Raspberry Pi Meetup Reflections

This post is written by Code Club Aotearoa’s National Training Manager Tom Bijesse.

Earlier this month I had the honour of representing Code Club Aotearoa at the Raspberry Pi Global Meetup in Cambridge U.K. As you may or may not know, The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently partnered with Code Club World to increase capability and access to quality programming education around the world. This Meetup offered an opportunity for Code Club leaders around the world to collaborate in one place and see the effect of the organisation worldwide.

Below, I would like to share three main learnings I took away from this event:

Raspberry Pi and Code Club Have Diehard Fans and Participants

Code Club has an amazing base of dedicated volunteers in New Zealand and around the world. I have always felt so impressed by those who give their time to volunteer at a Code Club. At the Raspberry Pi conference I was able to meet many Code Club volunteers in the U.K. that, like the volunteers in New Zealand can talk for hours about their stories and successes at their own Code Club. Seeing the parallels stretch across the world was nothing short of amazing!

At the conference there was dozens of events centred around projects people have made with code and their Raspberry Pi. Often these were people who do not work for Raspberry Pi or generate a profit form their code but hobbyists that want to share their experience with the world. I couldn’t help to think how incredible it is to see people displaying their projects which were then being used for free by children at the event to play and learn from.

Hardware Can Help Students Conceptualise Their Own Code

Before the event I spent some time playing with a Raspberry Pi but I truly did not know too much about it and honestly felt it was not the best tool for learning since it can be so challenging to use. However, after seeing how people are learning with Raspberry Pi I now think that with proper support Raspberry Pi can make learning to code more interactive and easier to understand.

Code Club has created several projects using the Raspberry Pi Sense Hat that help students visualise their Python code instantly. This is an amazing advance in terms of jumping from blocks-based programming to Python that will support students of all ages. I highly recommend these projects for anyone who has the capacity to get this hardware for their Code Club.

Learning to Code Brings People Together!

Seriously though, it really does! I’ve heard this so many times before but to see a room with people from all over the world running a Code Club branch in 10 different countries was possibly the most jaw-dropping part of this trip.

Each Code Club branch was given an opportunity to present on the type of work they are doing in clubs at their country. Even with major cultural differences from place to place you were able to draw an amazing amount of parallels between each country in terms of how students sometimes struggle to learn and the way they celebrate success. Each club learned from the other and has so much more to learn as time goes on.