PyCon UK 2018 will take place on Saturday 15 September to Wednesday 19 September in the splendid Cardiff City Hall, just a few miles from the Sony Technology Centre where the vast majority of Raspberry Pis is made. We’re pleased to announce that we’re curating this year’s Education Summit at the conference, where we’ll offer opportunities for young people to learn programming skills, and for educators to undertake professional development!
PyCon UK 2018 is your chance to be welcomed into the wonderful Python community. At the Education Summit, we’ll put on a young coders’ day on the Saturday, and an educators’ day on the Sunday.
Saturday — young coders’ day
On Saturday we’ll be running a CoderDojo full of workshops on Raspberry Pi and micro:bits for young people aged 7 to 17. If they wish, participants will get to make a project and present it to the conference on the main stage, and everyone will be given a free micro:bit to take home!
PyCon UK has been bringing developers and educators together ever since it first started its education track in 2011. This year’s Sunday will be a day of professional development: we’ll give teachers, educators, parents, and coding club leaders the chance to learn from us and from each other to build their programming, computing, and digital making skills.
We invite you to send in your proposal for a talk and workshop at the Education Summit! We’re looking for:
25-minute talks for the educators’ day
50-minute workshops for either the young coders’ or the educators’ day
If you have something you’d like to share, such as a professional development session for educators, advice on best practice for teaching programming, a workshop for up-skilling in Python, or a fun physical computing activity for the CoderDojo, then we’d love to hear about it! Please submit your proposalby 15 June.
After the Education Summit, the conference will continue for two days of talks and a final day of development sprints. Feel free to submit your education-related talk to the main conference too if you want to share it with a wider audience! Check out the PyCon UK 2018 website for more information.
Cue the lights! Cue the music! Picademy is back for another year stateside. We’re excited to bring our free computer science and digital making professional development program for educators to four new cities this summer — you can apply right now.
We’re thrilled to kick off our 2018 season! Before we get started, let’s take a look back at our community’s accomplishments in the 2017 Picademy North America season.
Picademy 2017 highlights
Last year, we partnered with four awesome venues to host eight Picademy events in the United States. At every event across the country, we met incredibly talented educators passionate about bringing digital making to their learners. Whether it was at Ann Arbor District Library’s makerspace, UC Irvine’s College of Engineering, or a creative community center in Boise, Idaho, we were truly inspired by all our Picademy attendees and were thrilled to welcome them to the Raspberry Pi Certified Educator community.
JWU Providence’s College of Engineering & Design recently partnered with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to host Picademy, a free training session designed to give educators the tools to teach computer skills with confidence and creativity. | http://www.jwu.edu
The 2017 Picademy cohorts were a diverse bunch with a lot of experience in their field. We welcomed more than 300 educators from 32 U.S. states and 10 countries. They were a mix of high school, middle school, and elementary classroom teachers, librarians, museum staff, university lecturers, and teacher trainers. More than half of our attendees were teaching computer science or technology already, and over 90% were specifically interested in incorporating physical computing into their work.
Picademy has a strong and lasting impact on educators. Over 80% of graduates said they felt confident using Raspberry Pi after attending, and 88% said they were now interested in leading a digital making event in their community. To showcase two wonderful examples of this success: Chantel Mason led a Raspberry Pi workshop for families and educators in her community in St. Louis, Missouri this fall, and Dean Palmer led a digital making station at the Computer Science for Rhode Island Summit in December.
Picademy 2018 dates
This year, we’re partnering with four new venues to host our Picademy season.
In issue 4, our international panel of educators and experts recommends approaches to continuing professional development in computer science education.
Approaches to professional development, and much more
With recommendations for more professional development in the Royal Society’s report, and government funding to support this, our cover feature explores some successful approaches. In addition, the issue is packed with other great resources, guides, features, and lesson plans to support educators.
The Royal Society: After the Reboot — learn about the latest report and its findings about computing education
The Cyber Games — a new programme looking for the next generation of security experts
Engaging Students with Drones
Digital Literacy: Lost in Translation?
Object-oriented Coding with Python
Get your copy of Hello World 4
Hello World is available as a free Creative Commons download for anyone around the world who is interested in computer science and digital making education. You can get the latest issue as a PDF file straight from the Hello World website.
Thanks to the very generous sponsorship of BT, we are able to offer free print copies of the magazine to serving educators in the UK. It’s for teachers, Code Club volunteers, teaching assistants, teacher trainers, and others who help children and young people learn about computing and digital making. So remember to subscribe to have your free print magazine posted directly to your home — 6000 educators have already signed up to receive theirs!
Could you write for Hello World?
By sharing your knowledge and experience of working with young people to learn about computing, computer science, and digital making in Hello World, you will help inspire others to get involved. You will also help bring the power of digital making to more and more educators and learners.
The computing education community is full of people who lend their experience to help colleagues. Contributing to Hello World is a great way to take an active part in this supportive community, and you’ll be adding to a body of free, open-source learning resources that are available for anyone to use, adapt, and share. It’s also a tremendous platform to broadcast your work: Hello World digital versions alone have been downloaded more than 50000 times!
Today the Royal Society published After the Reboot, a report card on the state of computing education in UK schools. It’s a serious piece of work, published with lots of accompanying research and data, and well worth a read if you care about these issues (which, if you’re reading this blog, I guess you do).
The headline message is that, while a lot has been achieved, there’s a long way to go before we can say that young people are consistently getting the computing education they need and deserve in UK schools.
If this were a school report card, it would probably say: “good progress when he applies himself, but would benefit from more focus and effort in class” (which is eerily reminiscent of my own school reports).
After the Reboot comes five and a half years after the Royal Society’s first review of computing education, Shut down or restart, a report that was published just a few days before the Education Secretary announced in January 2012 that he was scrapping the widely discredited ICT programme of study.
There’s no doubt that a lot has been achieved since 2012, and the Royal Society has done a good job of documenting those successes in this latest report. Computing is now part of the curriculum for all schools. There’s a Computer Science GCSE that is studied by thousands of young people. Organisations like Computing At School have built a grassroots movement of educators who are leading fantastic work in schools up and down the country. Those are big wins.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has been playing its part. With the support of partners like Google, we’ve trained over a thousand UK educators through our Picademy programme. Those educators have gone on to work with hundreds of thousands of students, and many have become leaders in the field. Many thousands more have taken our free online training courses, and through our partnership with BT, CAS and the BCS on the Barefoot programme, we’re supporting thousands of primary school teachers to deliver the computing curriculum. Earlier this year we launched a free magazine for computing educators, Hello World, which has over 14,000 subscribers after just three editions.
More to do
Despite all the progress, the Royal Society study has confirmed what many of us have been saying for some time: we need to do much more to support teachers to develop the skills and confidence to deliver the computing curriculum. More than anything, we need to give them the time to invest in their own professional development. The UK led the way on putting computing in the curriculum. Now we need to follow through on that promise by investing in a huge effort to support professional development across the school system.
This isn’t a problem that any one organisation or sector can solve on its own. It will require a grand coalition of government, industry, non-profits, and educators if we are going to make change at the pace that our young people need and deserve. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be working with our partners to figure out how we make that happen.
The other 75%
While the Royal Society report rightly focuses on what happens in classrooms during the school day, we need to remember that children spend only 25% of their waking hours there. What about the other 75%?
Ask any computer scientist, engineer, or maker, and they’ll tell stories about how much they learned in those precious discretionary hours.
Ask an engineer of a certain age (ahem), and they will tell you about the local computing club where they got hands-on with new technologies, picked up new ideas, and were given help by peers and mentors. They might also tell you how they would spend dozens of hours typing in hundreds of line of code from a magazine to create their own game, and dozens more debugging when it didn’t work.
One of our goals at the Raspberry Pi Foundation is to lead the revival in that culture of informal learning.
The revival of computing clubs
There are now more than 6,000 active Code Clubs in the UK, engaging over 90,000 young people each week. 41% of the kids at Code Club are girls. More than 150 UK CoderDojos take place in universities, science centres, and corporate offices, providing a safe space for over 4,000 young people to learn programming and digital making.
So far this year, there have been 164 Raspberry Jams in the UK, volunteer-led meetups attended by over 10,000 people, who come to learn from volunteers and share their digital making projects.
It’s a movement, and it’s growing fast. One of the most striking facts is that whenever a new Code Club, CoderDojo, or Raspberry Jam is set up, it is immediately oversubscribed.
Welcome back to another month of Hot Startups! Every day, startups are creating innovative and exciting businesses, applications, and products around the world. Each month we feature a handful of startups doing cool things using AWS.
July is all about learning! These companies are focused on providing access to tools and resources to expand knowledge and skills in different ways.
This month’s startups:
CodeHS – provides fun and accessible computer science curriculum for middle and high schools.
Insight – offers intensive fellowships to grow technical talent in Data Science.
iTranslate – enables people to read, write, and speak in over 90 languages, anywhere in the world.
CodeHS (San Francisco, CA)
In 2012, Stanford students Zach Galant and Jeremy Keeshin were computer science majors and TAs for introductory classes when they noticed a trend among their peers. Many wished that they had been exposed to computer science earlier in life. In their senior year, Zach and Jeremy launched CodeHS to give middle and high schools the opportunity to provide a fun, accessible computer science education to students everywhere. CodeHS is a web-based curriculum pathway complete with teacher resources, lesson plans, and professional development opportunities. The curriculum is supplemented with time-saving teacher tools to help with lesson planning, grading and reviewing student code, and managing their classroom.
CodeHS aspires to empower all students to meaningfully impact the future, and believe that coding is becoming a new foundational skill, along with reading and writing, that allows students to further explore any interest or area of study. At the time CodeHS was founded in 2012, only 10% of high schools in America offered a computer science course. Zach and Jeremy set out to change that by providing a solution that made it easy for schools and districts to get started. With CodeHS, thousands of teachers have been trained and are teaching hundreds of thousands of students all over the world. To use CodeHS, all that’s needed is the internet and a web browser. Students can write and run their code online, and teachers can immediately see what the students are working on and how they are doing.
Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, Amazon ElastiCache, Amazon CloudFront, and Amazon S3 make it possible for CodeHS to scale their site to meet the needs of schools all over the world. CodeHS also relies on AWS to compile and run student code in the browser, which is extremely important when teaching server-side languages like Java that powers the AP course. Since usage rises and falls based on school schedules, Amazon CloudWatch and ELBs are used to easily scale up when students are running code so they have a seamless experience.
Insight was founded in 2012 to create a new educational model, optimize hiring for data teams, and facilitate successful career transitions among data professionals. Over the last 5 years, Insight has kept ahead of market trends and launched a series of professional training fellowships including Data Science, Health Data Science, Data Engineering, and Artificial Intelligence. Finding individuals with the right skill set, background, and culture fit is a challenge for big companies and startups alike, and Insight is focused on developing top talent through intensive 7-week fellowships. To date, Insight has over 1,000 alumni at over 350 companies including Amazon, Google, Netflix, Twitter, and The New York Times.
The Data Engineering team at Insight is well-versed in the current ecosystem of open source tools and technologies and provides mentorship on the best practices in this space. The technical teams are continually working with external groups in a variety of data advisory and mentorship capacities, but the majority of Insight partners participate in professional sessions. Companies visit the Insight office to speak with fellows in an informal setting and provide details on the type of work they are doing and how their teams are growing. These sessions have proved invaluable as fellows experience a significantly better interview process and companies yield engaged and enthusiastic new team members.
An important aspect of Insight’s fellowships is the opportunity for hands-on work, focusing on everything from building big-data pipelines to contributing novel features to industry-standard open source efforts. Insight provides free AWS resources for all fellows to use, in addition to mentorships from the Data Engineering team. Fellows regularly utilize Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon EMR, AWS Lambda, Amazon Redshift, Amazon RDS, among other services. The experience with AWS gives fellows a solid skill set as they transition into the industry. Fellowships are currently being offered in Boston, New York, Seattle, and the Bay Area.
Check out the Insight blog for more information on trends in data infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and cutting-edge data products.
When the App Store was introduced in 2008, the founders of iTranslate saw an opportunity to be part of something big. The group of four fully believed that the iPhone and apps were going to change the world, and together they brainstormed ideas for their own app. The combination of translation and mobile devices seemed a natural fit, and by 2009 iTranslate was born. iTranslate’s mission is to enable travelers, students, business professionals, employers, and medical staff to read, write, and speak in all languages, anywhere in the world. The app allows users to translate text, voice, websites and more into nearly 100 languages on various platforms. Today, iTranslate is the leading player for conversational translation and dictionary apps, with more than 60 million downloads and 6 million monthly active users.
iTranslate is breaking language barriers through disruptive technology and innovation, enabling people to translate in real time. The app has a variety of features designed to optimize productivity including offline translation, website and voice translation, and language auto detection. iTranslate also recently launched the world’s first ear translation device in collaboration with Bragi, a company focused on smart earphones. The Dash Pro allows people to communicate freely, while having a personal translator right in their ear.
iTranslate started using Amazon Polly soon after it was announced. CEO Alexander Marktl said, “As the leading translation and dictionary app, it is our mission at iTranslate to provide our users with the best possible tools to read, write, and speak in all languages across the globe. Amazon Polly provides us with the ability to efficiently produce and use high quality, natural sounding synthesized speech.” The stable and simple-to-use API, low latency, and free caching allow iTranslate to scale as they continue adding features to their app. Customers also enjoy the option to change speech rate and change between male and female voices. To assure quality, speed, and reliability of their products, iTranslate also uses Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, and Amazon Route 53.
This column is from The MagPi issue 49. You can download a PDF of the full issue for free or subscribe to receive the print edition in your mailbox or the digital edition on your tablet. All proceeds from the print and digital editions help the Raspberry Pi Foundation achieve its charitable goals.
Before I became a part of the maker movement, my impression of a library was mostly formed by my childhood experiences there. Both my school and local public library were places for books, magazines, newspapers, and research. In short, it was a place for quiet reading. Libraries today look and sound a lot different than I remember. Many now include makerspaces, tools for connected learning, and spaces for community gathering.
But if you take a closer look at what these institutions set out to accomplish in the first place, then the reason they’ve transformed becomes clear. Take, for instance, the mission of the Seattle Public Library, which is to “[bring] people, information, and ideas together to enrich lives and build community.” The mission of the library isn’t directly related to reading, even though reading can be a big part of achieving that mission.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the central branch of the Seattle Public Library. The fifth floor is called ‘The Mixing Chamber’ and is a designated location where people, information, and ideas can come together. Of course, there’s plenty of material to read at the main branch of the Seattle Public Library, but this building in particular makes it very clear that they’re about more than just reading.
Of course, library makerspaces use Raspberry Pi just like any other makerspace would: as a platform for DIY projects. There are even many libraries that create Raspberry Pi checkout kits so that their patrons can experiment with Raspberry Pi in their own time, either in the library or at home.
And just as Raspberry Pi is used in the classroom to learn about computing, it’s also being used in the library for the very same reason. We’ve had many librarians come to our Picademy educator professional development programme to learn about teaching people with digital making and computing. These librarians have gone on to share their knowledge and our learning resources with their patrons. Librarians especially love that our content, including The MagPi, is available online entirely for free, and is Creative Commons licensed.
What I particularly like about the librarians I’ve encountered is that they don’t just put Raspberry Pi in the hands of their patrons, but they use our computers as a tool for their own work. For instance, I recently met Richard Loomis from the Somerset County Library System in New Jersey. He uses Raspberry Pis for networked digital signage across a few different branches. And John Jakobsen from the Palos Verdes Library District recently shared how he set up Raspberry Pis as terminals for their public access catalogue, replacing old and expensive computers. So librarians don’t just talk the talk: they also walk the walk.
I’m optimistic that libraries will continue to thrive as technology changes. At the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we’re delighted to see that libraries all over the world use our computers for digital making, education, and utility. Our organisation’s connection with libraries will always be rich and meaningful, not only because of the way they use Raspberry Pi, but because we have something critical in common with them: we deeply value accessibility and community.
By all accounts, the pilot expansion of Picademy to the United States has been a huge success. In fact, we’ve already held three workshops and inducted 120 new Raspberry Pi Certified Educators on U.S. soil. So far we’ve had two workshops in Mountain View, CA and one in Baltimore, MD.
The case for giving all students access to CS is straightforward. Nine in ten parents want CS taught at their child’s school and yet, by some estimates, only a quarter of K-12 schools offer a CS course with programming included. However, the need for such skills across industries continues to rapidly grow, with 51 percent of all science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs projected to be in CS-related field by 2018.
If you’re a professional educator, we want you to join us at a Picademy workshop. We haven’t yet selected the cities for 2017’s program, but please fill out this form to receive an update when we announce new cities and when applications open.
As we see more customers transition their business to the cloud, we are also seeing increased demand in the market for skilled IT professionals who are capable of designing, deploying, and operating applications and infrastructure on AWS. IT certifications are considered a gold standard for validating technical proficiency and one’s ability to perform on the job. Obtaining certification is often a pathway for IT professionals to move into roles offering expanded responsibilities. Training that leads you toward earning IT certification is becoming more important as individuals look to grow their careers and customers build institutional knowledge and skills within their organizations.
Global Knowledge recently released their 2016 IT Skills and Salary Report (registration required). The report is based on input from more than 10,000 IT and business professionals in North America who responded to Global Knowledge’s ninth annual IT Skills and Salary Survey, one of the largest of its kind. Global Knowledge’s findings highlight the importance of training and also show the value of AWS Certifications for AWS Certified individuals.
Top 5 Findings I’d like to highlight the top 5 findings that stood out in this year’s report:
Three-fourths of respondents said they participate in some form of professional development to build new skills, and half said preparing for a career certification or specialist exam is a top motivator.
Overall, 59% of IT professionals are currently working on, or plan to pursue, some form of certification within the current year.
Of respondents who pursued certification in the preceding year, 73% noted an increase in their job effectiveness because of related training.
21% of those who reported a significant raise (11 percent or greater) attribute it to the development of new skills that were of added value.
Employees in organizations with training plans in place reported being less likely to leave their companies (78 percent versus 73 percent for those without a plan and 69 percent for those who were unsure if such plans exist).
These are some really interesting findings; here’s a summary in infographic form (please feel free to share it):
AWS Training & Certification As a reminder, AWS currently has 5 certifications spanning roles of Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, Developer, and DevOps Engineer. AWS also offers several ways to help you prepare for exams, including a portfolio of technical training courses. Whether you’re looking to take a self-paced and online lab or dive deep with a technical instructor, we have training for everyone’s needs.
Global Knowledge is one of our many APN Training Partners which are authorized to deliver AWS Training around the globe. You can find available classes in our Global Class Schedule or contact us to arrange for onsite training.
In April 2014 we ran our first ever training event for teachers. We called it ‘Picademy‘, and we selected 24 fabulous teachers to attend and gave them a qualification and a very special badge at the end.
Our aim was to give teachers the skills and knowledge they need to get creative with computing, no matter what their level of experience.
Educators teach, learn and make with us at Picademy
Two years on, there are now over 700 Raspberry Pi Certified Educators around the world working with tens of thousands of young people. We know that many of our Certified Educators have gone on to become leaders in the field, helping to train other educators and build a movement around computing and digital making in the classroom.
Based on the huge volume of questions and enquiries we get from people who want to get involved in Picademy, we think we’re onto something, and we’re developing some exciting plans for the future. For now, I wanted to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Picademy.
Picademy offers teachers two full days of hands-on Continued Professional Development (CPD) workshops, and attendees become Raspberry Pi Certified Educators. It’s free, and our friends at Google are supporting us to offer it at their Digital Garage venues around the UK. Watch the experiences of attendees at [email protected] in Leeds, then find out more and apply at rpf.io/train.
Picademy is a two-day course that allows educators to experience what can be achieved 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 day two, attendees have the opportunity to apply their learning by developing their own project ideas, learning from each other and our experts.
Each cohort that attends contains a mix of primary, secondary and Post-16 educators representing many different subject areas. One of our aims is to create leaders in education who are equipped with skills to train others in their community. Attending our training is the first step in that journey.
When are you bringing Picademy to [insert name of place here]?
This is by far the most common question. There is clearly a huge demand for the kind of professional development that Picademy offers.
So far, we’ve been mainly focused on the UK. The first wave of events were held at Pi Towers in Cambridge. Over the past year, thanks to the generous support of our friends at Google, we have been able to bring Picademy to cities across the UK, with events in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester. In the next few months, we will be running events in Newcastle, Liverpool and London. The venues are part of the Google Digital Garage initiative, and we’ll be running Picademy sessions with them until at least April 2017, so we hope to pop up in a city near you soon!
This year, we launched a pilot programme in the USA, with our first ever Picademy training events outside the UK taking place in California in February and April before heading to Baltimore in August.
We don’t currently have plans to launch Picademy in other parts of the world. We’d love to, but we just don’t have the capacity. We are brainstorming ideas for how the Foundation can better support educators globally and as those ideas develop, we’ll be looking for your input to help shape them.
We often get asked whether we will partner with organisations in other parts of the world who want to run Picademy on our behalf. We aren’t currently considering those kind of partnerships, but it is one of the options that we will be looking at for the long-term.
I’m not a teacher, but I want to learn about Raspberry Pi. Can I attend?
Picademy is designed for teachers. The aim is to equip them with the best possible pedagogy, strategies, tools and ideas to bring digital making into the classroom. It’s also about building a community of educators who can support each other and grow the movement.
It’s not a “How to use Raspberry Pi” course. There are lots of websites and video channels that are already doing a fantastic job in that space (see our Community page for a small selection of these).
We know that there are lots of people who aren’t formal teachers who help young people learn about computing and digital making, and we are working hard to support them. For example, we have a huge programme of training for Code Club volunteers.
For Picademy, our priority is to support the people at the chalkface, where access to professional development is problematic and where up-skilling in digital making is needed most.
We have accepted applications from people in other roles, like teaching assistants and librarians, who work with children every day in schools or other community settings, but the vast majority of participants have been qualified, serving teachers.
If you want to learn about Raspberry Pi, one of the best places to start is a Raspberry Jam. There are now hundreds of Jams happening regularly around the world. These are community events, run by brilliantly talented volunteers, that bring together people of all ages to learn about digital making.
Can I have access to the course materials?
All our Picademy sessions are based on resources that are available for free on our website. Some of the most common sessions are based on:
Getting started with Physical Computing in both Scratch and Python
Our focus is on collaboration, making, project-based learning, and computing – similar to most Raspberry Jams, in fact. If you are super-interested in STEAM, project-based learning, and digital making (the pillars of Picademy), then I’d recommend the following reading as a starting point:
Using code we have created a funfair! All components triggered by #Python codes we have written ourselves #picademypic.twitter.com/J5spWvoQom
Our trainers all have experience of teaching in formal contexts, have good subject knowledge and a super-supportive manner. They share their expertise and passion with others which is inspiring and infectious. The educators that attend are open-minded, imaginative and curious. Together we have a lot of fun.
Who can I speak to about Picademy?
The teacher training team at the Foundation consists of three full time people: Picademy Manager James Robinson, Code Club Teacher Training Manager Lauren Hyams, and Education Team Co-ordinator Dan Fisher. Do reach out to us via the forum or social media.
We’re supported from across the Foundation and our wider community by an awesome team that helps us design and deliver the events.
Without the support of all these people, we would not be able to run the volume of events that we do – a huge thank you with bells on to all our helpers from me!
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