On a cold morning in early December I was invited to attend a marketplace event at Ipswich Academy for years 9 – 11. The theme was entrepreneurs the Raspberry Pi’s made an appearance joining the Eastern Enterprise Hub’s stand to demonstrate what a Raspberry Pi can do as they wanted to bring something interactive for the stand. Many people have used the Raspberry Pi in some very entrepreneurial, profitable and rewarding ways and we wanted to expose some young people to these possibilities.
There where four Raspberry Pi’s with different displays. The simplest was an LED connected to the Raspberry Pi, flashing at a set rate using Python language to control the lamp (diode). Students where invited to try and change the two delays – both the time it stayed on and the time it went off for and how many times it did this. A few students showed interest and many more when I told them that there was a shortage of computer programmers in the UK and you can earn around £60k a year!
One young man said he didn’t know what a computer programmer was, or what it meant. I told him it was how most things are controlled and he was welcome to have a go at changing some code on one of the Raspberry Pi’s. I asked him to change the delays, then save and run it. 3 minutes later, someone who didn’t know what programming was, had aced it. I then quickly added another LED to the circuit and he managed assign the pin to it, light it and copy and past the other LED’s code and adapt for the new LED. He was a natural. He has been exposed to programming and now knows he is a natural – and enjoyed it and it will be followed up by his careers adviser as he is a natural.
Many other young people had a go on the day and a few have realised it’s not for them, but others have understood what it is to be able to write code and have an effect on the real world and an understanding of what it is to program with code and we hope we have inspired some young people by exposing them to coding with the Raspberry Pi’s