A few days ago a new version of Raspberry Pi was unveiled, the B+ version. I have been biding my time waiting to acquire on of these remarkable pieces of hardware for quite some time now, not sure what I was waiting for, but the release of this revised and improved version was the final straw. A quick email to my local electronics supplier confirmed that they got a shipment of the B+ the same day it was released (very impressive). To make a long story short..., one hour later and after spending some spare change I was home with a brand new and shiny Raspberry Pi B+, a power adapter, wifi dongle, and a HDMI cable. While I though I had a good idea of what to expect from this unassuming and diminutive computer little did I know that I was in for some pleasant surprises.
What is a Raspberry Pi anyway?</a>
Firstly, while I have installed and configured various Linux distributions more times than I can count over the years it is safe to say that setting up Rasbian, a Linux Debian distribution optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware, was by far the fastest, simplest and smoothest Linux installation (or the installation of any operating system for that matter) I have ever experienced. My shiny little circuit board was up and running and fully configured with wifi dongle and all in no time at all.
Second, while the Raspberry Pi may appear as being somewhat underpowered with it's 512MB RAM and 700MHz processor, with the right operating system (namely Raspbian) it is surprisingly spiffy and if you forgo the graphical user interface and stick to command line goodness then you have a remarkably capable mini workstation at your disposal that fits in a (small) pocket, draws 3 Watts, is dirt cheap, and can be hacked, modified and expanded in endless ways.
The real challenge with the Raspberry Pi is to figure out what to do with it. The possibilities are endless and it is hard to even figure out where to start. One could start with one of these or over here or one can just start brainstorming and come up with ideas outside the box. Here is a short list, in no particular order, of some possible uses at home, on the road or in the classroom I am envisioning for my first Raspberry Pi (since they are so cheap it seems inevitable that one would get more than one):
Science classrooms are unique learning environments unlike any other classrooms. As a matter of fact, some things only happen in science classrooms. Here is a collection of event that happened in my own science classroom over the last school year. It's a growing list, so check back for updates.
Report from yours truly live-tweeting and navigating the melee at GETCA 2015 (Annual Greater Edmonton Teachers' Conference).
Can a pencil be more than just your average run of the mill pencil? The legendary Palomino Blackwing Pearl can take a student or teacher's writing to new heights. We have taken a batch of the Pearls for a spin and are blown away by how much writing and sketching can be transformed by this unassuming pencil.
Dr. Pineda's Classroom is going YouTube with the release of its first screencast on the exciting topic of calculating percents. Only time will tell if this is the start of something big and shiny or just a passing fad.
After several weeks working on setting up habitats for new classroom animals the big day finally arrived. The newest addition to our classroom include aquatic denizens in our new aquarium and a teenage bearded dragon with lots of attitude and no table manners.