MAET Makers: Background Research Time

After watching a few videos on the Raspberry Pi and the advanced things people have been able to program it to do, and reading a variety of discussion forums, I decided that before I could actually do much (exciting!) with the Raspberry Pi I would need to know the basics of “Python” programming in order to operate the operating system.

Some of the resources I found were:

Python for Beginners: http://www.python.org/about/gettingstarted/

Adafruit Learning Systems: http://learn.adafruit.com/category/learn-raspberry-pi

Khan Academy – Python Programminghttps://www.khanacademy.org/science/computer-science

Raspberry Shake – Raspberry Pi Tutorials –  http://www.raspberryshake.com/

*I did check Atomic Learning but they did not have any resources for Python

I personally like the Raspberry Shake Tutorials because a lot of it was reading based so I found it easier to go back and re-read to make sure I was understanding, instead of watching a video and starting and stopping. The pictures were very helpful because it was a static image, instead of it changing too quickly before I understood. Also because I didn’t have a Raspberry Pi to tinker with, most of the videos were examples of people working with the actual program, and I was more trying to find background research.

I learned quickly that computer programming contains its own “language” or terminology, much of with I was not familiar with even though I have some basic skills from coaching lego robotics. When thinking about this in the context of teaching, when we start a new unit there is often a lot of new vocabulary so it must be overwhelming for students as they work to build an understanding. As teachers, sometimes I think we forget what our students don’t know yet, and how challenging it can seem before you have learned it. It was good to be reminded of how challenging a new concept can be – especially when it is something like programming the Raspberry Pi that is completely unrelated to most other knowledge that I already have in my long term memory.

I also sent a Tweet out to my PLN on Twitter to ask for additional resources, although I didn’t receive any suggestions.

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