The Raspberry Pi is a $35 computer you can hold in your hand. It's the size of a credit card, and was expressly designed for teaching and learning. You can use it to teach programming, but it’s also literally open, so students can do things like attach LEDs, sensors, and even motors, and control them with code. Students can use the Raspberry Pi with expternal parts to make things go!
The Raspberry Pi is different from microcontrollers like the Arduino; it is a full scale computer in a tiny package. The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with 4 GB of memory can handle tasks that formerly required desktop computers or Chromebooks.
The College of Computing and Software Engineering (CCSE) offers several Raspberry Pi Teacher Workshops each year. Teachers complete a "guided experimentation" project with a Raspberry Pi, then design and complete a project of their own. Finally, they work with others to complete a group project of their own design.
Workshop participants take away a teacher kit containing a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, case, power supply, and parts pack to use in their classrooms. The workshops are offered free of charge to qualified teachers. We are able to offer these workshops free because of grants and some generous contributions by individual donors. (If you would like to support this effort, we would welcome your donation.)
Working with Students
I can help students get started with the Raspberry Pi. Students probably need at least one session a week for several weeks. Whether I can do that depends on your schedule and mine. We'd need at least one Raspberry Pi "setup" per two students.
Each setup needs, at a minimum, the following:
- Raspberry Pi, preferably Model 3 B+
- Power supply
- USB keyboard and mouse
- HDMI or DVI monitor and suitable cable
- A microSD card with operating system; ideally each student or pair of students would have their own microSD card (I can help with loading the software.)
- A parts kit containing, at a minimum, a breadboard, jumper wires, LEDs, and resistors. There are many available. I like the Picademy parts kit but I can work with what you have.
There's plenty more that can be added. I've put together a shopping list to help you get started.
I am a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator.
Working with Teachers
I'd love to work with a teacher or teachers to develop a set of lesson plans for teaching physical computing. The sweet spot for students is probably middle school. Each teacher working on such a project would need access to a Raspberry Pi setup similar to the one for students described above. (Everything except keyboard, mouse, and monitor is supplied for teachers who attend our workshop.)
A certain amount of in-person work, either before or after school, would be necessary, but I think most of the work can be done by remote control using email and a shared resource like Google Drive.
I am available to work with school districts to present the workshop described above or to design and deliver other professional development activities for teachers.
- Teachers' Workshop resources
- Raspberry Pi shopping list
- Precautions - Taking care of your Raspberry Pi
- Duplicating multiple microSD cards.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has a wealth of material available free, and many other people have written material for the Raspberry Pi.
Last update: 2021-08-20 13:15
Originally published: 2018-09-25