Puerto Rico’s First Raspberry Pi Educator Workshop
Earlier this spring, an excited group of STEM educators came together to participate in the first ever Raspberry Pi and Arduino workshop in Puerto Rico.
Their three-day digital making adventure was led by MakerTechPR’s José Rullán and Raspberry Pi Certified Educator Alex Martínez. They ran the event as part of the Robot Makers challenge organized by Yees! and sponsored by Puerto Rico’s Department of Economic Development and Trade to promote entrepreneurial skills within Puerto Rico’s education system.
Over 30 educators attended the workshop, which covered the use of the Raspberry Pi 3 as a computer and digital making resource. The educators received a kit consisting of a Raspberry Pi 3 with an Explorer HAT Pro and an Arduino Uno. At the end of the workshop, the educators were able to keep the kit as a demonstration unit for their classrooms. They were enthusiastic to learn new concepts and immerse themselves in the world of physical computing.
In their first session, the educators were introduced to the Raspberry Pi as an affordable technology for robotic clubs. In their second session, they explored physical computing and the coding languages needed to control the Explorer HAT Pro. They started off coding with Scratch, with which some educators had experience, and ended with controlling the GPIO pins with Python. In the final session, they learned how to develop applications using the powerful combination of Arduino and Raspberry Pi for robotics projects. This gave them a better understanding of how they could engage their students in physical computing.
“The Raspberry Pi ecosystem is the perfect solution in the classroom because to us it is very resourceful and accessible.” – Alex Martínez
Computer science and robotics courses are important for many schools and teachers in Puerto Rico. The simple idea of programming a microcontroller from a $35 computer increases the chances of more students having access to more technology to create things.
Puerto Rico’s education system has faced enormous challenges after Hurricane Maria, including economic collapse and the government’s closure of many schools due to the exodus of families from the island. By attending training like this workshop, educators in Puerto Rico are becoming more experienced in fields like robotics in particular, which are key for 21st-century skills and learning. This, in turn, can lead to more educational opportunities, and hopefully the reopening of more schools on the island.
“We find it imperative that our children be taught STEM disciplines and skills. Our goal is to continue this work of spreading digital making and computer science using the Raspberry Pi around Puerto Rico. We want our children to have the best education possible.” – Alex Martínez
After attending Picademy in 2016, Alex has integrated the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s online resources into his classroom. He has also taught small workshops around the island and in the local Puerto Rican makerspace community. José is an electrical engineer, entrepreneur, educator and hobbyist who enjoys learning to use technology and sharing his knowledge through projects and challenges.
I have extra assorted parts, breadboards and a few Raspberry Pi units that I am not using. Can these be donated?
Dana Augustin — post author
Hi Dennis, are you looking to donate to Alex’s workshop or were you referring to donating elsewhere?
Yes, for my classroom I can send you the address of the school. Thanks very appreciated
Very Grateful! Thanks #Picademy
Dana Augustin — post author
It’s our pleasure, thank you for allowing us to share!
Yes, Alex I need a way to contact you. I’m on vacation it will be a few weeks but I would like to do what I can.
Dana Augustin — post author
You can email me Dana@raspberrypi.org, I’d love to connect you guys. :)
Denis: Contact me at email@example.com then I can send you a our school’s address!
Thank you very much!
About time! As a Puerto Rican, this makes me proud of my island! Last summer they won the international VEX Robotics Competition, and not this! It is Great! It is so sad that NYC, where I currently live, is not embracing the Raspberry Pi.
“…not this!” is suppose to be “…now this!”
This IS great. They covered a great set of topics for a 2 day workshop.
Regarding NYC, there are multiple places to look to for support including these hackerspaces:
A hint about hackerspaces: You need to either physically go the space or get on their IRC, Slack, or whatever text based forum they use online. Calling is not usually as informative as typing with hackers/makers. From my experience, most web related content at many of these places is not complete nor up to date. The way to know is to go.
My favorite online resource aside form the Raspberry Pi official site is Adafruit’s which is based in NYC:
We should all be inspired by the efforts by Alex Martinez in Puerto Rico, the organizers there have overcome so much to keep their educational goals on task, despite the loss of power and much other support.
This is great awesome! #Picademy was an amazing PD. I work for the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and I’m trying to set up a K12 teacher PD in Puerto Rico to help educators bring invention, intellectual property and innovation concepts into their student learning. Please send me an e-mail to learn more about what we do in the USPTO office of education and outreach. I can also share how we’ve used Pi’s in our invention programs.
Excellent job on your PD!
Thank you Juan we will be in contact!