There’s been a media brouhaha about coding recently**. The Hour of Code puts this into perspective—it’s all about demystifying what coding is, having a play and realising that it isn’t as arcane or difficult as you thought. Of course at one end of the scale, computer science can be as challenging as it gets. But at the other end you can dip your toe in and start to appreciate that Computing as a subject, and programming specifically, can be creative, purposeful and lots of fun.
And if you’d like to try some Raspberry Pi based activities as part of the Hour of Code week here’s a small taster of the teaching and learning materials that we’re writing and collating for our new website (launching end of March). It includes Sonic Pi, Minecraft Pi, Google Coder and, of course, a screaming jelly baby. Enjoy :)
Carrie Anne and Ben from the Raspberry Pi Education Team are telling me to shut up now as they would like to say stuff. So I’ll leave them to it…
During the Jamboree at the EICE conference last week, Ben and I spoke about our work at the foundation on the new website and our vision to produce educational Raspberry Pi resources for teachers and learners. Since this talk we have been inundated with offers of support and want to know more. (This is the best community!)
There are many ways in which you can help us:
- Firstly by taking an active role in the education section of our forum. If you have created a great resource, ran a good workshop session, or created a video tutorial, then post it here. Let’s get this section of the community talking.
- Submit your resources to be used on the new website (leave a comment below to get in touch, and we’ll email you). In the not too distant future we would like to create a form for you to submit your resources to be considered for use. We are writing our resources in markdown, so if you already have stuff on GitHub for example it would be easy for us to point to them or fork them for reuse. You may wish to write up your mega cool resources in a similar way.
- We need testers! Before many of our resources go live, especially those intended for the classroom, we would like them to get feedback from our audience and suggestions. We’d also like to make sure they work! Again, leave a comment if you’d like to help.
- Run a Jam in your area. Why not start a Jam or attend a jam in your area to support young people and invite teachers from local schools to attend?
The Hour of Code resources are a taster of what is to come on the website, and we would be interested in hearing your feedback on them. Please test, check, and give us productive pointers.
Introducing Raspberry Pi Learning on GitHub! We set up a new GitHub organisation to host our learning resources and educational material. Each resource will have its own repository here, and we’ll be using git to manage changes in the team and from the community. Within hours of these being live (even before we announced it) we had our first pull request from Alex Eames – who fixed some typos and cleaned up some Python GPIO code with better practices (thanks, Alex!).
Our resources are written in Markdown, which is really easy to use and to manage. The links in the Hour of Code page show the markdown rendered by GitHub, and when we launch our new website they will be rendered nicely in the site template, which work beautifully on screen. We’ll also provide printer-friendly alternatives. (We’re not showing you what things will look like in the new site template yet because we don’t want to spoil the surprise!)
If you’re writing any resources or documentation (or anything, really) I’d recommend you look at using Markdown – you can pick it up quite quickly with this GitHub Flavoured Markdown guide. If you spot a mistake or have an improvement you can open an issue to alert us of it, or even fork the repository, fix it and open a pull request, which we can evaluate and merge if suitable.
[**Short version: ‘coding’ is actually just a small part of computing, which is a fantastically rich, exciting, creative, challenging, cross-curricular, all-around-us-in-everyday-life, useful and powerful toolkit for thinking, problem solving and making stuff. Phew.]