Raspberry Pi Inventions
The Raspberry Pi Inventions Workshop is all about exploring the enormous potential of this £26 computer in the real world. The Pi lifts the lid on computers allowing anyone, children in particular, to experiment, explore and create.
The Raspberry Pi is cheap enough to risk 'embedding' it in places other computers can't reach and powerful enough to impact global problems, including energy use, access to information and technological disenfranchisement. It's great fun, too.
The workshop is designed for teachers who already have some knowledge of programming. We use Python on the course, so knowledge of this language is preferable, but as long as you understand the basic concepts of programming - variables, syntax, loops, conditionals, functions - you will be ok. We recommend a few sessions on the Python section of Code Academy beforehand if your programming is rusty.
We'll be using a development kit made up of common and easy to buy components. The kit makes it easy to read sensors, turn motors, retrieve and send data to the internet. No prior knowledge of electronics is required, but a desire to create ingenious devices from the resources available will not go amiss.
Example inventions so far include a 360 degree timelapse webcam robot to film cress growing, a chocolate cake security system that posts pictures of offenders on Twitter, a drawing robot that plots energy use and a huge dial guage thermometer. You can take these projects as starting points and, depending on your interests and skills, take them in totally new directions.
This session has been designed with secondary teachers in mind, though primary teachers with strong IT skills who wish to explore the full potential of the Pi are very welcome.
If the idea of programming and electronics is daunting to you, then the Raspberry Pi Introduction Workshop is a better bet.
The price includes a free USB drive with software and resources.
- Explore the possibilities of the Raspberry Pi
- Ideas for how to make computer programming interesting for children
- Understand how to expand the Pi's capabilities with sensors and actuators
- Take part in a group project to build something fun with the Pi
What other teachers have said about the course
Small number of attendees allowed for quality 1:1 time. It allowed me to start to explore the capabilities of the Pi for process control.
Steve Hindle, The Toynbee School
Raspberry Pi Inventions, Bristol 04 July 2013
I liked the high level of tutor assistance and interaction with the other attendees. It was just what I needed to get started with the Raspberry Pi.
Pauline Hewgill, Watford Grammar School for Boys
Raspberry Pi Inventions, London 10 July 2013
I enjoyed being able to practice coding using the Pi and the hands on experience with expert advice to hand. Trainers were very knowledgeable about the Pi and programming and were able to deal with all questions/issues.
Martin Root, Shoeburyness High School
Raspberry Pi Invetions, Bristol 14 May 2013
An introduction to the Pi
- The Pi is a general purpose computer, like a PC on your desk. However, it has limitations like how much power can be taken from its USB ports, and how fast it runs. It also has some extra functionality that makes it easier to add external sensors or actuators (like temperature sensors and motors). We'll also take a look at some inspirational projects to give you some ideas for using the Pi in school.
How to get started
- What you need to get started: cables, batteries, power supplies, SD cards
- Connecting to the Pi over the network
- Setting the Pi up as a standalone computer
A programmer's orientation to Python
- We'll quickly cover types, assignments, statements, conditional statements, loops, function definitions and libraries to get you up to speed with Python.
Flash an LED!
- A great first project that demonstrates the Pi's ability to be turned into a real world computer. After you've built the circuit you'll learn how to control the LED with Python.
- The afternoon will provide us with time to invent. You'll have access to a range of example programs and equipment and will be able to experiment with:
- actuators: motors, servos, LEDs
- sensors: cameras, buttons, temperature sensors
Key Stage: KS3, KS4, KS5
Focus: Computing, ICT
Price: £275 + VAT per person
Also available as INSET