On Saturday, over 100 educators, STEM ambassadors and children attended the Raspberry Pi Day at the University of Strathclyde. The brainchild of Dr William Bell (who did a lot of the heavy lifting when the MagPi was still published by volunteers), it’s the second Pi event to be held in Glasgow this year, and was jam-packed with talks, demonstrations and ideas.
The lab was definitely the most popular place to be, with a wide range of Pis and add-ons to play with. The brand new Pi Zero was there, kitted out with Pimoroni’s Scroll pHAT, and I also spotted a Sense HAT, Pi NoIR camera, ultrasound detector, and oscilloscope to demonstrate PWM. (I especially approved of playing a ‘guess the song’ game with a spectrum analyser and a certain Rick Astley classic.) A WiFi-controlled Lego robot was let loose later in the day, much to the delight of everyone!
Presentations were aimed at all skill levels, ranging from introductions to PyGame, projects using Node-RED and real-time embedded programming, to penetration testing with Pi Zero and even hackathon enthusiast Aaron Bassett’s guide to setting up a self-contained office on a boat in the Bahamas. My favourite talk came from STEM ambassador and CoderDojo leader Amanda Wilson, who told us about the afterschool club recreating famous Scottish monuments in Minecraft. The club has grown so popular, the school are thinking of renaming their computing department to the ‘Pi-CT room’! You can read about Royston Primary’s adventures in Pi on their blog.
Dr Bell is keen to spread the word about Raspberry Pi’s mission to provide low-cost, accessible computing to all. It’s easy to see Pi as the solution to filling skills gaps in the job market and enhancing the Scottish curriculum, so as one of Pi Towers’ most northerly correspondents I look forward to more Pi events not just in Glasgow, but across Scotland.