In collaboration with Sheffield-based electronics manufacturer Pimoroni, the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation (DJRFF) is supplying students in the area with customised computers to use for their creative data-gathering projects.
So far, the charity has invested in 275 ultra-low cost kits, using Raspberry Pi Zero WH to harness the power of computing and digital creation. Installed in the devices are user-friendly sensor boards, designed by the DJRFF in partnership with Pimoroni, and made locally in Sheffield.
Both the DJRFF and Pimoroni hope the kit will equip young people with the tools and expertise needed to deepen their understanding of data and the environment through the measurement of light, colour, motion and temperature.
Students will use the microcomputers in the charity’s ‘Get Creative with Data’ course, which has already been rolled out at a number of South Yorkshire schools and colleges.
Programme participants will be shown how to use the equipment – which feature easy-to-use layouts, colourful designs and have multiple applications – in a series of data-gathering experiments. The tests include using sensors to sort coloured socks into pairs, identify which set of sunglasses block out the most light, and uncover which pair of gloves are the quickest to warm up their hands.
David and Jane Richards, founders of DJRFF, said: “We passionately believe that computer science education should be fun and focused on being creative.
“As their confidence and capabilities grow, our young people will be able to unleash their imagination and ask probing questions about the world around them.
“We are big fans of the UK-designed Raspberry Pi and are grateful for the support of Sheffield tech manufacturer Pimoroni in our mission to advance the education of computer science in state schools.”
Jon Williamson, co-founder and CEO of Pimoroni, added: “It’s important people start tinkering and building as young as possible, and creating a beautiful custom kit with the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation is a way to make that early experience really make an impact.”
Paul Beech, co-founder of Pimoroni, said: “When I was young, the lack of guidance to understand technology was a real barrier. I can’t praise this kind of learning enough.”