Scottish Learning Festival and Digital Garage

A few weeks back, thousands of educators, local council staff, charities, and other educators flocked to the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow. The Raspberry Pi team were there to greet them, along with a stand groaning with sought-after swag bags and, of course, our very on-brand tops.

The Pi team at SLF

Sadly, they’re not available in shops…

Word of our credit card-sized computer has spread fast north of the border; I spoke to many primary and secondary teachers who had heard of us and were either curious to know more, or scared that they weren’t qualified enough to try one. Thanks to Dan’s wire loop game demo, though, they were soon getting hands-on with a Pi 3, and soon we had attendees queueing up to find out more. (We estimated we’d given away 100 swag bags on the first day, which is pretty good going…)

It was great to see so many educators being inspired by the possibilities the Pi affords – and amazed at how much a tiny computer can do. One teacher brought his son, who had bought a Pi which was sitting unloved in a drawer, and simply said ‘Inspire him’. We showed him our free online resources, and he got very excited at the idea of making music with Sonic Pi. Another satisfied customer!

Along with Lorna Gibson, Code Club Scotland coordinator, I also attended the launch of Google’s Digital Garage at the Mitchell Library, featuring speeches by Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, VP of Google EMEA Peter Barron, and four entrepreneurs who had attended Garages in the north of England, telling us their success stories about running everything from waffle vans to wedding blogs.

Keith provided some awe-inspiring figures; for every £1 invested in the Scottish digital economy, £3-£8 is returned. He said the Scottish Government was ‘committed to working with partners such as Google and Raspberry Pi to further develop digital talent in Scotland’. The Glasgow Garage will host its first Raspberry Jam on 8 October, and we can’t wait to hear what the participants produce.

Glasgow Digital Garage

Photo credit @GlasgowLibraries

When we returned to our Raspberry Pi stand, news had just reached us that there are now over 300 Code Clubs in Scotland. We like to think that some teachers set a couple up as soon as they heard about the power of Pi…

Picademy Glasgow information and a signup form can be found on our website here, with the first session running on the 14/15 October, and The Digital Garage runs from 21 September to 31 January 2017, before it goes on tour to other Scottish cities.