Thursday, 17 April 2014


I have just come back from two days in Cambridge, at Pi Towers, and I am equally exhausted and full of excitement! I was given some free Pis after doing the Hour of Code before Christmas, but have had little time to play about with them, (teachers are always busy busy busy). I really appreciated having two days to spend playing with my Pi, hearing from experts and working with other teachers.

We were looked after by Carrie Anne during our whole stay. On the first day of Picademy we were greeted with lovely swag bags and put into teams [Go Team Minecraft!] We spent the day taking part in different workshops, learning the basics of Pi, how to use Sonic Pi, the camera attachments, how to control Minecraft by coding with Python on the pi and how to use scratch to control attachments (LED lights). We were given just the right amount of time to get to grips with the basics and to feel confident enough with going forward.

On the second day we listened to several talks including an introduction to the wonderful things Pis can do by Eben Upton, a further exploration of Sonic Pi and making music with Sam Aaron, information on the Pi community from Matt Manning, and an introduction to GitHub from Ben Nuttall. I usually hate when you get talked at, but this was in such a small room, and the talks were short and lively, so they were enjoyable and still useful!

For the rest of the day we played! I played about with the fortune teller code in python, creating a shouty P.E. teacher, ("You think you are tough, do 50 sit-ups NOW") and a code about Sonic Pi which told you the type of music you needed to create, (Horror, Sci-Fi, Disco) and I played about with the camera and some lights. I used a lot of this time to chat with other educators and to see what they were doing too - the most impressive was the attempt at a bullet-time video!

Proof of how inspired we all felt:

I've come away from the experience feeling really excited about my future Pi lessons. I've been pro-active and asked for a few goodies, including several books, wires, LEDs, cases and monitors and they seem to have been approved! I've also re-organised my library, The Hub, into more of a maker space, with a Lego corner, Raspberry Pi area, permanent green screen and an area to make Stop Motion Animations!

This weekend I am going to make three Raspberry Pi posters with my boyfriend, (who is a fancy-pants Graphic Designer). I'm also going to hopefully make a paper cut-out stop motion animation about Pi, (similar to my Dewey video) and then I will get onto my lesson/unit planning. I aim to do my first pi unit focussing on introducing pi, then creating music with Sonic Pi. I'm also going to stay as active as I can in the Pi community, posting on the forum and attending Jams, including CamJam in May.

I will of course share every single resource I make and will detail my adventures on this blog.

For now, enjoy this rad video "What is a Raspberry Pi?"