On August 7, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is sending its developer and educator Ben Nuttall to NC State's Hunt Library to talk about how the tiny DIY computer is being used in education. But this is more than a story of how North Carolina is getting international attention, it's about why building community is about amplifying others rather than hogging the bullhorn.
Rasbperry Pi: Tasty Coding Education
Cambridge, U.K.-based Raspberry Pi has a global community of tinkerers who are making awesome things on the device (including the Triangle's own Splat Space). Its real purpose, however, is to give kids the opportunity to program their own computers. So many digital devices hide their inner workings, and that can rob kids of the formative experience of taking things apart. The Pi is different.
I've taught workshops for kids using the Pi and it fascinates them. Combined with basic instruction in programming languages like Python or Scratch, the Pi becomes a Trojan horse, sneaking learning into play.
Kids' Biggest Barrier to Learning Code Shouldn't Be Their Teachers
You may have heard about the nationwide movement to teach kids to code. But an interesting theme from thought leaders we follow in the computer science education space is that there just aren't enough teachers teaching code! With rallying cries like If You Want to Teach Kids CS, First Teach the Adults, we've been hearing from teachers a desire to form community around teaching code. So when Ben Nuttal first announced he was headed to Hunt Library on his education road trip, we decided to co-host the event and set up a Meetup group, Code in the Classroom.
The Nuttal event is intended to be a sort of meeting of the minds, and during Q&A, we're looking forward to hearing what attendees are doing to teach with the Pi. I know firsthand that teachers in N.C. are doing some really innovative things, so I can't wait to learn more.
Another thing we learned from listening to thought leaders in the space is that there's a crisis of confidence among teachers. Rebecca Dovi, a CS educator in Virginia, blogger and Code.org advisor, reaassures her readers that "A great teacher can teach computer science. Not every computer scientist can teach." This is a theme that we've made sure to amplify in the publicity around the event. We hope it helps teachers know that they can and should be part of the change that's coming to education.
Why We Do This
Coding education is something that's near and dear to our mission at Trinket. We make interactive web-based examples for teachers to use in class for several subjects, including coding. But regardless of what your company makes, code education is a great philanthropic cause for anyone in the tech industry.
If you have important tech skills that you could share with teachers or their students, consider organizing your own event. Contact me or head over to our nascent Code in the Classroom meetup event and we'll help you get the word out. The group is helping to organize an upcoming coding workshop for teachers and I recently wrote a guide on organizing these kinds of events.
Interested in hearing Ben talk when he visits on August 7th? RSVP here.
Hope to see you there!