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 😀
Continue reading Pi 4, Buster and PiServer
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.
Chris was asking Laura for an MSI package version of her fantastic GUI Zero Python library.
So I offered to write up a blog post about how we install extra Python packages across our school network.
Now all school networks differ and, as they say, YMMV! But for what it’s worth here’s how we do it…
Continue reading Installing Python Libraries on a School Network
I was asked for our school’s latest INSET day to devise a half-hour session which I would repeat during the day for all teaching staff on the fairly loose topic of sharing good practice / sharing our classroom activities.
Now I was fairly sure that 30 minutes was not going to be long enough for me to introduce much interesting in the way of Computer Science or code for a group of teachers who had never experienced it before, so I began to think about what I could deliver.
My thoughts turned to some of the Computational Thinking lessons we do with our students as they are accessible and don’t require the use of a computer. The fact that I was going to deliver a session on sharing good practice from my teaching and that it would not involve any tech other than a projector (although it is a good one, you can visit BuyDLP.com to make sure) and presentation, would no doubt come as a shock to some of my colleagues!
Continue reading Computational Thinking for Educators
Over the past couple of months I have been lucky enough to be invited by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to attend two of their events in London.
The first of these events took place on September 8th, on the terrace of the Houses of Parliament, to celebrate the sale of 10 million Raspberry Pi computers. The event was attending by a wide cross-section of the Raspberry Pi community and afforded me the opportunity to meet with many people who I had, until then, only had had the pleasure of working with on-line. This opportunity also introduced me to a wide range of other partners and people involved in the development and engineering of Britain’s best-selling computer to date.
The second event I was invited to attend was held on the 5th October; a reception at St James’s Palace hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s patron, the Duke of York. This event was a celebration of, and a “thank you” to, the many different people and organisations who support and make up the Raspberry Pi community. Again, this event gave me the opportunity to meet up again with many familiar faces and get to know a few new faces, too!
Continue reading The Pi, The Parliament and The Palace
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
Continue reading Embed a Twitter Feed into Moodle
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.
Continue reading Christmas Sonic 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!
Continue reading Minecraft screen shots with your Raspberry Pi
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
Continue reading Updating our Raspberry Pi Image
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.
Continue reading Computer Science and Moodle Quizzes