New Project #1 RPi

This morning one of the pieces of my new project arrived:

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Some of will probably know what this is without much need for an introduction, but for the rest of you that don’t, it is a Filofax Finsbury. It is an A5 one in Raspberry…

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She doesn’t quite lay flat just yet but that is something we will be working on during the training phase of the project 🙂

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So, what is this project and what is the training phase all about?
I am eagerly awaiting for my Raspberry Pi (RPi) to be delivered and I am collecting together the goodies that I will need to use during the RPi Project. I will be using the Finsbury for my notes and purposely selected the Raspberry coloured one as I wanted it to stand out and be obvious what Filofax it was! I was tempted by the blue one although it doesn’t scream “Raspberry” to me (although a lot of Raspberry flavoured sweets and drinks seem to be blue coloured…) it does stand out, but I went for the Raspberry coloured one to follow the Raspberry theme!
The training phase is where I will be assembling items that are either a necessity for the project or will help the project. I will also be brushing up on my programming skills and playing with some Python.

What on earth is a Raspberry Pi?
A Raspberry Pi is a small computer that will fit in the palm of your hand and costs about $25 to buy. The idea behind the RPi is to encourage young people to learn how to code and learn about how a computer works rather than just using a computer for things like the internet and games. When I was born in 1982, as some of you will remember, there were no computers as we have around today, there were computers but they didn’t have a GUI (Graphical User Interface – so no desktop on your screens with fields or Stonehenge for the background), they had a command prompt where you would type in your “commands” to run programs. Some of the earlier ones used tapes to run, but by the time I was old enough to play with a computer they had 5 1/2 inch and 3 1/4 inch floppy discs and also an internal hard drive. One of the first hard drives we had was named “big foot” this was not a nickname but the actual name as the drive was so big! The big foot hard drive itself is larger in size than the RPi! So people my age and several years either side, grew up learning how to make these computers work, we had to learn DOS commands so we could play Nibbles or Gorilla. Typing some code and seeing something happen as a result made me want to learn more and it’s why I went to college to do just that when I was old enough.
Young people today, haven’t perhaps been so fortunate in starting from scratch the way I did. They already have working computers and the only thing I have seen a lot of them want to do is work out how to win at Copter or Pipe Extreme. The RPi aims to get young people to learn the basics of programming from a specially designed computer. It will run several flavours of Linux, but it will not Windows, so anyone using it will need to learn how to use a Linux operating system and will be able to learn languages such as Python (where the Pi in Raspberry Pi comes from) and save Network Technicians everywhere the headache of allowing Python to run on their existing network.
All you need apart from the actual RPi itself is a keyboard, mouse and monitor and you can be up and running, you can connect to the internet as well with the addition of a Ethernet cable but that is not vital. The operating system is on an SD card (what you put in your camera to store pictures on) and the whole thing draws its power from a micro USB plug. Monitor wise you don’t have to have a newish monitor, you can run it from a TV screen using composite cables if you want, but you can use DVI or HDMI if you have that.

So that is the overview of the Raspberry Pi, if you want more information then I suggest you go to the official RPi website: by clicking here.

What I am going to do now
I am going to put note pages into my new Filofax and also print off any useful pages I find that will help me work out how to best teach the RPi and Python/Scratch to students.

Traditional meets digital in several ways in this project!

Good idea, bad idea, not sure what I’ve been talking about? Let me know in the comments section!

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6 Thoughts to “New Project #1 RPi”

  1. Pretty! Looks like a very nice colour, and I’m a fan of that particular leather texture. Good luck with your Pi project.

    1. Thanks Katherine! It is a bit more of a girly colour than I usually go for but it suits this project 🙂

  2. Wow, that little computer sounds amazing! I would love to figure out the computer workings

    Tracy

  3. Tracy if you go to their website you can find out how to order one. Be warned though there is a queueing process, I had to register my interest to order then finally got the email to order and I am currently waiting for my order to be built and dispatched!
    But I know it will be worth the wait! I have been lucky enough to play with one already! One of the year 12’s I taught last term brought his one in and let me play 🙂 he wasn’t sure what to do with it – thus the need for them! Even the techie didn’t quite know if to take it out of my hand when I handed it to him because, I quote “I don’t want to break it” – that was a technician!!! I said its just a motherboard! He is also part of the generation that missed out on all the coding so I shouldn’t really be so surprised but he is a technician so has to touch computer guts all the time!
    I am so looking forward to it arriving!

  4. Nicole

    Cute idea – using a raspberry Filofax as your Raspberry Pi binder!

    I received my Pi last week (I’m in Malaysia). Was advised that it would be shipped in September and it arrived more than a month early! 🙂

    I plan to use it as a home theater PC on my television for watching HD content without plugging in my laptop all the time.

    I’ve a page of Unix commands in my Filofax to refer to. Have to get used to the command line rather than Explorer drag-and-drop.

    Are you going to use the Pi as part of A-Level Computing teaching or is it extra-curricular?

    1. SazD

      Nicole,

      I plan to use it in a number of different ways, as a teacher I want to implement it within my classes across year groups, starting with the basics across all years then going into more details for certain year groups/students. I would also like to teach this extra curricular, encouraging females to get into the computer science side of things and hopefully in the programming direction.

      Outside of teaching I want to develop my own skills, initially adding it to my network and creating some programs to get more familiar with the RPi. Once I have done that and time permitting I would like to look into creating, or at least adapting the OS to make it my own.

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