Getting started

So I was given the task of teaching computing mainly because at the time I was the most technophile member of staff at the school. Probably my own fault for helping sort out other teachers’ computers.

So where to begin? To begin with I floundered. I did some projects on PCs which were mainly M$ Office based and I also got students to make games in Scratch. It was all okay but I was running out of ideas quickly.

So in January 2015 I visited BETT and came across the Raspberry Pi Foundation. I learnt about their free Picademy programme and saw some of the wonderful projects you could do.

I booked into Picademy for April 2015 and I also got a ticket for the Raspberry Pi birthday bash from the wonderful folks at Pimoroni. At the birthday party I attended some great workshops which convinced me even more that RPis were the way forward for our students. I don’t have a ticket for this years party so if anyone has one to donate šŸ˜‰ …

The Picademy course was brilliant. Really superb training for a newbie like me but also great for more experienced teachers who are new to the Pi. There were so many experts there in their own specialised area of using the Pi. The best thing was that all of them spoke in English rather than the cryptic language used by many in the IT world. Everything was completely focussed on the practical. Constant attention to what could be implemented in the real classrooms of the attendees.

Not only were all of the Picademy tutors inspirational but it was the kind of inspiration that stays with you. Nearly a year later and I am still excited by the possibilities that the course shone a torch on for me.

Anyway it took me the summer term to put a bid together for equipment and persuade SLT to fund it. Throughout the first half of Autumn term 2015 I ordered resources from Pimoroni, The Pi Hut and CPC-Farnell (all suppliers I would highly recommend). The second half of that term I was laid up with a prolapsed disc. As a typical teacher I found it impossible to do nothing schooly, so instead spent my time familiarising myself with the new version of Scratch, playing around with the Balloon PiTay popper, trying to get VNC to play nicely with ‘Jessie’ and building a robot from the wonderful CamJam Edukit #3 (the result was RoboCroc which even got featured on The Guardian website).

When I returned to work at the beginning of January I found that the amount of Computing I was expected to teach had doubled whilst at the same time I had been moved to a room with no computers!

This was probably the best thing that could have happened as it forced me to turn immediately to using the Raspberry Pi.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-28-at-07.48.311

Picademy, yes, that weird looking chap in the middle with the green and purple shirt is me šŸ™‚

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