Illinois Teachers Learn To Use Raspberry Pi in the Classroom
By the end of the summer, hundreds of Illinois
be prepared to use the Raspberry
Pi in their classrooms.
A new program sponsored by the Illinois
IT Learning Exchange
has already led a workshop for 80 teachers from 39 schools this spring to introduce them to the inexpensive, credit card-sized
created by a United Kingdom-based nonprofit to help students understand
The Illinois IT Learning Exchange is offering the
conjunction with the Creating
IT Futures Foundation, the philanthropic arm of
The Raspberry Pi, which costs less than $50, can plug
computer monitor or TV and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. With it,
can do everything they could with a desktop computer, including browsing
Internet, playing video, word processing, playing games and making
The full-day workshops are intended to help high
become more familiar with the Raspberry Pi technology in order to use it
their own classrooms. During the free workshops — for which teachers can
continuing education credits — they can learn how to create a Web server
or site, use peripheral devices like cameras and sensors, develop a
coding program and brainstorm classroom activities. They also receive a
Raspberry Pi starter kit.
Besides the workshops already conducted, two more are
scheduled for June in Bloomington and Galesburg, IL, for teachers in the
southern and western parts of the state.
"We want teachers to feel comfortable with the
Raspberry Pi so
they will use the devices in their classrooms," said Joan Matz, senior
manager for the Creating IT Futures Foundation, "thereby increasing
interest in the technology and creative problem-solving."
The Illinois IT Learning Exchange is also planning a
this fall for high school students in the Chicago area to develop
ideas using the Raspberry Pi. As an example, during the White House
science fair this past spring, a student turned an old piano into a
using a Raspberry Pi.
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.