted. Innovation is exciting, and commercial success is celebrated — but do you ever stop and ask who really benefits from this? Is your new phone really that much better than the old one, or could it be that you’re mostly just basking in feeling the social rewards of having the newest bit of kit?
What about Raspberry Pi technology?
Obviously, this blog post wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t share our perspective as a technology company as well. So here’s Raspberry Pi Trading CEO Eben Upton:
On our hardware and software
“Raspberry Pi tries very hard to avoid obsoleting older products. Obviously the latest Raspberry Pi 4 runs much faster than a Raspberry Pi 1 (something like forty times faster), but a Raspbian image we release today will run on the very earliest Raspberry Pi prototypes from the summer of 2011. Cutting customers off from software support after a couple of years is unethical, and bad for business in the long term: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. The best companies respect their customers’ investment in their platforms, even if that investment happened far in the past.”
“What’s even more unusual about Raspberry Pi is that we aim to keep our products available for a long period of time. So you can’t just run a 2020 software build on a 2014 Raspberry Pi 1B+: you can actually buy a brand-new 1B+ to run it on.”
On the environmental impact of our hardware
“We’re constantly working to reduce the environmental footprint of Raspberry Pi. If you look next to the USB connectors on Raspberry Pi 4, you’ll see a chunky black component. This is the reservoir capacitor, which prevents the 5V rail from dropping too far when a new USB device is plugged in. By using a polymer electrolytic capacitor, from our friends at Panasonic, we’ve been able to avoid the use of tantalum.”
“When we launched the official USB-C power supply for Raspberry Pi 4, one or two people on Twitter asked if we could eliminate the single-use plastic bag which surrounded the cable and plug assembly inside the box. Working with our partners at Kuantech, we found that we could easily do this for the white supplies, but not for the black ones. Why? Because when the box vibrates in transit, the plug scuffs against the case; this is visible on the black plastic, but not on the white.”
Raspberry Pi power supply with scuff mark
“So for now, if you want to eliminate single-use plastic, buy a white supply. In the meantime, we’ll be working to find a way (probably involving cunning origami) to eliminate plastic from the black supply.”
What do you think?
Time for you to discuss! I want to hear from you about upgrade culture.
When was the last time you upgraded?
What were your reasons at the time?
Do you think upgrade culture should be addressed by mobile phone manufacturers and providers, or is it caused by our own consumption habits?
How might we address upgrade culture? Is it a problem that needs addressing?
Share your thoughts in the comments!
Upgrade culture is one of the topics for which we offer you a discussion forum on our free online course Impact of Technology. For educators, the course also covers how to facilitate classroom discussions about these topics, and a new course run has just begun — sign up today to take part for free!
The Impact of Technology online course is one of many courses developed by us with support from Google.
At Raspberry Pi, we’re interested in all things to do with technology, from building new tools and helping people teach computing, to researching how young people learn to create with technology and thinking about the role tech plays in our lives and society. One of the aspects of technology I myself have been thinking about recently is algorithms.
Technology impacts our lives at the level of privacy, culture, law, environment, and ethics.
All kinds of algorithms — set series of repeatable steps that computers follow to perform a task — are running in the background of our lives. Some we recognise and interact with every day, such as online search engines or navigation systems; others operate unseen and are rarely directly experienced. We let algorithms make decisions that impact our lives in both large and small ways. As such, I think we need to consider the ethics behind them.
We need to talk about ethics
Ethics are rules of conduct that are recognised as acceptable or good by society. It’s easier to discuss the ethics of a specific algorithm than to talk about ethics of algorithms as a whole. Nevertheless, it is important that we have these conversations, especially because people often see computers as ‘magic boxes’: you push a button and something magically comes out of the box, without any possibility of human influence over what that output is. This view puts power solely in the hands of the creators of the computing technology you’re using, and it isn’t guaranteed that these people have your best interests at heart or are motivated to behave ethically when designing the technology.
Who creates the algorithms you use, and what are their motivations?
You should be critical of the output algorithms deliver to you, and if you have questions about possible flaws in an algorithm, you should not discount these as mere worries. Such questions could include:
Algorithms that make decisions have to use data to inform their choices. Are the data sets they use to make these decisions ethical and reliable?
Running an algorithm time and time again means applying the same approach time and time again. When dealing with societal problems, is there a single approach that will work successfully every time?
Below, I give two concrete examples to show where ethics come into the creation and use of algorithms. If you know other examples (or counter-examples, feel free to disagree with me), please share them in the comments.
Algorithms can be biased
Part of the ‘magic box’ mental model is the idea that computers are cold instructions followers that cannot think for themselves — so how can they be biased?
Humans aren’t born biased: we learn biases alongside everything else, as we watch the way our family and other people close to us interact with the world. Algorithms acquire biases in the same way: the developers who create them might inadvertently add their own biases.
Humans can be biased, and therefore the algorithms they create can be biased too.
An example of this is a gang violence data analysis tool that the Met Police in London launched in 2012. Called the gang matrix, the tool held the personal information of over 300 individuals. 72% of the individuals on the matrix were non-white, and some had never committed a violent crime. In response to this, Amnesty International filed a complaint stating that the makeup of the gang matrix was influenced by police officers disproportionately labelling crimes committed by non-white individuals as gang-related.
Who curates the content we consume?
We live in a content-rich society: there is much, much more online content than one person could possibly take in. Almost every piece of content we consume is selected by algorithms; the music you listen to, the videos you watch, the articles you read, and even the products you buy.
Some of you may have experienced a week in January of 2012 in which you saw a lot of either cute kittens or sad images on Facebook; if so, you may have been involved in a global social experiment that Facebook engineers performed on 600,000 of its users without their consent. Some of these users were shown overwhelmingly positive content, and others overwhelmingly negative content. The Facebook engineers monitored the users’ actions to gage how they responded. Was this experiment ethical?
In order to select content that is attractive to you, content algorithms observe the choices you make and the content you consume. The most effective algorithms give you more of the same content, with slight variation. How does this impact our beliefs and views? How do we broaden our horizons?
Why trust algorithms at all then?
People generally don’t like making decisions; almost everyone knows the discomfort of indecision. In addition, emotions have a huge effect on the decisions humans make moment to moment. Algorithms on the other hand aren’t impacted by emotions, and they can’t be indecisive.
While algorithms are not immune to bias, in general they are way less susceptible to it than humans. And if a bias is identified in an algorithm, an engineer can remove the bias by editing the algorithm or changing the dataset the algorithm uses. The same cannot be said for human biases, which are often deeply ingrained and widespread in society.
As is true for all technology, algorithms can create new problems as well as solve existing problems.
That’s why there are more and less appropriate areas for algorithms to operate in. For example, using algorithms in policing is almost always a bad idea, as the data involved is recorded by humans and is very subjective. In objective, data-driven fields, on the other hand, algorithms have been employed very successfully, such as diagnostic algorithms in medicine.
Algorithms in your life
I would love to hear what you think: this conversation requires as many views as possible to be productive. Share your thoughts on the topic in the comments! Here are some more questions to get you thinking:
What algorithms do you interact with every day?
How large are the decisions you allow algorithms to make?
Are there algorithms you absolutely do not trust?
What do you think would happen if we let algorithms decide everything?
Feel free to respond to other people’s comments and discuss the points they raise.
The ethics of algorithms is one of the topics for which we offer you a discussion forum on our free online course Impact of Technology. The course also covers how to facilitate classroom discussions about technology — if you’re an educator teaching computing or computer science, it is a great resource for you!
Over the autumn term, we’ll be launching three brand-new, free online courses on the FutureLearn platform. Wherever you are in the world, you can learn with us for free!
The course presenters are Pi Towers residents Mark, Janina, and Eirini
Design and Prototype Embedded Computer Systems
The first new course is Design and Prototype Embedded Computer Systems, which will start on 28 October. In this course, you will discover the product design life cycle as you design your own embedded system!
You’ll investigate how the purpose of the system affects the design of the system, from choosing its components to the final product, and you’ll find out more about the design of an algorithm. You will also explore how embedded systems are used in the world around us. Book your place today!
Programming 103: Saving and Structuring Data
What else would you expect us to call the sequel to Programming 101 and Programming 102? That’s right — we’ve made Programming 103: Saving and Structuring Data! The course will begin on 4 November, and you can reserve your place now.
Programming 103 explores how to use data across multiple runs of your program. You’ll learn how to save text and binary files, and how structuring data is necessary for programs to “understand” the data that they load. You’ll look at common types of structured files such as CSV and JSON files, as well as how you can connect to a SQL database to use it in your Python programs.
Introduction to Encryption and Cryptography
The third course, Introduction to Encryption and Cryptography, is currently in development, and therefore coming soon. In this course, you’ll learn what encryption is and how it was used in the past, and you’ll use the Caesar and Vigenère ciphers.
The Caesar cipher is a type of substitution cipher
You’ll also look at modern encryption and investigate both symmetric and asymmetric encryption schemes. The course also shows you the future of encryption, and it includes several practical encryption activities, which can be used in the classroom too.
Are you ready FEEL THE BURN…of your heating laptop? And MAX THOSE REPS…using forever loops? Then get your programming muscles into the best shape possible with our free online training courses.
Pump up your programming skills for free
Today we are excited to announce our new online training course Programming with GUIs — now open for sign-ups on FutureLearn. To celebrate, we’ve also curated a set of courses as your personal Back-to-school Bootcamp. Sign up now to start training from Monday 29 Julyand throughout August!
Your Back-to-school Bootcamp has something for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners, and all the courses are free, thanks to support from Google.
If you’re just beginning to learn about coding, the perfect place to start is Programming 101: An Introduction to Python for Educators. You’ll first get to grips with basic programming concepts by learning about the basics of Python syntax and how to interpret error messages. Then you’ll use your new coding skills to create a chatbot that asks and answers questions!
If you’ve been programming for a while, sign up for our brand-new course Programming with GUIs — an intermediate-level course that shows you how to build your own graphical user interface (GUI) in Python. You will learn how to incorporate interactivity in your programs, discover different types of GUI features, and build your confidence to design more complex GUI-based apps in the future.
Or maybe you’d like to try Programming 101’s follow-on course Programming 102: Think Like a Computer Scientist? Take your Python skills further by learning to break down problems into smaller tasks and designing algorithms you can apply to data.
Finally, if you’re an experienced computing educator, dig into Object-oriented Programming in Python, a really fun and challenging course that helps you get to grips with OOP principles by creating a text-based adventure game in Python.
Sign-ups are open until the end of August. Now go get those gains!
Tell us about your workout routine
What will your personal coding regime look like this summer? What online courses have you enjoyed taking this year? (They don’t have to be ours!) Tell us in the comments below.
There is always a flurry of activity at the start of the new academic year, and we are getting in on the action: this autumn and winter, we’ll be launching four new online courses! They are completely free and aim to give educators a solid grounding in the concepts and practical applications of computing.
I caught up with course developers Marc, Caitlyn, James, and Martin to find out what they have in store for you.
Dan Fisher: Hi everyone! First off, can you give me a rundown of what your courses are called and what your motivation was for creating them?
Martin O’Hanlon: Sure! So my course is called Programming 101: An Introduction to Python for Educators. We wanted to create an ‘introduction to programming’ course that anyone could follow, ensuring that learners get to understand concepts as well as practice coding. They will leave with a really good understanding of why programming is so useful, and of how it works.
James Robinson: Then, as a follow-up to this and many other beginner online programming courses, we will be releasing Programming 102: Think Like A Computer Scientist. A lot of courses spend time on the syntax and core elements of a language, without much focus on how to plan and construct a program. We feel the skills involved in understanding and breaking down a problem, before representing it in code, are fundamental to computer science. My course is therefore designed to give you the opportunity to explore these problem-solving skills while extending your knowledge of programming.
Marc Scott: My How Computers Work: Demystifying Computation course fills in the gaps in people’s knowledge about these amazing lumps of silicon and plastic. Computers are very abstract machines. Most people understand that computers can run large, complicated programs, but few people understand how computers are able to perform even the simplest of operations like counting or adding two numbers together. How Computers Work shows people how computers use simple components such as transistors to do incredible things.
Caitlyn Merry: My course is called Bringing Data to Life: Data Representation with Digital Media. Data representation is a huge part of the GCSE Computer Science curriculum, and we wanted to present some of the more theoretical parts of the subject in a fun, practical, and engaging way. And data is everywhere — it is such an important topic nowadays, with real-world impact, so we’re making sure the course is also useful for anyone else who wants to learn about data through the lens of creative media.
DF: Awesome! So who are the courses for?
MOH:Programming 101 is for anyone who wants to learn how to program in Python and gain an understanding for the concepts of computer programming.
JR:Programming 102 is for beginners who have already tackled some programming basics and have some experience in writing text-based programs.
CM:Bringing Data to Life is great if you want to understand how computers turn data into digital media: text, sound, video, and images — for example, photos on your smartphone.
MS: And How Computers Work is for anyone who is interested in learning how computers work. [laughter from the group]
DF: Short and to the point as ever, Marc.
MS: Okay, if you want a sensible answer, it would most help Computer Science teachers at secondary or high school level get to grips with the fundamentals and architecture.
DF: And what will they be doing in your courses, in practical terms?
MOH:Programming 101 will show you how to set up your computer for Python programming and then how to create Python programs! You’ll learn about the basic programming concepts of sequencing, selection, and repetition, and about how to use variables, input, output, ifs, lists, loops, functions, and more.
JR:Programming 102 discusses the importance of algorithms and their applications, and shows you how to plan and implement your own algorithms and reflect on their efficiency. Throughout the course, you’ll be using functions to structure your code and make your algorithms more versatile.
MS: In How Computers Work, learners will find out some of the historical origins of computers and programming, how computers work with ones and zeros, how logic gates can be used to perform calculations, and about the basic internals of the CPU, the central processing unit.
CM: In my Bringing Data to Life course, you’ll learn how text, images, and sound data is represented and stored by computers, but you’ll also be doing your own media computation: creating your own code and programs to manipulate existing text, images, and data!
DF: Cool! So what will learners end up taking away from your courses?
MOH: When you have completed the Programming 101 course, you’ll be able to create your own computer programs using Python, educate others in the fundamental concepts of computer programming, and take your learning further to understand more advanced concepts.
JR: After Programming 102, you’ll be able to plan and create structured and versatile programs and make use of more programming concepts including functions and dictionaries.
MS: From my course, you’ll get a solid grounding in how computers actually function, and an appreciation for the underlying simplicity behind complex computing architectures and programs.
At their core, computers works with simple components, e.g. relays like this.
CM: The take-away from mine will be an understanding of how computers present to you all the media you view on your phone, screens, etc., and you’ll gain some new skills to manipulate and change what you see and hear through computers.
DF: And how much would learners need to know before they start?
MOH:Programming 101 is suitable for complete beginners with no prior knowledge.
MS: The same goes for How Computers Work.
JR: For Programming 102, you’ll need to have already tackled some programming basics and have a little experience of writing text-based programs, but generally speaking, the courses are for beginner-level learners who are looking for a place to start.
CM: You’d just need a basic understanding of Python for Bringing Data to Life. Taking Programming 101 would be enough!
DF: That’s great, folks! Thanks for talking to me.
Programming 101 and How Computers Work will both begin running in October. Sign up for them today by visiting the Raspberry Pi Foundation page on FutureLearn.Programming 101 and How Computers Work will both begin running in October. Sign up for them today by visiting the Raspberry Pi Foundation page on FutureLearn.
You can now sign up to our newest free online course Start a CoderDojo to learn more about CoderDojo and how you can easily set up one of these free coding clubs for young people in your area. With less than two weeks until the course begins, we wanted to tell you about the course’s content and why the course’s creator put it together for you.
Get support and advice on how to grow your confidence in coding and start a CoderDojo for young people in your area.
What is CoderDojo?
CoderDojo is a global network of free, volunteer-led, community-based programming clubs for young people aged 7 to 17. There are currently more than 1700 Dojos running regularly across 75 countries. All of these clubs were started by individuals who are passionate about giving young people the opportunity to learn to code. Some people assume you need technical skills to start a Dojo, but that’s not true. The most important thing is that you can bring people together for a shared goal.
What is covered on the course?
The course was developed by Philip, CoderDojo’s Educational Content Lead. It gives those who think empowering young people to be tech creators is important the resources and supports to achieve that goal by starting a Dojo. Divided over three weeks and running for about four hours in total, the course provides practical advice and resources on everything you need to know to plan and run a fun, social, and creative coding club for young people.
“In the first week, you’ll look at what coding is, at the worldwide CoderDojo community of coding clubs, and at the creative approach CoderDojos take to helping young people learn to code. In week two, you’ll move on to setting up your Dojo with a team, a venue, and any needed materials. You’ll also look at how to find young people to attend. Week three wraps up the course by giving you sample plans for a Dojo session and a Dojo’s year, and we’ll be talking about how to grow and develop your Dojo over time as your attendees become better coders.” — Philip
Who is the course for?
Anyone interested in enabling young people to be tech creators should take this course. Parents, teachers, librarians, IT professionals, youth workers, and others have all started Dojos in their community. They say that “it’s an amazing experience that led [them] to expand [their] personal horizons”, and that they “find it really rewarding”.
The course is free and open to all — if you’re interested, then sign up now.
If you’re already mentoring at a Dojo, the course is a great opportunity to revise what you’ve learnt, and a chance to share your insights with newcomers in the discussion sections. Parents and guardians who wish to learn more about CoderDojo and are considering getting involved are also more than welcome to join.
Helping people to get into making is at the heart of what we do, and so we’ve created a brand-new, free online course to support educators to start their own makerspaces. If you’re interested in the maker movement, then this course is for you! Sign up now and start learning with Build a Makerspace for Young People on FutureLearn.
Find out how to create and run a makerspace for young people. Look at the pedagogy and approaches behind digital making.
Dive into the maker movement
From planning to execution, this course will cover everything you need to know to set up and lead your very own makerspace. You’ll learn about different approaches to designing makerspace environments, understand the pedagogy that underpins the maker movement, and create your own makerspace action plan. By the end of the course, you will be well versed in makerspace culture, and you’ll have the skills and knowledge to build a successful and thriving makerspace in your community.
Let makerspace experts lead your journey
This new course features five fantastic case studies about real-life makerspace educators. They’ll share their stories of starting a makerspace: what worked, what didn’t, and what’s next on their journey. Hear from Jessica Simons as she describes her experience starting the MCHS Maker Lab, connect with Patrick Ferrell as he details his teaching at the Jocelyn H. Lee Innovation Lab, and learn from Nick Provenzano as he shares his top tips on how to ensure the legacy of your makerspace. These accomplished educators will give you their practical advice and expert insights, helping you learn the best practices of starting a makerspace environment.
Connect with educators worldwide
By taking this course, you’ll also be connecting with talented and like-minded educators from across the globe. This is your opportunity to develop a community of practice while learning from fellow teachers, librarians, and community leaders who are also engaged in the maker movement.
“I like this course and how it progresses from introducing the concept of makerspaces and how they have come to education, all the way through to creating my own action plan to get started.”— Makerspace Educator in Hayward, California USA
Sign up now
The first run of our Build a Makerspace for Young People course starts on 12 March 2018. You can sign up and access all content for four weeks. After that period, we’ll run the course again multiple times throughout the year. Enjoy, and happy making!
Learn how to apply the thinking and programming skills you’ve learnt in Scratch to text-based programming languages like Python.
Take the plunge into text-based programming
The idea for this course arose from our conversations with educators who had set up a Code Club in their schools. Most people start a club by teaching Scratch, a block-based programming language, because it allows learners to drag and drop blocks of pre-written code into a window to create a program. The blocks automatically snap together, making it easy to build fun and educational projects that don’t require much troubleshooting. You can do almost anything a beginner could wish for with Scratch, even physical computing to control LEDs, buzzers, buttons, motors, and more!
However, on our face-to-face training programme Picademy, educators told us that they were finding it hard to engage children who had outgrown Scratch and needed a new challenge. It was easy for me to imagine: a young learner, who once felt confident about programming using Scratch, is now confused by the alien, seemingly awkward interface of Python. What used to take them minutes in Scratch now takes them hours to code, and they start to lose interest — not a good result, I’m sure you’ll agree. I wanted to help educators to navigate this period in their learners’ development, and so I’ve written a course that shows you how to take the programming and thinking skills you and your learners have developed in Scratch, and apply them to Python.
Who is the course for?
Educators from all backgrounds who are working with secondary school-aged learners. It will also be interesting to anyone who has spent time working with Scratch and wants to understand how programming concepts translate between different languages.
“It was great fun, and I thought that the ideas and resources would be great to use with Year 7 classes.” Sue Grey, Classroom Teacher
What is covered?
After showing you the similarities and differences of Scratch and Python, and how the skills learned using one can be applied to the other, we will look at turning more complex Scratch scripts into Python programs. Through creating a Mad Libs game and developing a username generator, you will see how programs can be simplified in a text-based language. We will give you our top tips for debugging Python code, and you’ll have the chance to share your ideas for introducing more complex programs to your students.
After that, we will look at different data types in Python and write a script to calculate how old you are in dog years. Finally, you’ll dive deeper into the possibilities of Python by installing and using external Python libraries to perform some amazing tasks.
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:
Transfer programming and thinking skills from Scratch to Python
Use fundamental Python programming skills
Identify errors in your Python code based on error messages, and debug your scripts
Produce tools to support students’ transition from block-based to text-based programming
Understand the power of text-based programming and what you can create with it
Note: the Pi Towers team have peeled away from their desks to spend time with their families over the festive season, and this blog will be quiet for a while as a result. We’ll be back in the New Year with a bushel of amazing projects, awesome resources, and much merriment and fun times. Happy holidays to all!
Now back to the matter at hand. Your brand new Christmas Raspberry Pi.
Your new Raspberry Pi
Did you wake up this morning to find a new Raspberry Pi under the tree? Congratulations, and welcome to the Raspberry Pi community! You’re one of us now, and we’re happy to have you on board.
But what if you’ve never seen a Raspberry Pi before? What are you supposed to do with it? What’s all the fuss about, and why does your new computer look so naked?
Setting up your Raspberry Pi
Are you comfy? Good. Then let us begin.
Download our free operating system
First of all, you need to make sure you have an operating system on your micro SD card: we suggest Raspbian, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s official supported operating system. If your Pi is part of a starter kit, you might find that it comes with a micro SD card that already has Raspbian preinstalled. If not, you can download Raspbian for free from our website.
An easy way to get Raspbian onto your SD card is to use a free tool called Etcher. Watch The MagPi’s Lucy Hattersley show you what you need to do. You can also use NOOBS to install Raspbian on your SD card, and our Getting Started guide explains how to do that.
Plug it in and turn it on
Your new Raspberry Pi 3 comes with four USB ports and an HDMI port. These allow you to plug in a keyboard, a mouse, and a television or monitor. If you have a Raspberry Pi Zero, you may need adapters to connect your devices to its micro USB and micro HDMI ports. Both the Raspberry Pi 3 and the Raspberry Pi Zero W have onboard wireless LAN, so you can connect to your home network, and you can also plug an Ethernet cable into the Pi 3.
Make sure to plug the power cable in last. There’s no ‘on’ switch, so your Pi will turn on as soon as you connect the power. Raspberry Pi uses a micro USB power supply, so you can use a phone charger if you didn’t receive one as part of a kit.
Learn with our free projects
If you’ve never used a Raspberry Pi before, or you’re new to the world of coding, the best place to start is our projects site. It’s packed with free projects that will guide you through the basics of coding and digital making. You can create projects right on your screen using Scratch and Python, connect a speaker to make music with Sonic Pi, and upgrade your skills to physical making using items from around your house.
Here’s James to show you how to build a whoopee cushion using a Raspberry Pi, paper plates, tin foil and a sponge:
Explore the world of Raspberry Pi physical computing with our free FutureLearn courses: http://rpf.io/futurelearn Free make your own Whoopi Cushion resource: http://rpf.io/whoopi For more information on Raspberry Pi and the charitable work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, including Code Club and CoderDojo, visit http://rpf.io Our resources are free to use in schools, clubs, at home and at events.
You’ve plundered our projects, you’ve successfully rigged every chair in the house to make rude noises, and now you want to dive deeper into digital making. Good! While you’re digesting your Christmas dinner, take a moment to skim through the Raspberry Pi blog for inspiration. You’ll find projects from across our worldwide community, with everything from home automation projects and retrofit upgrades, to robots, gaming systems, and cameras.
You’ll also find bucketloads of ideas in The MagPi magazine, the official monthly Raspberry Pi publication, available in both print and digital format. You can download every issue for free. If you subscribe, you’ll get a Raspberry Pi Zero W to add to your new collection. HackSpace magazine is another fantastic place to turn for Raspberry Pi projects, along with other maker projects and tutorials.
And, of course, simply typing “Raspberry Pi projects” into your preferred search engine will find thousands of ideas. Sites like Hackster, Hackaday, Instructables, Pimoroni, and Adafruit all have plenty of fab Raspberry Pi tutorials that they’ve devised themselves and that community members like you have created.
If you make something marvellous with your new Raspberry Pi – and we know you will – don’t forget to share it with us! Our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ accounts are brimming with chatter, projects, and events. And our forums are a great place to visit if you have questions about your Raspberry Pi or if you need some help.
It’s good to get together with like-minded folks, so check out the growing Raspberry Jam movement. Raspberry Jams are community-run events where makers and enthusiasts can meet other makers, show off their projects, and join in with workshops and discussions. Find your nearest Jam here.
Ready to launch! Our free FutureLearn course ‘Prepare to Run a Code Club’ starts next week and you can sign up now: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/code-club
As of today, more than 10000 Code Clubs run in 130 countries, delivering free coding opportunities to approximately 150000 children across the globe.
As an organisation, Code Club provides free learning resources and training materials to supports the ever-growing and truly inspiring community of volunteers and educators who set up and run Code Clubs.
Today we’re launching our latest free online course on FutureLearn, dedicated to training and supporting new Code Club volunteers. It will give you practical guidance on all things Code Club, as well as a taste of beginner programming!
Split over three weeks and running for 3–4 hours in total, the course provides hands-on advice and tips on everything you need to know to run a successful, fun, and educational club.
“Week 1 kicks off with advice on how to prepare to start a Code Club, for example which hardware and software are needed. Week 2 focusses on how to deliver Code Club sessions, with practical tips on helping young people learn and an easy taster coding project to try out. In the final week, the course looks at interesting ideas to enrich and extend club sessions.” — Sarah Sherman-Chase, Code Club Participation Manager
The course is available wherever you live, and it is completely free — sign up now!
If you’re already a volunteer, the course will be a great refresher, and a chance to share your insights with newcomers. Moreover, it is also useful for parents and guardians who wish to learn more about Code Club.
Code Club partners from across the globe gathered together for a group photo at the International Meetup
We love hearing your Code Club stories! If you’re a volunteer, are in the process of setting up a club, or are inspired to learn more, share your story in the comments below or via social media, making sure to tag @CodeClub and @CodeClubWorld.
Explore the world of Raspberry Pi physical computing with our free FutureLearn courses: http://rpf.io/futurelearn Free make your own Whoopi Cushion resource: http://rpf.io/whoopi For more information on Raspberry Pi and the charitable work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, including Code Club and CoderDojo, visit http://rpf.io Our resources are free to use in schools, clubs, at home and at events.
The WhooPi Cushion
You might remember Carrie Anne and me showing off the WhooPi Cushion live on Facebook last year. The project was created as a simple proof of concept during a Pi Towers maker day. However, our viewers responded so enthusastically that we set about putting together a how-to resource for it.
Our FutureLearn course attendees love the video, so last week we uploaded it to YouTube! Now everyone can follow along with James Robinson to make their own WhooPi Cushion out of easy-to-gather household items such as tinfoil, paper plates, and spongy material.
Build upon the WhooPi Cushion
Once you’ve completed your prank cushion, you’ll have learnt new skills that you can incorporate into other projects.
For example, you’ll know how to program an action in response to a button press — so how about playing a sound when the button is released instead? Just like that, you’ll have created a simple pressure-based alarm system. Or you could upgrade the functionality of the cushion by including a camera that takes a photo of your unwitting victim’s reaction!
Building upon your skills to increase your knowledge of programming constructs and manufacturing techniques is key to becoming a digital maker. When you use the free Raspberry Pi resources, you’re also working through our digital curriculum, which guides you on this learning journey.
FutureLearn courses for free
Our FutureLearn courses are completely free and cover a variety of topics and skills, including object-oriented programming and teaching physical computing.
Regardless of your location, you can learn with us online to improve your knowledge of teaching digital making as well as your own hands-on digital skill set.
Learning with Raspberry Pi has never been so easy! We’re adding a new course to FutureLearn today, and you can take part anywhere in the world.
FutureLearn: the story so far…
In February 2017, we were delighted to launch two free online CPD training courses on the FutureLearn platform, available anywhere in the world. Since the launch, more than 30,000 educators have joined these courses: Teaching Programming in Primary Schools, and Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python.
Thousands of educators have been building their skills – completing tasks such as writing a program in Python to make an LED blink, or building a voting app in Scratch. The two courses are scaffolded to build skills, week by week. Learners are supported by videos, screencasts, and articles, and they have the chance to apply what they have learned in as many different practical projects as possible.
We have had some excellent feedback from learners on the courses, such as Kyle Wilke who commented: “Fantastic course. Nice integration of text-based and video instruction. Was very impressed how much support was provided by fellow students, kudos to us. Can’t wait to share this with fellow educators.”
Brand new course
We are launching a new course this autumn. You can join lead educator Laura Sachs to learn object-oriented programming principles by creating your own text-based adventure game in Python. The course is aimed at educators who have programming experience, but have never programmed in the object-oriented style.
Our newest FutureLearn course in now live. You can join lead educator Laura Sachs to learn object-oriented programming principles by creating your own text-based adventure game in Python. The course is aimed at educators who have programming experience, but have never programmed in the object-oriented style.
The course will introduce you to the principles of object-oriented programming in Python, showing you how to create objects, functions, methods, and classes. You’ll use what you learn to create your own text-based adventure game. You will have the chance to share your code with other learners, and to see theirs. If you’re an educator, you’ll also be able to develop ideas for using object-oriented programming in your classroom.
Sign up now to join us on the course, starting today, September 4. Our courses are free to join online – so you can learn wherever you are, and whenever you want.
Next week brings another opportunity for educators to visit the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Bett 2017, the huge annual EdTech event in London. We’ll be at ExCeL London from 25-28 January, and we’ll be running more than 50 workshops and talks over the four days. Whether you’re a school teacher or a community educator, there’s something for you: visit our stand (G460) to discover ways to bring the power of digital making to your classroom and beyond.
Our CEO Philip Colligan will be launching an exciting new free initiative to support educators, live in the Bett Show Arena at 13:25 on Wednesday 25 January. Philip will be joined by a panel of educators who are leading the movement for classroom computing and digital making.
One of our younger community members, Yasmin Bey, delivering a workshop session
Raspberry Pi Stand (G460) – Free workshops, talks, demos, and panel discussions
Find us at our STEAM Village stand (G460) to take part in free physical computing and STEAM workshops, as well as talks led by Raspberry Pi Foundation staff, Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, and other expert community members. We have a huge range of workshops running for all levels of ability, which will give you the opportunity to get hands-on with digital making and gain experience of using the Raspberry Pi in a variety of different ways.
There is no booking system for our workshops. You just need to browse our Bett Show 2017 Workshop Timetable and then turn up before the session. If you miss a workshop and need help with something, don’t worry: the team will be hosting special drop-in sessions at the end of each day to answer all your questions.
Workshop participants will get the chance to grab some exclusive goodies, including a special Educator’s Edition of our MagPi magazine. We also have an awesome maker project for you to take away this year: your very own Raspberry Pi badge, featuring a glowing LED! We’ll supply all the materials: you just need to come and take part in some good old-fashioned digital making.
You can be the proud maker of this badge if you visit our stand
These fantastic free resources will help to get you started with digital making and Raspberry Pi, learn more about our goals as a charity, and give you the confidence to teach others about physical computing.
Our staff members will also be on hand to chat to you about any questions you have about our educational initiatives. Here’s a quick list to get the cogs turning:
Astro Pi: our initiative to enable schools across Europe to send code into space
Code Club: our programme for setting up extra-curricular computing clubs in schools and community spaces
Online training: our new web-based courses for educators on the FutureLearn platform
Picademy: our flagship face-to-face training for educators in the UK and USA
Pioneers: a new initiative that sets digital making challenges for teams of UK teenagers (twelve- to 15-year-olds)
Skycademy: our programme for starting a near-space programme in your school using high-altitude balloons
Talks will be held on the STEAM village stage (pictured) and on our stand throughout Bett
STEAM village sessions
In addition to running workshops and talks on our own stand, we are also holding some sessions on the STEAM village stand next to ours:
13:25 – 13:55
Olympia Brown, Senior Programme Manager, Raspberry Pi Foundation
Pioneers: engaging teenagers in digital making, project-based learning, and STEAM
STEAM Village Stage
12:30 – 13:00
Carrie Anne Philbin, Director of Education, Raspberry Pi Foundation
A digital making curriculum: bridging the STEAM skills gap through creativity and project-based learning
STEAM Village Stage
16:10 – 16:40
Panel chaired by Dr Lucy Rogers, Author, Designer, Maker, and Robot Wars Judge!
These ARE the droids we’re looking for: how the robotics revolution is inspiring a generation of STEAM makers
STEAM Village Stage
11:20 – 11:50
Dave Honess, Astro Pi Programme Manager, Raspberry Pi Foundation
Code in space: engaging students in computer science
STEAM Village Stage
Raspberry Jam and Code Club @ Bett
For the second year running, we are taking over the Technology in HE Summit Space on Saturday 28 January to run two awesome events:
A Raspberry Jam from 10:00 to 12:50. Led by the wonderful Raspberry Pi community, Raspberry Jams are a way to share ideas, collaborate, and learn about digital making and computer science. They take place all over the world, including at the Bett Show! Come along, share your project in our show-and-tell, take part in our workshops, and get help with a project from experts and community members. It’s fun for all the family! Register your interest here.
A Code Club primer session from 13:00 to 15:00. Our regional coordinator for London and the East of England is holding a workshop with a team of young people to show you how to start a Code Club in your school. Come and take part in the live demos and get help with starting your own club.
We’re looking forward to the opportunity to speak to so many different educators from across the world. It’s really important to us to spend time with all of you face-to-face: we want to hear about the great things you’re doing, answer your questions, and learn about the way you work and the challenges you face so we can improve the things we do. We really do value your feedback enormously, so please don’t hesitate for a moment to come over and ask questions, query something, or just say hi! And if you have questions you’d like to ask us ahead of Bett, just leave us a comment below.
By any measure, the Raspberry Pi Foundation had a fantastic 2016. We ended the year with over 11 million Raspberry Pi computers sold, millions of people using our learning resources, almost 1,000 Certified Educators in the UK and US, 75,000 children regularly attending over 5,000 Code Clubs in the UK, hundreds of Raspberry Jams taking place all over the world, code written by schoolkids running in space (yes, space), and much, much more.
Fantastic to see 5,000 active Code Clubs in the UK, helping over 75,000 young people learn to code. https://t.co/OyShrUzAhI @Raspberry_Pi https://t.co/luFj1qgzvQ
As I’ve said before, what we achieve is only possible thanks to the amazing community of makers, educators, volunteers, and young people all over the world who share our mission and support our work. You’re all awesome: thank you.
So here we are, just over a week into the New Year, and I thought it might be a good time to share with you some of what we’ve got planned for 2017.
Young digital makers
At the core of our mission is getting more young people excited about computing, and learning how to make things with computers. That was the original inspiration for the Raspberry Pi computer and it remains our number-one objective.
One of the ways we do that is through Code Club, a network of after-school clubs for 9- 11-year-olds run by teachers and volunteers. It’s already one of the largest networks of after-school clubs in the world, and this year we’ll be working with our existing partners in Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Ukraine, as well as finding more partners in more countries, to bring Code Club to many more children.
This year also sees the launch of Pioneers, our new programme for teen digital makers. It’s built around a series of challenges that will inspire young people to make things with technology and share their makes with the world. Check out the first challenge here, and keep watching the hashtag #MakeYourIdeas across your favourite social media platforms.
UPDATE – The first challenge is now LIVE. Head here for more information https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCUzza7LJog Woohoo! Get together, get inspired, and get thinking. We’re looking for Pioneers to use technology to make something awesome. Get together in a team or on your own, post online to show us how you’re getting on, and then show the world your build when you’re done.
We’re also expanding our space programme Astro Pi, with 250 teams across Europe currently developing code that will be run on the ISS by ESA French Astronaut Thomas Pesquet. And, building on our Weather Station project, we’re excited to be developing new ideas for citizen science programmes that get more young people involved in computing.
British ESA astronaut Tim Peake is safely back on Earth now, but French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is onboard the ISS, keen to see what students from all over Europe can do with the Astro Pi units too.
Another big part of our work is supporting educators who are bringing computing and digital making into the classroom, and this year we’re going to be doing even more to help them.
We’ll continue to grow our community of official Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, with Picademy training programmes in the UK and US. Watch out for those dates coming soon. We’re also opening up our educator training to a much wider audience through a series of online courses in partnership with FutureLearn. The first two courses are open for registration now, and we’ve got plans to develop and run more courses throughout the year, so if you’re an educator, let us know what you would find most useful.
We’re also really excited to be launching a brand-new free resource for educators later this month in partnership with CAS, the grass-roots network of computing educators. For now, it’s top-secret, but if you’re in the Bett Arena on 25 January, you’ll be the first to hear all about it.
Free educational resources
One of the most important things we do at Pi Towers is create the free educational resources that are used in Code Clubs, STEM clubs, CoderDojos, classrooms, libraries, makerspaces, and bedrooms by people of all ages learning about computing and digital making. We love making these resources and we know that you love using them. This year, we want to make them even more useful.
As a first step, later this month we will share our digital making curriculum, which explains how we think about learning and progression, and which provides the structure for our educational resources and programmes. We’re publishing it so that we can get feedback to make it better, but we also hope that it will be used by other organisations creating educational resources.
We’re also working hard behind the scenes to improve the content and presentation of our learning resources. We want to include more diverse content like videos, make it easier for users to track their own progress, and generally make the experience more interactive and social. We’re looking forward to sharing that work and getting your feedback over the next few months.
Last, but by no means least, we will continue to support and grow the community around our mission. We’ll be doing even more outreach, with ever more diverse groups, and doing much more to support the Raspberry Jam organisers and others who do so much to involve people in the digital making movement.
The other big community news is that we will be formally establishing ourselves as a charity in the US, which will provide the foundation (see what I did there?) for a serious expansion of our charitable activities and community in North America.
As you can see, we’ve got big plans for the year. Let me know what you think in the comments below and, if you’re excited about the mission, there’s lots of ways to get involved.
We recently created two free online CPD training courses that are available to anyone, anywhere in the world. The courses will run alongside our current live training offerings, Picademy and Skycademy, and are facilitated by FutureLearn, a leading platform for online educational training.
Our courses begin on 20 February 2017, but you can sign up for both of them right now. To anticipate some of the questions you might have about them, we’ve put together this handy set of FAQs.
Send us an email at [email protected] and one of the teacher training team at Raspberry Pi will get back to you.
What can I expect from the two courses that start in February 2017?
Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python: this four-week course will introduce you to physical computing, showing you how easy it is to create a system that responds to and controls the physical world, using computer programs running on the Raspberry Pi. You’ll apply your knowledge to a series of challenges, including controlling an LED with Python, using a button press to control a circuit, and making a game with buttons and LEDs. If you’re a teacher, you’ll also have the chance to develop ideas for using the Raspberry Pi and Python in your classroom, and to connect with a network of other educators.
Teaching Programming in Primary Schools: this four-week course will provide a comprehensive introduction to programming, and is designed for primary or K-5 teachers who are not subject specialists. Over four weeks, we’ll introduce you to key programming concepts. You’ll have the chance to apply your understanding of them through projects, both unplugged and on a computer, using Scratch as the programming language. Discover common mistakes and pitfalls, and develop strategies to fix them.
How long will the courses take?
Both courses are four weeks long. Each week has around two hours of content for learners to work through. It’s absolutely fine to take more time to reflect and learn at your own pace, though.
Do the courses cost anything?
No, the courses are completely free. If you want a printed certificate to prove that you have completed the course, this is available through FutureLearn for a small fee.
Do I need to be an educator to sign up?
Everyone is welcome to sign up for the courses, though they will be of particular relevance to educators.
Teaching Programming in Primary Schools is designed for non-subject-specialist primary or K-5 teachers. You don’t need any prior experience of programming to take part.
Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python is designed for anyone interested in physical computing. It will be of particular use to non-subject-specialist teachers, computing teachers, and design and technology teachers who are interested in using the Raspberry Pi and Python in their classroom.
I don’t know anything about digital making. Can I still sign up?
Yes! You don’t need any prior experience of programming or physical computing to take part.
Do I need any specific kit to take part?
To take part in Teaching Programming in Primary Schools, you’ll need a computer and access to Scratch.
To take part in Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python, you’ll need:
a Raspberry Pi (any of the models from the B+ through to Pi 3 will be fine)
a micro SD card (8GB minimum) with our Raspbian operating system installed
a monitor and HDMI cable (or VGA adaptor)
a USB keyboard and mouse
a 400-point breadboard
some 47Ω resistors
You can purchase the last six items on the above list as a bundle in the CamJam Edukit 1.
What if I have questions about using a Raspberry Pi?
You can find answers to questions about getting started with Raspberry Pi on our help page.
Where do I find resources to use the Raspberry Pi in the classroom?
We provide a wide selection of free resources for teaching, learning, and making on our Resources pages.
How do I apply for Picademy, the Foundation’s face-to-face training programme?
Picademy is a two-day course that allows educators to experience what they can achieve with a little help and lots of imagination. Through a series of workshops, we introduce a range of engaging ways to deliver computing in classrooms all over the world. Highlights include using physical computing to control electronic components like LEDs and buttons, coding music with Sonic Pi, and terraforming the world of Minecraft. On the second day, attendees have the opportunity to apply what they learned on the first day by developing their own project ideas, learning from each other and our experts.
You can find out more about our Picademy courses in this post.
Raspberry Pi’s free training makes educators happy
We hope this has answered any questions you have, but remember you can always contact us at [email protected]. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now, and get ready to get learning!
At the end of this week, with our final Picademy of 2016 taking place in Texas, we will have trained over 540 educators in the US and the UK this year, something of which we’re immensely proud. Our free face-to-face training has proved hugely popular: on average, we receive three eligible applications for each available place! However, this model of delivery is not without its limitations: after seeing our Picademy attendees getting excited on Twitter, we often get questions like: “Why haven’t you run a Picademy near me yet? When are you coming to train us?”
We grew frustrated at having to tell people that we didn’t have plans to provide Picademy in their region in the foreseeable future, so we decided to find a way to reach educators around the world with a more accessible training format.
We’re delighted to announce a new way for people to learn about digital making from Raspberry Pi: two free online CPD training courses, available anywhere in the world. The courses will run alongside our face-to-face training offerings (Picademy, Skycademy, and Code Club Teacher Training), and are facilitated by FutureLearn, a leading platform for online educational training. This new free training supports our commitment to President Obama’s Computer Science For All initiative, and we’re particularly pleased to be able to announce it just as Computer Science Education Week is getting underway. Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect:
This four-week course will introduce you to physical computing, showing you how easy it is to create a system that responds to and controls the physical world, using computer programs running on the Raspberry Pi. You’ll apply your new-found knowledge to a series of challenges, including controlling an LED with Python, using a button press to control a circuit, and making a button and LED game.
If you’re a teacher, you’ll also have the chance to develop ideas for using Raspberry Pi and Python in your classroom, and to connect with a network of other educators.
This four-week course will provide a comprehensive introduction to programming, and is designed for primary or K-5 teachers who are not subject specialists. Over four weeks, we’ll introduce you to key programming concepts. You’ll have the chance to apply your understanding of them through projects, both unplugged and on a computer, using Scratch as the programming language. Discover common mistakes and pitfalls, and develop strategies to fix them.
Registration opens today, with the courses themselves starting mid-February 2017. We hope they will inspire a new army of enthusiastic makers around the world!
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