Raspberry Jam, Francophone-style

Here’s a guest post from Dr William Bell. Will works at CERN, and has been doing wonderful things with Raspberry Pi meetups and outreach  in Switzerland (you may have read the piece in the Guardian from a few months ago about what’s going on there with the Pi; none of this would have happened without Will). Will’s just been to another couple of Pi events near Geneva: here’s what he found.

It has been encouraging to see the large number of Raspberry Pi jams in the UK and the work of CAS.  The message is spreading in France and Switzerland, but is a little behind due to the language barrier and the lack of media coverage.

This week there were two events not far from Gen√®ve.  In Bourg-en-Bresse on Wednesday, I was at the L’Ain teachers annual IT meeting in the old teaching college.

This annual meeting is for all primary teachers within the department of L’Ain (France). There were a few teachers present who had heard of the Pi or read about it on Wikipedia.  One teacher even took a photo of a Pi running.  The room of exhibits contained some general IT equipment, many interactive white boards and myself with two Raspberry Pis.  While a few of the teachers were enthusiastic, it would appear to be difficult to change the status quo without changing the curriculum.

Back at CERN, we ran our second Raspberry Pi day today next to the UA1 detector.

UA1 – click the image to learn more on Wikipedia

This time the number of people who signed up was higher than the last time and the number of Pis we managed to patch together was higher also.  The team (P. Freyermuth, P. Golonka, P. Lewis, T. Lunghi,  M. Pohancenik, A. Robichaud-Veronneau, A. Voitier and myself) helped many people try out some Scratch, Python and GPIO applications.  Axel brought his 3D laser printer and one of those who came along brought a GPIO controlled RC car.  Unlike last time, a short presentation was given in French and English to try to further encourage those that attended.

There was quite a stream of people needing basic configuration advice and several SD cards were flashed with the most recent Raspbian image.  We saw a lot of children from local primary schools and some engineers from the local community.  It looks like we need to try harder to reach the college age children.  One of the last conversations of the day probably sums up our experience so far.  It was an engineer from France.  He really valued the idea of the Raspberry Pi and was also frustrated by the situation we find ourselves in.  In particular, he highlighted the lack of simple setup documentation in French.  While children at primary school do have to learn English, their level of English probably is not good enough to deal with the documentation.

Hopefully, there will be another jam soon.  It would be great to see a French speaking CAS (France, Canada and Switzerland) pushing forward with IT.

12 comments

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I think that’s why the comunity is made for… If they need some guides translated to french they should ask the comunity and surely someone is willing to help. I don speak french so dont count with me…

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Sorry for being the bad guy here but: why didn’t he killed his frustration by translating the one page of “simple setup documentation”?

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Yes, that is the next step: encourage people to write and translate documentation into French.

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I might be able to help, and maybe I’ll get some bonus marks in my French class :P

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Translation should be a community project. Google translate is a good starting point for most European languages but still needs proof reading otherwise it turns out to be pigeon English dare I say!
Copy and paste into google translate then proof read.
In my case I have to translate to New Zealand Maori language which is a little more difficult with only 20 letters in the alphabet and the rest being vocal connotations.
Best of luck, i’m sure it wont take long once more people get involved.:-)

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When are you going to institute the buy-one give-one away concept that was mentioned early in the discussions? Of since I have already bought 1 (or more) how about just someplace to donate some money to give some Raspberry Pi’s away to those needing them?

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@homer, maybe this is the wrong place to voice your intentions. maybe try the main forum, not being rude but your post will only be read by people interested in this article. :-)

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Sorry to lower the tone, but am I the only person here, who on hearing the name Dr. William Bell, thinks of the similarly named character from Fringe?

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Back when I briefly worked at CERN – 33 years ago, blimey – I was down in UA1 once, it’s pretty awesome. There was a pile of Uranium, roughly cubic, acting as a calorimeter for an experiment (and I still don’t really know what that means – I assume it’s somewhere for the energetic particles to fly into and just get absorbed), it was no more then a metre or so on each side – I was staggered to discover it weighed 300 tonnes. Welcome to the world of very, very dense metals.

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Don’t know where that come from, but my 3d printer didn’t had any laser (sadly!). Pew! Pew! :)

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I live in France and I am English so maybe I can help. I can understand French quite well and get by speaking it but I could not accurately translate it into French. However I could support meet-ups.

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Hi I’d love to help, I’m about to do my A2 French and German exams in the summer which both involve so translation. Don’t go down the Google translate route unless it’s being proof-read – I saw the most appalling German one the other day, the word order was complete nonsense!

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