On the 19th of June I went to what was the second Oxford Raspberry Pi meetup organised by Paul Read. It was held at RS components office in Oxford. I arrived not knowing anyone but really looking forward to it. There were 20? guys there (no women though … ) and various monitors and bits of kit scattered around
The evening was mostly demoes of existing projects which people are undertaking. All were especially impressive but the ones which stood out for me were the guy who was getting RiscOS running on the Pi and the other chap who was using XBee? boards to wirelessly send serial data in near real time to a small display unit. The thing which struck me about both their approaches (and everyone else as well) was when asked about practical implementations of their projects their only response was in a nutshell ‘not sure … just wanted to see if I could do it”. This to me is the spirit of true innovation and skill and in a sense true bloody minded British optimism in simply saying – “sod it let’s do this!” After seeing documentaries before with black and white footage of engineers standing around rocket engines or photos of 70′s hippies holding weird circult boards I kind of got a sense of what it must have been like at the time and what the Pi could herald for the future.
As I was standing there kind of trying to pedal fast to keep up with the conversation (someone says “Oh I do this using SSHDA on DX99 using )(*&^ etc” and everyone nods wisely and I’m thinking “Huh?”) I thought whilst I hopefully will be able to pick up some kills and competencies myself what I could contribute to the group in the future is my expertise as a teacher. The projects which are being booted around including home sensors would be perfect translated into lessons in school. Whilst I may not know much about how to build these things I may be able to help package what is created into something which teachers who may not be fully skilled themselves could use within a class.
I think this approach would help as a way of keeping the Pi grounded. With all due respect to the other guys there I think I can already see how guys could focus almost exclusively on the nuts and bolts of code or hardware and forget the bigger picture. So that when someone is asked ‘why did you do this?’ or ‘what is it for?’ they could turn round and say not only ‘I did it because I wanted to see if I could’ but they could also think ‘you know what – this could really work well in schools as something to encourage pupils to do even better things one day’.
original blog is here at designspark.com