Last year my research assistant Samantha and I travelled around the UK to catch up with teachers who had taken part in Picademy. This is the two day face to face training in digital making education that the Raspberry Pi Foundation provides for educators. We had a fascinating couple of weeks, talking to many interesting educators in schools as diverse as a newly built academy in Scotland and a military school for staff in the armed forces in Devon.
We learned a lot about how educators are developing digital making opportunities in their work, particularly how this happens in schools. As a new and innovative area of learning, educators are coming up with innovative ways of bringing these new opportunities to the young people they work with. Sometimes there are challenges, and finding out about what these are and how people have met them has been really useful in continuing to develop our work and future Picademy events.
- RCEs very much value their Picademy training. It is perceived to have improved educators’ knowledge and skills in computing, and to have opened educators’ eyes to open-ended approaches to learning. The reputation of the Foundation and the status the RCE title confers are seen as beneficial.
- It took most educators between one and two years to feel they had embedded what they learned. Most started with informal sessions outside the core curriculum. For some teachers, the sessions built their confidence before they embedded their learning into formal lessons, while other continued taking an informal approach. Many said they needed more opportunities to learn and practice digital making.
- Most RCEs were using Raspberry Pi computers in some way, but were sometimes constrained by how much equipment they had. Almost all educators reported very limited budgets, even for low-cost physical computing equipment; many could not get the resources they would have liked for their teaching.
- Educators have to teach to their curricula, and making links between our resources and the curriculum takes imagination and time. There was demand from many educators for our resources to be linked to national curricula. They also often asked for resources that we already provide but that they were unaware of.
- Despite some social media use, networking was limited amongst the educators we interviewed. They asked some questions on social media, but rarely built collaborations or relationships. There was demand for more local, face-to-face networking events.
- There are so many possible opportunities for action related to what educators have learned at Picademy, and to the programmes we provide, that some educators found it hard to decide which ones to focus on.
- Many educators we interviewed strongly linked between the Raspberry Pi computer and our education work. Most RCEs signed up for Picademy because they were curious about integrating Raspberry Pi computers into their work.
You can read the report in full over on the Raspberry Pi Foundation research page.