Category Archives: Computer Science

Raspberry Jam Logo

Hull Raspberry Jam – 23rd April 2016

This weekend I was lucky enough to be involved with hosting the second Raspberry Pi Jam event that Hull has seen. Through Twitter, Claire Garside and myself got talking and a tweet of my Raspberry Pi robot I was building one weekend, led to a discussion about re-igniting the Raspberry Jam events in Hull.

Thanks must go to Claire and the Leeds Raspberry Jam team for the loan of all the equipment which allowed our event to go ahead. Thanks also must go to Malet Lambert and Stephen Logan for allowing us to use their space.

The event kicked off with an introduction to the Raspberry Pi and allowed people to get hands on setting up their Pi and getting everything running. They then had a chance to hack a Scratch game and try to improve it.

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#Picademy Day 2 – The results

So as I went into day 2 of #Picademy I had decided upon a “motion activated camera which tweets the photo taken along with a random poem, giving you a LED countdown indicator” for my project.

Some of this I had previously coded (the random poem part) which you can see running in this Trinket app below:

My thoughts were that I could make use of this to create the text of my tweet adding the #Picademy hashtag to the end too.

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#Picademy – Day 2 Planning

So after day one of #Picademy my evening was spent thinking about, and reading about what I could do for my project on day 2.

My initial thoughts was to use a USB microphone to get an audio feed into a Raspberry Pi to then try and use Python to “listen” to the microphone and react to different audio levels coming in; a kind of graduated analogue switch if you like… So between #Picademy finishing and meeting up for the evening meal I spent my time walking (quickly!) around Manchester trying to find a shop selling basic USB microphones; to no avail!

So over the evening meal I was discussing this idea more with Les and we thought it maybe possible to use the Jack Audio Server to flip the Pi’s inbuilt headphone jack into a microphone jack. This is possible on Ubuntu, as a quick search on our phones verified; so I thought we were on to a winner here. However after a little playing around with my Pi back at the hotel, it turns out that the HDA-Jack-Retask application just does not work with the Raspberry Pi soundcard 🙁

This left me back at square one… What do to on day 2?

So I wake with this thought… “A motion activated camera which tweets the photo taken along with a random poem, giving you a LED countdown indicator” – Should be easy!

Watch this space for progress!

#Picademy – Day One

This February I was one of the lucky few to be accepted on the Picademy event at Google’s Digital Garage in Manchester. More details about the event can be found here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/picademy/google/manchester/

This post is a summary of my thoughts after day one – more as a memorandum for me than anything else. Apologies if I have forgotten any of the sessions or put them in the wrong order; to coin a phrase used in the training, I reached “cognitive overload” fairly quickly!

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Christmas Sonic Pi

This week my Year 8 class asked if they could do something festive with me for their last lesson before we break up next week. Now I am not a believer in stopping work just because it is the last week of term, but I thought I could probably give them a Computer Science lesson and easily add a Christmas theme to get the best of both worlds. I gave them the choice of either using Python Turtle art to create festive pictures, or use Sonic Pi to “code” some Christmas music.

The class went for Sonic Pi; so I thought I would share my lesson plan here.

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Hello Minecraft World!

Minecraft screen shots with your Raspberry Pi

We are just about to begin teaching our Python and Minecraft unit at school so I began testing everything out on our latest Raspberry Pi image to make sure we were ready for the lessons and adjust any of the lesson plans if necessary.

Our latest Raspberry Pi image runs Jessie. Now one of the improvements Jessie brings us is that the Print Screen button on your keyboard has been set up to run Scrot in the background to save a png screen shot into your home directory. You can read more about it here.

Now that is great as for quite some time taking a screen shot on your Raspberry Pi involved installing Scrot and then running it from the terminal; not the most user-friendly way to get students to take screen shots!

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Getting your Raspberry Pi to update through your school firewall

I have seen many posts on both Twitter and CAS about teachers having issues getting their class Raspberry Pis to update and install software through their school firewalls, so I thought I would share the simple solution that I have implemented at my school.

It actually leverages something that I put in place for our Ubuntu Linux servers, but works just as well for Raspberry Pi devices too.

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Updating our Raspberry Pi Image

We have just purchased a set of Raspberry Pi 2 boards to upgrade our Raspberry Pi B+ / HDMIPI set-up which we have been using for Computer Science this year. I will not go into the reasons why or the specifications of the Raspberry Pi 2; but needless to say the performance increase seen will make teaching with these devices much easier!

So we received our new Pi 2 boards and got straight into removing the old B+ boards from our HDMIPI set-up and installing the new Pi 2 boards. Pretty soon I ran into an issue though; having replaced the Pi board and using one of our SD Cards with our current image installed on it, the system would not boot; it just sat there at the rainbow boot screen. It turns out that the Pi 2 has an updated ARM processor and therefore needs the latest updates installing for the Pi to boot.  Now I could have just downloaded the latest Rasbian image and been up and running, but we have quite a few customisations to our image which I wanted to keep

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Computer Science and Moodle Quizzes

I have been teaching our Year I (NC year 7) girls Computer Science since September now and I am approaching the end of the course, when it will rotate to the other half of the year group. I thought it best to carry out some assessment of their learning of the previous unit before we start the final unit on Web Design.

As all of my resources and grades for the course are set up within Moodle I thought what better to use for the assessment than a Moodle Quiz.

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