Teaching computing with a Raspberry Pi

I have chosen to make my first post about the raspberry Pi www.raspberrypi.org. I love the Raspberry Pi as it takes computing into the real world allowing children to see how so much of their lives are controlled by IT. I imagine most people have heard about these beautiful pieces of technology and if you’re reading this post that’s probably more than true. As a teacher and an unashamedly self taught computing specialist, it has taken me a long time to effectively bring them to primary aged children.

There are a number of problems to overcome:

Technical knowledge

A leap of faith is required for anybody without a technical background it can seem very daunting faced with all the bits and more often than not a command line flashing at you in green. There are great setup instructions on the Raspberry Pi website http://www.raspberrypi.org. If you really want to teach real physical computing persevere with the Pi it is a fantastically rewarding tool and the children love it. I will be putting resources and lesson ideas on the Raspberry Pi page of this blog to help setting up and getting going in a primary environment.

Time

Need I say more. As teachers we have none, but as with anything new it will take some input and commitment to learn and practice to get the best out of the Pi. You never know you may become slightly obsessed like me and your family will disown you!

Equipment

One advantage of the Pi is it’s size but this does come with its own problems. You will need a monitor preferably hdmi connected, a usb keyboard

and a usb mouse. For a lot of schools this is not a problem as most ICT suites will have suitable equipment. If your school has moved away from an ICT suite it will be a lot harder to use laptops and some investment in extra equipment will be necessary.

Once you have overcome these problems it’s simply a matter of letting the children free and you will be amazed at what they can achieve!

Definately look at all the great resources at www.raspberrypi.org


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