March 27, 2017 psweeze

Everything you wanted to know about the Raspberry Pi (but were afraid to ask)

This session is for anyone that is interested in integrating the Raspberry Pi into their classroom. Whether you teach English, Science or any technology course, there are numerous activities and projects that can foster a more dynamic and engaging classroom

The Raspberry Pi Foundation works to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world, so they are capable of understanding and shaping our increasingly digital world, able to solve the problems that matter to them, and equipped for the jobs of the future.

We provide low-cost, high-performance computers that people use to learn, solve problems and have fun. We provide outreach and education to help more people access computing and digital making. We develop free resources to help people learn about computing and how to make things with computers, and train educators who can guide other people to learn.

These low-cost, high-performance computers have contributed to the maker culture throughout the UK and North America. I’ve only recently introduced them to my own Broad-Based Technology class, and have been impressed with the results. I’ve seen disengaged students become invigorated with an open-ended task that requires them to troubleshoot on a daily basis.

The one caveat I would put in place for those starting out would be to prompt those new to these computers to stick to the resources provided on the Raspberry Pi website This will alleviate a lot of the confusion, as there are a plethora of different resources out there, many of which are outdated. They are now on the 3rd version of the Pi and have countless Raspian builds available for download. You’ll want to stick with the newest version of Raspbian Jessie or NOOBS (both of which will let you access Raspian Jessie).

For those that are curious about the differences between an Arduino and the Raspberry Pi, I’d highly recommend the following Medium article that dissects this topic thoroughly: If I were to provide a brief summary myself, I’d suggest the Raspberry Pi. The main reason being the multifunctional capacity of this incredible mini-computer. Whereas the Arduino is more of a hardware device that offers students an opportunity to learn circuitry and C++ equivalent programming.

The Raspberry Pi’s versatility is probably it’s strongest asset. Whether you want to use it in your English class to get students to experiment with and enjoy the Shakespearean dialogue, or to dive deep into the Space Unit in Grade 9 Science, there are a lot of options.

Additionally, this computer inspires. What’s more motivational and engaging than a device that was part of a national coding project in the UK that travelled with a British Astronaut Tim Peake to the International Space Station. It’s projects like these that inspire students in technology classes and makerspaces in classes all over the world.

This computer has numerous accessories and has the capacity to connect to multiple peripherals and devices. In the Google Slides attached at the top I run through a number of different learning activities to introduce you to the Raspberry Pi and hopefully get you started on your journey towards a more engaging classroom.

The affordances provided by this device are limitless. If you need further proof, just watch these two duel with Harry Potter wands. Expelliarmus!

Also published on Medium.