Build your Raspberry Pi and get Coding!

Physical Computing at the Innovation Centre Bradford on PhotoPeach

Last week existing and prospective Digital Leaders from St John’s CE Primary School attended the Innovation Centre Bradford with their teacher Mr Burton. The school has a well deserved reputation for innovative use of technology and pupils play a big part in teaching their peers and teachers how to use new and emerging technology safely and purposefully. With this in mind the children attended the Innovation Centre to take part in a day of Physical Computing. At the heart of this is the Raspberry Pi. Each small group had to identify the parts in the Pi and work out what their function was as well as classify them as input or output devices. When it came to assembling it all the children had their Raspberry Pi up and running in less than ten minutes, the fastest group managed this in two!

The operating system we used on the Raspberry Pi s was called Kano this is a free, open source operating system created by the people who make the Kano, a child friendly way of buying the Raspberry Pi with almost everything you need to operate it. The great thing about the Kano OS is that once you have built it you can customise your avatar and unlock points and costumes by completing challenges. These can involve coding using Python or Python blocks in Pong, Minecraft or Snake to name three. The children thoroughly enjoyed working through the challenges to create the algorithms to meet the challenges.

Later in the day we used Picoboards and Makey Makeys with laptops, although we could have run these through the Raspberry Pi too. One of the highlights was using the electrical current sensotrs to generate different music loops when different fruits were touched. The chiuldren showed amazing skills during the day and worked through the challenges in a logical and patient way. They constantly exhibited the skills of teamwork and resilience when met with problems and showed what superb skills they had which explains why the Digital Leaders at St John’s Primary are of such a high standard.

The children left with a couple of Picoboards to borrow for a few weeks to build on the skills they gained during the day. If you’d like your children to take part in a day like this please contact the Innovation Centre or email me.

Tim Bleazard

Tim has over 20 years experience as a primary school teacher, twelve of them as an ICT co-ordinator. In 2009 he was seconded to Challenge City Learning Centre and used the opportunity to assist schools in their understanding and use of a range of new and emerging technologies. He joined the team as a Curriculum Innovation Consultant in 2012. Tim is a qualified E-Safety Mark Assessor, CEOP Ambassador, Apple Professional Development Authorised Trainer and a Google Certified Teacher. Tim’s role includes evaluating a range of mobile devices (Apple, Android and Microsoft) and advising on their appropriate use in schools. Tim is passionate about blogging, programming and using creative digital technology such as video, animation, photography and audio to raise attainment across the curriculum. He leads the very successful ‘Media Literacy Leaders’ project in partnership with Bradford UNESCO City of Film, the British Film Institute and Cape UK.

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