It has been updated for the latest Raspberry Pi OS Lite (Buster at the time of writing). You will need a copy of this on an SD Card, all of the parts listed in the bill of materials below and to be comfortable with working on the command line and over SSH to follow along.
I was very excited with the release of the Raspberry Pi 4, not just because I am a great fan of the Raspberry Pi and wanted to get my hands on the latest and greatest; but also because I have been teaching my Computer Science classes pretty much exclusively using the Raspberry Pi computer for the past few years.
I say “pretty much” because there had always been a few sticking points when we had to leave my RPi CS classroom and up sticks to the Windows PC lab. In the most part it was when we needed to do any graphics editing (in Photoshop) or anything that relied on using Google Drive and Docs heavily.
It was with great excitement that I saw the new Pi 4 with 4 Gb of RAM and full gigabit networking… However as network boot was not available out-of-the-box and the PiServer software was not yet updated to be used with Pi 4s and Raspbian Buster; there was a bit of work to do…
With great thanks to the devs over at the PiServer github page, I now have a working PiServer setup for use with Pi 4 devices! Set up instructions below 😀
We took the family away to Camp Bestival this summer (as we do most years) and as we have three young children we took a festival trolley with us to help move the youngest child and associated paraphernalia around with us. Each year we try to decorate the trolley a little bit to brighten it up and this year I thought I would use a 1 m strip of 144 NeoPixels I had at work which were sat around not being used!
Having used these in class before I knew that they were sometimes a tricky beast to get working with a Raspberry Pi, but also having recently completed a chapter in my book using a similar DotStar strip to create a LED matrix across the front of a laptop bag; I felt sure that I could get a portable solution up and running for the NeoPixels and a Raspberry Pi. Now this solution is perhaps more involved than how you could get things going in the lab; but to get it working for our festival trolley the whole solution needed to be portable and powered from battery packs.
Open UDP port 123 and TCP port 9418 for the IP range of your devices on the school firewall so that they can use GIT and NTP without issue
Create a new desktop launcher for Chromium so that it auto-detects your school network proxy (this is assuming you are pushing your proxy servers .pac file out via DHCP and/or DNS!) – The guide for this part is detailed below…
Whilst creating some lesson slides in Google recently I wanted to add some moving images to the slides. You can see an example of one the slides I am talking about embedded below. It is a session that I delivered with Dan Aldred at the ExaBytes17 conference about using the Raspberry Pi Sense Hat.
This question keeps coming up on various forums and on Twitter so I thought I would share how we install Python and the extra libraries we use across our school network. A recent discussion on Twitter between Chris Sharples and Laura caught my attention.
At our last Hull Raspberry Jam, one of our budding Python coders asked me how she could detect keyboard input in a Python script and perform different actions dependent upon which key was pressed.
We both did a bit of searching around and found a few sample pieces of code, but none of them quite did what we wanted. As we were leaving I said that I would research it a bit more, and if she had not found out how to do it before the next Hull Raspberry Jam, I would have some working code for her to use.
I don’t want to ruin the surprise about what her plan is, but needless to say, it will be a very cool project if she completes what she wants to do, more on that later!
In a recent #NT2tEU Twitter chat someone posed the question about how you link Twitter and Moodle together. There were suggestions about using your Twitter account to post messages about upcoming events and assignments in Moodle, linking back to them with the URL.
The way I tend to use Twitter and Moodle together is the other way round. I let Moodle take care of sending out the emails it needs for notifications, and I use Twitter as a way of pulling interesting feeds of information back into my Moodle courses.
To do this we are going to set up a Twitter Widget and then embed this code into a HTML block on our Moodle course page
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.
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!