Waaay back, probably a year ago now, a co-worker told me about the Raspberry Pi. I remember thinking it was kind of interesting, but not something that I had the time or patience to figure out. Then, I signed up for LIBR 559B: New Media for Children and Young Adults. One of our first assignments was to give a thirty minute presentation about a technology trend for youth. I had a good ol’ lightbulb moment and decided that it was time for me to learn more about the Raspberry Pi. Little did I know I would spend the entire semester focusing on the Raspberry Pi…
Let’s step back for a minute. First of all, this is a Raspberry Pi:
It’s a credit card-sized circuit board computer that can perform many of the same functions as a regular desktop computer. They were released for sale in the UK in 2012, and they now sell here in Canada for approximately $40.00. To use it, you load a program onto an SD card, put the card in the Raspberry Pi, and hook it up to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
The creators of the Raspberry Pi had a specific goal in mind: to teach children about computers and computer programming. As far as libraries are concerned, the Raspberry Pi is an exciting new tool to use to teach children about programming which, in turn, encourages the development of 21st century skills and digital literacy skills– hooray! The problem with bringing the Raspberry Pi into a library setting is that someone has to do the research to figure out how it works and exactly what you can do with it. This takes time, and not everyone has that kind of time.
But wait! I have that time! Well, really, I don’t have that much time, but I do have assignments that need to be completed for credit so I can graduate and become a librarian. And why not do an assignment on the Raspberry Pi? So, continuing on with the research I started for my first presentation, I created a toolkit for youth librarians interested in the Raspberry Pi for my final project for LIBR 559B.
The toolkit is designed to:
- Address the need for library programming that supports the development of digital literacy and 21st century skills in the middle years.
- Define practical goals and objectives for a Raspberry Pi technology program for the middle years.
- Provide librarians and with the background information and resources they need to be able to offer a Raspberry Pi program that introduces middle years children to the basic concepts of computer programming.
And, it includes:
- An introduction to the Raspberry Pi.
- A discussion of the value of using the Raspberry Pi in a library environment.
- An introduction to software and programs that can be used with the Raspberry Pi.
- A detailed plan for a three-session Raspberry Pi program for 8-12 year olds.
- A list of resources, how-to guides and videos.
- Further ideas for the use of the Raspberry Pi at the public library.
A link to a pdf of the toolkit is below. Enjoy!
P.S. I’ll be continuing to work on this into next term, so this is just the beginning– keep your eyes out for more info as I get further into this project!