It seems timely to give an insight (and an update) as teachers and learners in some of our special schools continue to embrace the computing curriculum with an impact and enthusiasm sending messages around the city.
Especially timely after receiving an email about one school’s plans for a Raspberry Pi in the garden and asking why did I need to get the caretaker involved. And what’s it all about? And why do others describe it as exciting? Hmmm…..
Previous blog posts highlight the work and projects from Kath Oliver and colleagues at Tweendykes School. They’ve taken Raspberry Pi into school and designed and adapted activities from using as a tool to explore cause and effect through to extending programming skills with some students.
Kath’s also been grappling with the Rapiro robot and recently getting a Raspberry Pi to talk to her 3D printer (slightly less grappling) for further activities with student projects. And that’s led to other schools sharing ideas and learning from recent successes, struggles, highlights and grapples (won’t mention it again, Kath!).
Which brings us onto the plans and activities at Northcott School, after they heard about the flexibility of using Raspberry Pi to support learning through inclusive opportunities *.
As a school planning to embed more computer science into their curriculum, Northcott School wanted to investigate how projects could be adapted to meet a range of ASD learner needs and also to incorporate staff CPD.
Last term teachers from the school joined us to collaborate through the Research and Play project. We launched with the Bare Conductive team using their electric paint and Touchboard resources as a starting activity and teachers created their own circuits for interactive displays and resources.
This term we’ve been working with a group of students in Y8 who have created their own circuits using the electric paint. These activities stemmed from an initial project looking at algorithmic design and game control using Scratch with Makey Makey.
Incorporating a physical computing element was a natural progression following the questions from the students and their enthusiasm to create a project which involved other adults from the school, working with the group of students, to use a Raspberry Pi in a real world scenario.
Perfect timing to hone those newly discovered electric painting techniques with the similarly new Raspberry Pi Dot Boards. Or ‘Epic Boards’ as they’ve been called since : )
And finally to the story of the Caretaker, the Pi and the collaboration which has resulted in ‘Project Woodpecker’. The students have heard but never seen their resident woodpecker in one of the many garden areas within the school grounds. Their caretaker has. Could a Raspberry Pi project capture photographic evidence?
We’ve spoken about motion sensors & wi-fi, considered line of sight and resident fox issues, discussed weatherproof tech and power solutions.
As a group that has grown, with the headteacher, TAs and more colleagues joining us, we’ve explored through the computational thinking element of the project.
And now it’s a waiting game……photographs to follow?
*The Opening the Door project, to promote Computing opportunities for all, is building on existing networks of support and experiences from teachers to support collaborative planning and share lessons learnt. As we learn more with each project.