On 20th September, 2012, I joined around sixty other Raspberry Pi enthusiasts at the very colourful Mozilla Offices in London for the third Raspberry Jam. This is a informal meeting of minds, where hobbiests, indursty bods and electronic startups come to share ideas and (often) reminisce about the BBC Micro.
I went there with my co-conspirators, @jennyfer37 and @missphilbin with the aim of crowdsourcing ideas for an open-source scheme of work for ICT/#digitalstudies, with the Raspberry Pi at the very heart of the scheme. The Raspberry Pi had been gifted to the educational community, but it was up to us to create somethnig from it. What was best?
While the majority of tables filled with wires and monitors, we went all analogue (as regular readers will both know I am a keen advocate of), and littered our table with stickers, sweets, post-its and some garish card. We then harrassed and harangued those walking past and showing an interest to tell us what they knew, and what they thought.
Before showing you the fruits of all our labours, I have to say I was amazed by the enthusiasm of those who we spoke to. They all wanted to see more technology in the classroom, and had several thoughts on what was missing from those recent graduates in their industries. Above all, there was a genuine and exciting sense of willing to help out – we forced several people to say they would help us, but many more said that they would happily write a guide, or answer questions, or give discounts on products. We really were keeping the flame alive!
It was clear that we needed to consider the skills needed by the teacher before anything was even taught – a key point which we as enthusiasts hadn’t considered!
The need for the RPi was self-evident from those who spoke to us – this device had a genuine excitement factor, but that didn’t necessarily mean it was essential to the modern school curriculum…
This caused a lot of conversations, with the different backgrounds influencing their decisions. Any scheme of work would clearly have to take into account hardware and software needs and issues, with the RPi needing attention from both.
We love a good project idea, and this was great fun to see develop! The range of uses was varied and in some cases, incredibly ambitious, but almost without fail, the person who suggested the idea also said that they would write something to help others make the project work! Raspberry Recipes to follow (we hope!).
These were added near the end, and I wish we had added them sooner – there was a lot of debate over when some key skills should be taught. Logical thinking for example, should it be taught twice, both in Primary and Senior School? Is it even a skill within ICT, or something else?
This is however my favourite pic – all the calls to arms were worth it! The folks who added their names here were incredibly generous with their support, and may live to regret saying ‘if you need a hand with…’
To take this further, I have created a blank google doc, which I hope to add to, and others will too, covering the key skills required and needed, in order to flesh out plans for the future! Please please contribute!