It is not only a vital skill for today’s digital world – it will also ignite your students’ imaginations, help them better understand the technology they love to use and introduce a vast range of skills to aid their learning in other disciplines and keep your students competitive in the future job market. Coding is also a lot of fun for you, the teacher, and your students.
If you want to introduce coding to your students in an accessible, fun and educational manner – “micro computing” is a great option.
Microcomputers are scaled-down computers. They contain a microprocessor, memory and a series of ports so you can hook up a keyboard, monitor, mouse and other connections. Microcomputers are slower than their modern laptop or desktop counterparts, but can still provide all the functionality you’d expect from a computer, at a low cost and low-power consumption level. Usually no bigger than the size of a credit card, these tiny computers will also bring massive benefits to your students:
Coding is an empowering experience for students – they can get a computer to do what they want with a few lines of code. This foundation will set your students up for a lifetime of the successful use and management of technology – as well as helping them understand the basic inner workings of computers. In today’s technology-obsessed world, it’s an important transferable skill to have – and one that will help your students stand out from the crowd when they enter the job market.
Using a microcomputer for real-world projects teaches your students to approach a problem from an innovative and different angle. For example, microcomputers can be used as cameras, media centers or retro gaming machines. What’s more, learning to code will help you students understand how to follow instructions and think in a logical way to break down problems into manageable chunks.
Microcomputers are highly versatile pieces of technology. They can be used in a range of ways and, therefore, will help your students to solve problems in new and interesting ways. There’s also a crossover between coding and other creative disciplines. For example, when you write a piece of code you have to progress your thoughts logically to resolve a problem and reach a conclusion. It’s a very similar process to basic storytelling skills – helping your students to improve in their written and oral communications.
Microcomputers make learning to code fun. They will help you to engage your students in a very different way – using their own ideas to build their own projects. You don’t need to endlessly stare at a computer monitor or a textbook – your students can learn through games, apps and doing a little DIY electronics.
And Finally the cost analysis of bringing a micro computer into your classroom … Microcomputers also cost a fraction of the price of PCs or laptops – most kits come in at less than $100.
The Raspberry Pi is a popular microcomputer and, from an educational perspective, it is a great choice for your students. Here’s why:
The Raspberry Pi was originally introduced as a low-cost device to improve programming skills and computer hardware understanding at the pre-university level. Its creators recognized that, although today’s students are prevalent tech users, many do not understand the technology running their iPads, smart phones and gaming consoles. This strong foundation in teaching makes the Raspberry Pi one of the most user-friendly and accessible microcomputers on the market.
There are no moving parts on a Raspberry Pi and these microcomputers can also be housed in a protective casing. You can also buy a Raspberry Pi for just $33 . So, even though it’s difficult to break, you don’t need to worry about expensive replacements.
There are multiple uses for the Raspberry Pi, but you don’t need to spend an excess amount of time to learn how to do something really fantastic with your Pi. The Raspberry Pi is an open hardware initiative – which means that many of the projects for the Pi are well-documented so you can learn from others’ work and modify your Pi to meet your own goals.
There are also plenty of gadgets and gizmos you can attach to your Pi to transform it into anything from a camera to a retro gaming console . Like the Pi, these additional components aren’t too expensive and most projects don’t require additional hardware.
Teaching a bunch of tech-savvy kids how to code may sound like a daunting task – but the Raspberry Pi Foundation has a lot of great resources to help you teach and your students learn – and they’re free. From forums to project suggestions and other educational materials, there’s also a huge community of enthusiasts so you’re bound to find someone to help you with your Raspberry Pi.
A number of educational institutions have used the Raspberry Pi to teach, learn, and entertain. Here are a few of our favorites:
First, you’ll need to buy a Raspberry Pi so you can start to teach yourself the basics. If you’re new to the Raspberry Pi then our Complete Starter Kit will give you everything you need to get started. Or you can choose from our full range of Raspberry Pi kits if you want to expand into specific areas.
Second, sign up to the Raspberry Pi’s Picademy, which is a free teacher training initiative. You can sign up to a two-day training course or train online to get the experience and tools you need to teach computing with confidence. The course will take you through a series of workshops introducing the Raspberry Pi and some great projects you can introduce your students to. You’ll also get the opportunity to develop your own projects for your students. You’ll leave as a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, ready to share your new-found enthusiasm with your students and other educators. The program is quite popular as you will read here.
Last, check out the education section of the Raspberry Pi site. There are a ton of additional resources here to help you understand the world of Raspberry Pi and introduce it to your students. Here are some great places to look:
The versatility of the Raspberry Pi and the support it offers to educators make it a solid choice for your curriculum. There is no right way to introduce the Raspberry Pi to your educational institution. Like the Pi, get creative and start coding.
It will completely change the way your students view the world.
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