Monday, March 2, 2015

Day 60: Three more reasons to order another Raspbery PI

My classroom has always been filled with project based learning opportunities, student leadership, student choice, student voice, and lots of tech. I will never forget when two high school seniors, Heidi and Nick each chose to build their own computer as their final project  for my class. (2001).   Accessing the The Internet had finally stopped being a long distance phone call and these students had access to lots of information on how to do this using the World Wide Web.   Along with inspiration and instructions they found online, they used some of the spare parts from my computer classroom, and saved up to order other necessary parts.  Each of them was successful and left high school with a new computer and a feeling of empowerment.

Well a lot has happened since 2001, that makes this opportunity accessible to more and more students.  New developments in technology has made the parts more affordable and accessible.  
I remember ordering my own  Raspberry Pi.  when they were first announced.  This credit-card sized computer was developed by the  Raspberry Pi Foundation  to help teach computer science in schools.   The computer arrived at a time when I was in the middle of some other projects and I let a friend borrow and never got to play with my new toy.  

Well this month I learned three new reasons to order another Raspbery Pi.  

1) While  visiting the  GeekBus in San Antonio I  was inspired by how Mark Barnett has equipped the bus with a flexible computer lab created with very portable Raspberry Pi stations. He even tipped me off about the newly released  Raspbery PI 2  which is  even more powerful than the original $35 model. 

2)  During my GeekBus tour  I was introduced to the KANO operating system for the Raspbery Pi which included some super cool ways for kids to CODE using Minecraft.  Not only can kids use a SCRATCH LIKE interface, the the interface actually shows them the CODE they are building as "real code" beneath their building blocks.  As if building in Minecraft was not cool enough! This is triple cool and is the perfect way to lead Minecraft builder into coders.

3) Along with a free open source OS, Kano offers a super cool Build Your Own computer kit  complete with instructions  and a Raspbery Pi that were written for a 7 year old.   How cool is that! 

After watching this young lady put her kit together, I was so inspired.  She made it look so accessible. I immediately started browsing the Raspberry Pi sites to learn more about the Rasperry Pi accessories.  

The big question being - was WHY buy the kit!  Why not go out and buy the  $35 Raspbery PI and related accessories.  

And then it occurred to me... the #1 reason that I was even scouring the web for information about raspberry pi and related components on this rainy day was that this KIT  made the Raspberry Pi feel accessible ~  the color-code parts, the readability of the manual, the stickers,  and the young lady in the video demo.

MOTIVATION is the number 1 ingredient to a successful learning experience.
(My Geekbus  demo visit provided me with high motivation to revisit the Raspberry Pi)

ACCESSIBILITY is number 2  ingredient in my book.
(The KIT made the Raspberry PI feel so accessible it increased my motivation)

These two ingredients are the perfect combination of ingredient to BUILD CONFIDENCE  that can launch any emerging geekgirl (or geekguy) onto a journey of learning of high tech learning.


I did the math.  There is probably $100 worth of parts in that kit. So basically you'd be paying less than $50 for a shot of confidence created by the motivation and accessibility that this kit would build.  That settled it.  I immediately called my grandson  and scheduled our next Play date!

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