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Students enjoy a slice of Raspberry Pi at university

December 17 2013


The simplicity of computing was demonstrated to school pupils by experts at Glyndŵr University using a £30 device the size of a credit card.

Youngsters from Alun School, Mold, and St Brigid’s in Denbigh (pictured) were invited to join in an inaugural Raspberry Jam at the university’s Wrexham campus.

Pupils were set a series of programming challenges using the Raspberry Pi, the revolutionary device launched in the UK in 2011 as a way of teaching school pupils about computer science.

Staff and students from Glyndŵr also joined in, including first year applied computing duo Jason Davies, 28, and 24-year-old Aaron Durban, both of Wrexham.

They used a Raspberry Pi to run their own arcade games machine – Arcade Gamo – which they built over eight weeks around their studies.

Vic Grout, Professor of Computing Futures at the Wrexham university, said: “The idea of Raspberry Jam has been around for a year or so now. It’s an opportunity for Raspberry Pi enthusiasts or anyone that might become an enthusiast to get together and see what can be done.

“Some people came along to show the cool things they’ve done using Raspberry Pi already and other people who came along to have a look and get some inspiration for themselves. 

“Where it really works is where you have the young people doing some of the exercises. There are so many practical things and mini projects which they can do with the Raspberry Pi in less than an hour. 

“One which we set them was to control a display LED using the computer and another where they had to use the Raspberry Pi to fire a Nerf gun. 

“Lots of experienced Raspberry Pi users were on hand to help them throughout the day and the pupils rose to the challenge brilliantly. 

“The day hopefully taught the young people who attended that computing is very accessible - you don’t need something built inside a huge case.

“A computer is a very simple device and once you grasp this you can get a computer to do all the practical things you’d want or expect it to do – the type of things we see computers used for in everyday life.”

Stuart Ayres, a teacher at St Brigid’s, added: “There’s a serious shortage of high quality programmers in the computing industry at the moment. Young people are the future of the industry and events like this are fantastic to get them interested in the subject.

“Raspberry Pi’s are accessible and inexpensive and the Raspberry Jam gave them an opportunity to try out practical programming applications.” 

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