San Diego schoolkids and Raspberry Pi

I was sent some video yesterday from Chris Rosskopf, a teacher at High Tech Media Arts in San Diego, California. For one week a year, High Tech High Media Arts suspends its regular classes in order to offer a more focused, intensive week of study in an area outside the normal curriculum. For this particular project, a group of students chose to build and experiment with Raspberry Pi computers. Here’s what they thought of the Pi and what it might mean for them. We loved this; it’s great to watch kids catch on to what we’re trying to do at the Foundation.



In my new role as STEM Ambassador I’m so looking forward to engaging in exactly this kind of activity with local schools – an arc of conecpt, simple PCB design, software, PCB return from manufacture, a team hand build, turn it on and the joy of stuff working. Or the misery of failure. Failure is critically important for the success to feel even sweeter.


“From failure we learn, from success not so much”
(Meet The Robinsons, 2007)

I learnt far more from programs that didn’t work, than from ones that did. Like persistence, stubbornness, bloody mindedness, logic, the value of attention to detail and, occasionally, a computer language. 30 years later and I still get exactly the same buzz when it finally works.

Speaking of which, just done a course assignment to calculate Pi using recursion in Erlang on a Pi :-D


I (re)discovered recenty that attention to detail is somewhat more important for hardware than software … like developing software in the days of punch cards and rota access to the computer, 2 week turnarounds between debug sessions sharpens the mind in the ‘immediately pre tape out’ phase! Fortunately my 2 unholy cock-up sets of PCBs only cost a grand total of £19.


“Success always has a thousand parents. Failure is always an orphan.” — an olde saw

“Failure is not only an option, it’s a requirement.” — some olde buzzard engineer

“I won’t hire anyone who has never failed. That also means they’ve never tried.” — all of my bosses


I loved the comment by the redheaded girl (I guess Charlie Brown is in that class, too ;) ), “A lot of people don’t know how computers work. I don’t want to be part of that demographic.” It’s refreshing to hear kids who know what words like “demographic” and “functionality” mean – around here, you’re lucky if they know what “graph” and “function” mean. :(


Yes what she said was spot on, really impressed me.

I saw one of the children with the classic ‘shaking leg’ that comes with intense concentration. :) At work they know I’m doing something cool when my leg starts to shake. LoL

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