MrsF
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I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 6:14 am

I have been given a year 9/10 ICT/programming class to teach in a few weeks. I would love to use a Raspberry Pi in my classes as a way of physically teaching coding etc.
I am considering buying the basic kits of Pi - R Pi3, power, HMDI cable, case, SD card etc, and use our current screens, mice and keyboards.
What can we do/make/create without having to spend too much extra money on extras?
Which are the best extras to buy if you have to?
Any really easy projects?
I have used Scratch a lot if that helps.

Thanks :D

dome77
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 12:00 pm

Sorry, I cannot help you, but you might try posting your question in one of the Education forums here.

blaablaaguy
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 12:04 pm

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flatmax
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 12:10 pm

Lots of people like building LED animators for audio. That could be fun ... not sure what, however if you want audio input, you will need an add on either a USB sound card or a purpose built Raspberry Pi add on sound card.

Matt
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broe23
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 12:20 pm

You are not going to have enough time to learn. You will find out that some of your students will know more than you do.

I would go back and ask for a student to help teach the class as a way for the student to not only build up credits for college points. But also to give them the ability of teaching their peers and also teaching you a few tricks.

I have been back into Linux pretty heavy for the past two months. I am still just playing around with hardware and pre-built scripts.

I know nothing about Python. But could probably teach myself in no time, because I do not have a deadline and a job that could be yanked from me.

Worst case scenario is that you get them to agree on using a student or bring in a Contractor who helps out writing code for Linux for companies and have them teach the students in a way that they may not be able to understand.

It takes on average about six months to understand just the basics of how the programming language, OS and Hardware works together. It can take some up to four years before they get a firm grasp of the more exotic methods of using the programming language.

I may still know some Basic and Assembly language programming from when I spent all of my Jr. High and High School years doing from 1979 through 1985 and again from 1989 to 1984.
Ren: Now listen, Cadet. I've got a job for you. See this button? Ren: Don't touch it! It's the History Eraser button, you fool! Stimpy: So what'll happen? Ren: That's just it. We don't know. Maybe something bad, maybe something good.

broe23
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 12:23 pm

flatmax wrote:Lots of people like building LED animators for audio. That could be fun ... not sure what, however if you want audio input, you will need an add on either a USB sound card or a purpose built Raspberry Pi add on sound card.

Matt
You know the sad thing about that. We did that in Interior Communication and Basic Electricity/Electronics, when I was in school for the U.S. Navy.

It was all about understanding how 1's and 0's run our lives. Except back then we used a Bread Board and electronic parts that behaved like a computer does with the gates and diodes, etc..
Ren: Now listen, Cadet. I've got a job for you. See this button? Ren: Don't touch it! It's the History Eraser button, you fool! Stimpy: So what'll happen? Ren: That's just it. We don't know. Maybe something bad, maybe something good.

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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 4:13 pm

Check the connections on your monitors before buying cables for them. Specifically, check to see if they HDMI or DVI inputs and get HDMI to either HDMI or DVI to match.

yodermk
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 4:33 pm

I'm *all* for Raspberry Pi's, but in this case do you have existing computers in the classroom? It sounds like it. If that's the case I wonder what kind of value-add there would be to use RPi's. You can run Scratch, Python, and code.org stuff on any desktop.

Unless you want to get into physical computing, in which case of course the RPi would add value, but that's a bit beyond "just" programming.

stderr
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 5:02 pm

MrsF wrote:I have been given a year 9/10 ICT/programming class to teach in a few weeks. I would love to use a Raspberry Pi in my classes
I'm not sure what "ICT" means. The current version of wikipedia claims: "ICT has no universal definition, as "the concepts, methods and applications involved in ICT are constantly evolving on an almost daily basis."[3] The broadness of ICT covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form, e.g. personal computers, digital television, email, robots.", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Informati ... _education .

Without really knowing what you mean by ICT, it's difficult to respond. Is your class going to be about physical aspects of computing? Is it supposed to be about that? What are student's expectations? Are they going to know ahead of time that you are going to be teaching them some specific computer language or will they be expected to just pick that up or already know it while you focus on other things?

It would be good to teach in a language you know before the class starts. I've watched lectures where the instructor has switched to a new language and it can be done but it's nothing for someone who is trying to come across as being relatively authoritative in a broad sense. Eddie Izzard managed to be funny doing stand up comedy in French even though he had to keep asking the audience how to say things, so being out there on the edge can work!

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DougieLawson
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Mon May 30, 2016 7:02 pm

MrsF wrote: Which are the best extras to buy if you have to?
Breadboards, lots of LEDs (get red, green and amber then you can do traffic lights), some resistors (560 ohm) as current limiting for LEDs, PIR and an ultrasonic distance sensor (with a 1K & 2K resistor as a voltage divider). Add a bunch of Dupont wires (get about 80 each of M-M, M-F & F-F) to make the connections between Raspberries and breadboards and breadboards and sensors/LEDs. You should be able to source that stuff within a reasonable budget.

That gets you ready for https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/ph ... th-python/ which is probably a good starting point once you've gone through the Scratch stage.

You can do some of the physical stuff with Scratch, but I've never looked at that.
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ejolson
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Tue May 31, 2016 4:57 am

stderr wrote:I'm not sure what "ICT" means.
In the context of Raspberry Pi, ICT generally refers to the national curriculum.
yodermk wrote:I'm *all* for Raspberry Pi's, but in this case do you have existing computers in the classroom? It sounds like it. If that's the case I wonder what kind of value-add there would be to use RPi's.
I think the original post was, in fact, asking for ideas concerning cheap physical computing projects. Such projects can't be done with Windows PCs for two reasons: no GPIO and the danger of burning out an expensive computer when things go wrong.

While the easiest physical computing project is to make LED lights turn on and off, I personally like projects that are mobile and make use of motors.

Along these lines I've mounted a Pi on top of a remote control car and connected the GPIO to the H-bridges that control the wheels. It looked quite amusing. The only cost was the price of the toy car, wires, a few resistors, extra batteries and a 5v regulator and capacitor to make the power supply. The resulting car could turn right, turn left, go straight and reverse using Python to toggle the appropriate GPIO pins. The Pi could also record similar movement commands as the original remote control was used to pilot the car. A WiFi dongle allowed programs to be loaded, edited and run on the car.

The Pi car seemed interesting to the 12 and 13 year olds who tried to write programs for it to move in a predicted pattern. However, it required a room about the size of a basketball court for use. In addition to the resources pages, the blog and the MagPi are good places to look for physical computing ideas.

Forris
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Tue May 31, 2016 6:17 am

DougieLawson wrote:
MrsF wrote: Which are the best extras to buy if you have to?
Breadboards, lots of LEDs (get red, green and amber then you can do traffic lights), some resistors (560 ohm) as current limiting for LEDs, PIR and an ultrasonic distance sensor (with a 1K & 2K resistor as a voltage divider). Add a bunch of Dupont wires (get about 80 each of M-M, M-F & F-F) to make the connections between Raspberries and breadboards and breadboards and sensors/LEDs. You should be able to source that stuff within a reasonable budget.

That gets you ready for https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/ph ... th-python/ which is probably a good starting point once you've gone through the Scratch stage.

You can do some of the physical stuff with Scratch, but I've never looked at that.
Well done, Dougie, for a positive, helpful post (as usual). I second all of those ideas. I can't believe all the negative posts above!

MrsF; welcome to the forums :)

The items that Dougie mentioned will get you off to a good start ( I would maybe add some buttons, or 'tactile switches' as they are sometimes called) and you'll be surprised how much your students can do with just a basic kit of parts. However, as W. H. Heydt said above, please make sure you get the correct cables for your monitors. Have you checked that they can take an HDMI connector?

The parts mentioned are available from many online vendors. If you have no ethical or patriotic issues with buying from overseas, there are plenty of Far East (China, Hong Kong, etc) sellers on EBay, or one of the larger operations, such as Banggood.com. Shipping is almost always free from these suppliers, and buying in bulk will save you money (500 leds for £5 !).

As for Scratch, I think you're right to start with what you know. If you're happy to stick with buttons and leds for now, then the Scratch that comes as standard with the more recent Raspian images gives you gpio control. See here for documentation: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... /README.md
If you ignore all of the stuff about add-on boards, you should be able to get your head around it. You may find it easier to look at the 'Examples' folder within Scratch (on the Pi), under the 'File' tab. Or see the 'Resources' page on the website - https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/ph ... h-scratch/

If you want to do more with Scratch (and it's a lot more powerful than most people realise) on the Pi, try one of the 3rd party add-ons, such as Simon's ScratchGPIO.
http://simplesi.net/scratchgpio/scratch ... rypi-gpio/

Anyway, MrsF, I hope that has helped a bit. Have fun with your lessons, and don't be afraid to come back if you any more questions. There are also other parts of the forums dedicated to teaching and using Pi's in the classroom which, while they might not get so much traffic, the people that do check there regularly understand more about the issues you will have.

Regards, Darren.

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B.Goode
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Tue May 31, 2016 10:07 am

Welcome Mrs F - some more ideas for sources of information:

First port of call -the Raspberry Pi Foundation [RPF] website itself, especially the Education section:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/education/

and within that the Resources section for all the Teach/Make/Learn materials:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/resources/

One of the leading members of the RPF Education team is Carrie Anne Philbin. She wrote a book, Adventures in Raspberry Pi while she was still a classroom teacher: http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle ... 46025.html

It is possible to buy a ready-to-go kit of parts to support the experiments and tutorials in that book: https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/adve ... ukebox-kit

Another way to get kits of parts that will work with an RPi is to look at the CamJam Edukits. There are 3 kits: starter; sensors; and robotics. These also come with pre-written worksheets showing how to connect things up and do basic experiments: http://camjam.me/?page_id=618

The suggestion made previously that you might be able to find 'Digital Leaders' from among your students is a good one. But while they might be able to help with the technology, the SoW and pedagogy will still be down to you. As a source of professional advice, have you joined (for free) the Computing at School network? They too have discussion forums and a large online resources library: http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/news_items/105 and http://community.computingatschool.org.uk/.

And finally, although your timescale is too short this time around, some sources of CPD for yourself include PiCademy https://www.raspberrypi.org/picademy/. CodeClubPro https://www.codeclubpro.org/ and BareFoot Computing http://barefootcas.org.uk/ are similar but are primary-focussed.

Have you heard of STEM Ambassadors? http://www.stemnet.org.uk/educators/ Maybe your local STEMNET coordinator could help you find an Ambassador to assist as a mentor?

Good luck!

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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Tue May 31, 2016 11:15 am

dome77 wrote:Sorry, I cannot help you, but you might try posting your question in one of the Education forums here.
Moved topic accordingly.
Various male/female 40- and 26-way GPIO header for sale here ( IDEAL FOR YOUR PiZero ):
https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=93&t=147682#p971555

MarcScott
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Re: I am a new Programming Teacher who needs help!

Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:45 am

Hi MrsF,

I work in the Raspberry Pi Education team, so I'm happy to answer your questions and give you any advice you may need.
Your post was unclear if you have done much work with Raspberry Pis before, so before you go out an buy a class set of the things, can I suggest that you get your own one and have a play around with a few Physical Computing Projects.

A good place to start, as advised above is with either https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/ph ... th-python/ if you're into Python or https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/ph ... h-scratch/ if Scratch is more your thing. If you're students are in Year 9, they may have done "Scratch to death" though, and might be ready for the next stage.

With regard to kit to buy, you might like to start off with http://camjam.me/?page_id=236. It's relatively cheap and has everything you need to get started. The second kit has sensors in it as well, which are fun to play with.

After that, have a look through the resources on our site and pick and choose the projects you think students might be interested in.

Once you're happy, go ahead and kit out your classroom. If you're buying class sets of electronic components then the cheapest options will be to get them from http://www.aliexpress.com/ if you don't mind waiting for them to be shipped, or maybe just off ebay.

HTH

Marc

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