So it was time again for the Raspberry Jam’s becoming a more and more exciting event in my calendar. As an educator that doesn’t even have their own Pi yet it may seem an odd thing to regularly attend but it’s exciting to see what people are developing and chat to people who have the skills.
This time there seemed even more fab ideas and creations. Peter showed me a simple light-circuit with 6 states which could recreate model traffic lights; a simple but effective way to get children involved in programming:
Other things that people had to show were a recreation of an Enigma machine which used a Pi inside. It was a way of teaching children about the coding process but this enigma device could wirelessly send the code to an email recipient who could then use it on a website – officially bringing the code breakers into the 21st Century! A fantastic idea!
I am super excited to show my Digital Leaders this, I think they’ll love the idea of being able to send encoded messages to each other!
Next I saw something much more useful to the home; a heating control system which used a Pi. This device was like any other thermostat on a heating system except it was clever. It could learn patterns such as ‘no one is in on Monday – don’t waste the power’ or ‘I get home at 5pm, start warming the house so it’s at 20oC by the time I’m home’ and you could also switch the heating on or off remotely using the internet. The system pulled information from the BBC weather RSS feed so that if it was going to be a particularly cold/hot day it could also compensate for that – genius!
There were many other things suggested at the event such as people trying to create a food dispenser for whenever their cat comes through the flap or a touchscreen vistor’s centre information kiosk. My attention was also drawn to ‘Mag Pi’ a magazine with loads of ideas for what you can do with a Pi, including a handy Scratch section! http://www.themagpi.com/
There has now been an ‘Education’ section added on to the forum for anyone who is interested and there are many ideas floating around there for using Pi’s in schools and getting children involved in Raspberry Jam’s. It’s all very exciting stuff, check it here: http://www.peteronion.org.uk/smf/index.php
Looking forward to the next Jam on 25th November!