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The first steps with the Raspberry Pi in Education

Avatar Posted by Pete Wood at

Our Raspberry Pi Design Centre is the hub for most of our content. We welcome anyone to post Raspberry Pi Knowledge on our site which we can feature in our Design Centre. We'd very much like to hear from Teachers like Brian on their thoughts on Raspberry Pi in Education, and as it gather momentum, share your experiences and any programs or hardware add ons you have produced in the classroom.


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    Posted by pauljclarke at


    Good to see you asking the questions. First stop did you read my blog (just my point of view) on using the Raspi in education?

    I think it would be intresting to hear some of your ideas and key things you would like to teach. I think the board as the option to teach lots of things in lots of areas. Form Phyon to C programming, Used for web server and then you could write php and use mySQL.

    I think one thing for certain is that anything you put in front of the kids MUST inspire them to play with it in just a few min's. They need to experiment, Programming in my view is not hard and fast rules to learn but a sand pit to experiment in. Thats how I learned with a ZX81.

    What ever your ideas I think this is key and you need a good frame work to guide them. When stuff dont work they get board easy.

    Also intrested in what age group you are talking about? is this Key Stage 3 & 4?

    Also do you get involved in the young engineer challanges? Selex Galileo? or local engineering challanges as these can help focus towards. I know in this area there is a STEM group that connect schools with loacl engineers to help them.

    But as i said - what ideas do you have then we can talk about them more.


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    Posted by sharland at

    Hi Pete

    Thank you for the link - bookmarked and will probably provide a very good basis for getting going.  i will definitely try and blog as much as possible on how i use it my pupils.



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    Posted by sharland at

    have updated blog

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    Posted by Pete Wood at

    You can read a blog about Raspberry Pi by sharland in our blog section

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    Posted by sharland at

    I am a Head of ICT at a small girls school in Oxfordshire.  I say Head of ICT but with DfE putting in the boot to the subject (quite rightly I think) my title will probably be changing at some point.  I am leading the charge to develop a new subject called #digitalstudies which will encorporate both the essential digital literacy skills of the old ICT curriculum but also include programming, aspects of computer science as well basic engineering using something like the Pi or Arduino boards.

    So what I would like to do is use this knowledge share feature to discuss how we get started with the Raspberry Pi in class and how we build up our resources and activities with the Pi being used by novice pupils and teachers.


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    Posted by jmarriott at


    I am a 12 year old boy, i have registered my intrest with rs because i am really exited about getting a pi. Any one got any ideas of simple but easy to do projects i  could do with my pi when i get it. Also this may seem stupid but, what coding language does the pi use.



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    Posted by milnepe at

    Hi Jamie,

    One of the popular programming languages supported on Raspberry Pi is Python. This is quite easy to learn but very powerful and is used by the Linux system. The place to start is where you will find links to tutorials and a very helpful community. We will also be posting Blogs on using Python on DesignSpark like this one which covers installing the latest version.

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    Posted by albertmaya99 at

    The Organization of Knowledge Exam 642-902 has also been rated in the top ten in the places of primary knowledge, additional knowledge, and educational attitude among others.

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    Posted by albertmaya99 at


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    Posted by dividebyzero at

    Possibly we should start by getting things right in this forum. Python is a programming language. Linux is an operating system. They are not the same thing. An operating system is a collection of programs which carry out the basic functions that a computer needs to operate. For example to control hardware like disc drives, write information to the screen and accept input from the keyboard. These programs are written in one, or more, programming languages.

    There are many different programming languages. The reasons for this are complicated. Sometimes someone will invent a new programming language because it is a cool thing to do. But mostly because there a lot of different types of problems to solve and no one programming language is suitable for them all. So a software engineer writing an operating system may well use "C" (which most of LINUX is written in) because it is very good for low level control of hardware. An accountant may well program in Visual Basic and Excel because they are both very good at financial calculation. A biologist doing work with the human genome might choose BioPearl, an artist might choose a language with a strong graphics and musical capability without much need for maths.

    I like Python very much as a programming language, it is simple but quite powerful and nicely supported on the Pi. I think, in the right hands, it is a good teaching language. Programming is quite simple really, it comes down to three basic things, sequence, selection and iteration. In fact writing programs is not really the issue at the heart of computing. The heart is understanding the problem and designing programs to solve it. And good design is, in my experience, something that is never taught in schools and that's a shame. A good programmer will understand the problem and the desired outcome before writing any code, a bad one will dive straight into the coding before they have thought it through.

    I like the Pi very much (I own 2) but it is not a silver bullet, nor was the BBC computer. The real problem that schools face is the lack of suitably qualified and trained teachers with some enthusiasm for the subject, good training materials and proper funding. It was the same back in the days of the BBC computer. A lot of people in the software business (and i was one), wouldn't hire people who had studied computing at school or who had a home computer because they were untrainable. Some of this came down to the choice of BASIC as a programming language and the incredibly bad habits it encouraged (unless you knew what you were doing)...At least with PYTHON we have made some progress.

    Thats enough from me...

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