Picademy and beyond


Over the last year I have written a number of blog posts about the excellent CPD run by the Raspberry Pi Foundation called Picademy. I was a delegate at the October 2014 Picademy in Cambridge and then was very fortunate to be able to take part in the Birmingham events as a leader / trainer.

As the Picademy machine moves on to a new location for the next round of training I have been thinking about what I have personally got out of the process as a leader.

1. Making new friends

It was great to hang out with members of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. They are really passionate and enthusiastic about their work and this is really contagious. Our team was great to work with and I had lots of fun working with Martin O’Hanlon, Dave Jones and Josh Johnson.


2. Learning new skills.

I made sure that I left each session with new sills and knowledge for myself. I now have a much better understanding of how to use GitHub correctly, I learnt how to create documents in Markdown and share them. I spent much time picking the brains of Dave Jones about networking Raspberry Pi cameras and streaming video. I also spent some time creating circuits diagrams with Fritzing.

3 leds

3. Creative problem solving using the Pi.

The second day of Picademy is spent working on projects. As a Science teacher I often spend time thinking of creative ways to solve problems in the classroom. I was able to apply a similar thought process at Picademy. My favourite moment had to be with the group who wanted to make a noise level detector for their classroom. this was not as easy as it first seemed as we needed a method of measuring volume and using it to trigger events. I eventually came up with a method of using an old speaker connected to the analogue port of the Explorer Hat and using this to measure voltage changes using the speaker as a microphone.


For more information about Picademy check out the link here https://www.raspberrypi.org/picademy/



My first touchscreen project: The DeskMate2000

I bought a Raspberry Pi touchscreen earlier this year and decided I wanted to build another touchscreen device based on the Internet Streaming Radio player project.

Around this time I was starting to think about home automation and the possibility of using the Pi for home security.

deskmate 2000 - 1

Raspberry Pi A+ in the porch streaming live video to the touchscreen Pi in my office over WIFI.

deskmate2000 - 2

Live video feed from the Pi A+. The camera makes a single network connection to the desk Pi to add an extra dimension of security.

deskmate2000 - 3

Status information about the pi

deskmate2000 - 4

Weather information

deskmate2000 - 5

Error message if the feed from the security camera is lost

deskmate2000 - 6

Play list information for the Internet radio.

The first four buttons control two energenie sockets.

The code for the project can be found here


One giant leap for Pi-kind

What makes you stay up late on a school night in December?

Tonight I was glued to my monitor watching NASA tv waiting for the launch of the Altlas 5 rocket taking Astro Pi to the ISS.

Sadly due to the bad weather over Kennedy Space Centre the launch was scrubbed until tomorrow.

AstroPi is a great project and as a school really enjoyed taking part in it.

Read my thoughts and reflections on the project here.





It was great watching the launch of Tim Peake a week or so later at school with my class.