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scott_pdp
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:12 pm
Location: Port-de-Paix, Haiti

My (current) Teacher Wishlist (from a developing country)

Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:04 pm

Thank you RPF for the Pi, Picademy and all the resources. I appreciate all that you've done and are doing to bring low cost technology to the masses.

I teach high school sciences and technology in Port-de-Paix, Haiti. This year we replaced our aging Windows-centric computer lab environment with new monitors, keyboards, mice and Raspberry Pi model 3 computers. We're using PiNet to make it all happen and its really going well. We're teaching skills, not products.

The only technical issues that we have experienced are, I believe, tied to PiNet (which I still love). Minecraft has a couple of quirks when using PiNet and any program written that assumes a username of 'pi' won't setup icons correctly. Where I am looking for ideas is in the area of software mostly.

In Haiti, outside of the capital, most folks don't have electricity. Computers are rare and mostly used to watch movies. Typing and using a mouse or trackpad are truly uncommon skills. Due to our resources, our students start computer classes in 11th grade. I'm trying to push that down and get kids computing at lower grades. Most of my students will get to high school having never touched a keyboard or mouse. We teach typing. I don't know if everyone else in the world still teaches typing, but we do. So, back on topic:

My wishlist for teaching computing in a developing country:
Software:
  • A typing software package that tracks all the usual typing stats (Master Key is a great commercial product, but Windows and MacOS only)
  • A kid-friendly paint program that includes the ability to save work (looking at TuxPaint right now) In the past I used MSPaint to help students develop some hand-eye coordination.
  • Minecraft. Most of my students have never seen it before. A couple have said 'what about this feature or that'. Will Minecraft ever move forward with some of the features it has on other platforms?
Tutorials:
  • Database projects - please. Is there a tiny SQL out there that runs on the Pi? We need some great tutorials that start a the beginning. Does anyone make a fairly light-weight DB app with a GUI for Raspbian?
  • More ways to use BT. Beacons, sensor data collection, etc.
  • Projects that get kids and Pi's outside.
Hardware:
  • Tips on what to do if the micro-USB power connector is getting worn out or damaged. Is there a tutorial for how to power the Pi without the micro-USB connector?
  • A power switch. Third-party solutions exist, but they add another cost/asset to manage.

Big Picture:
  • For the RPF to explore ways to support PiNet in a more official capacity. (I don't know exactly what I mean by that, but I've put all my eggs in the PiNet basket and would love it if 'new' at the foundation equaled 'new' in PiNet. I guess official support would reduce the lag between PiNet supported Raspian versions and make me worry less that Andrew is going to get burnt out).
  • For there to be an organized software listing of up-to-date (currently maintained) packages that work great on Pi hardware, are noted as being multi-user environment (PiNet) friendly or not.

It's all wishlist stuff. Maybe some of this already exists. Point me toward it and I'll be thrilled. Being where electricity and internet are scarce and unreliable maybe makes things a bit more challenging. If anyone else is using the Pi in remote areas, chime in with your challenges. If you're teaching in the first world and you need a software package, let's hear about it. Maybe a person who is more developer, perhaps less teacher will take up the challenge.

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r3d4
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Re: My (current) Teacher Wishlist (from a developing country)

Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:37 am

scott_pdp wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:04 pm
Tutorials:
  • Database projects - please. Is there a tiny SQL out there that runs on the Pi? We need some great tutorials that start a the beginning. Does anyone make a fairly light-weight DB app with a GUI for Raspbian?
TBH IDK what anyone want from a DB GUI.. but! you could try sqlite / sqlitebrowser !.. ( github.com/sqlitebrowser/sqlitebrowser)

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DougieLawson
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Re: My (current) Teacher Wishlist (from a developing country)

Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:00 am

r3d4 wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:37 am
TBH IDK what anyone want from a DB GUI.. but! you could try sqlite / sqlitebrowser !.. ( github.com/sqlitebrowser/sqlitebrowser)
If your database does ODBC or JDBC then SQuirreL SQL http://squirrel-sql.sourceforge.net is the best tool I've found. It works with MySQL/MariaDB and also works with zSeries mainframe Db2 (so is ideal for my day job).
Microprocessor, Raspberry Pi & Arduino Hacker
Mainframe database troubleshooter
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Since 2012: 1B*5, 2B*2, B+, A+, Zero*2, 3B*3

Please post ALL technical questions on the forum. Do not send private messages.

tvjon
Posts: 556
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:11 am

Re: My (current) Teacher Wishlist (from a developing country)

Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:35 am

Interesting post scott_pdp. It looks like you're going about things in a really good way.

"Projects that get kids and Pi's outside."

Do you have interesting flora, fauna, & birds?

As you're using RPi3's, you can use cheap USB webcams to do time lapse. Are old ones available at markets for example?

The pictures, & or videos could be brought back into the lab for classes.

Rpi's (any version) are fantastic value devices for high quality video, pictures, & audio.

Most usb cameras have a microphone too, which you can use sans the video side, & can be a cheap source of decent microphones. Being USB, students would avoid the potential problems with an analogue mic' regarding electrical noise sensitivity.


Presumably you're aware of the

Rachel

project's SD card which crams a lot of detail in to alleviate the need for constant internet access?


Can you take advantage of this?

http://www.groundcontrol.com/Haiti_Sate ... ternet.htm


Some simple hardware projects can teach interested students to solder, eg., the VGA666 DAC kit of parts to allow a secondary display to be used on a RPi2 or 3, very handy for video projects. The few parts are passive only, so no danger of damage to the parts.


Andrew Oakley has a good page here:

http://www.aoakley.com/articles/2015-10 ... images.php

describing SD card preparation which could perhaps help offset some of your PiNet use. He mentions using a Linux computer for some jobs but I find RPi itself more than capable for all the tasks he describes.

Did you save the keyboards & mice from your scrapped windows kit?

They can be used for interesting projects on RPi, eg., music generation, buttons to control projects, a few led's to learn about gpio.

HTH

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ben_nuttall
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
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Re: My (current) Teacher Wishlist (from a developing country)

Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:47 pm

Database projects - please. Is there a tiny SQL out there that runs on the Pi? We need some great tutorials that start a the beginning. Does anyone make a fairly light-weight DB app with a GUI for Raspbian?
I just wrote an article on this: https://opensource.com/article/17/10/se ... spberry-pi

There's no need to go "lightweight" because the Pi 3 runs postgres (a top-end database) at a reasonable scale perfectly well. But another option is sqlite which is quite simple.
Community Manager - Raspberry Pi Foundation
Author of GPIO Zero

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