Joy of Learning – My Raspberry Pi Journey

My wife and I exchanged Christmas gifts early this year and I will have to say that she won.  It isn’t a competition but she definitely got me something that I wasn’t expecting and definitely something I am going to enjoy.  She got me a Raspberry Pi kit.  For those that do not know what a Raspberry Pi is, it is a small and cheap computer that can be used in a ton of hobby projects or anything else where you want to use where you need a computer.

(image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi)

The reason why I am posting about this on my education blog is that it directly relates to the joy of learning.  I love technology, more importantly I love playing around and trying new things with technology.  I love constantly learning how to do something new using that new knowledge in an effective way.  I am definitely not someone who can code a computer program but I am someone who doesn’t mind learning about it and is always up for a challenge.

The Raspberry Pi is like an open-ended project that I have been assigned.  But instead of dreading doing it, I am very excited and have so many options to start.  Whatever direction I choose to go will mean that much more to me because I chose to go that direction.  I do not have to worry about choosing a path that might get denied because the specific task that I undertake is not as important as the learning that I will achieve.

I also know that I do not have to be an expert, those people already exist and I can learn from them.  There are countless websites, blogs and YouTube videos out there made by people who have already done what I am about to do.  I can learn from their mistakes, use their knowledge and experiences to make my experience better and more effective.  If I get stuck, I know there are tons of social networks that I can use to get the help that I need.  I am not alone in my learning even though I will be building it by myself.

I am also ok with failure.  The nice thing about the Raspberry Pi is that it is cheap enough that even if I destroy the whole computer, I am only out $35.  I am not afraid to try something new or to fail and then learn from those mistakes.  I also know that if I start down a path that does not enthrall me, I still have the option to change my mind.  No matter what, I have the openness to learn however I want and I know that no matter what I do, I will have learned something and I will definitely enjoy it.

I also know that my learning will be more effective if I share it with others.  I will probably do more blog posts about this as the year goes on as I truly think that we can use so many different experiences to help us reflect on our teaching and the learning that happens, or doesn’t happen, in our classrooms.

This whole experience can be a great reflection on the teaching and learning that can occur in the classroom.  How many times do our students get to do what I am doing?  How can our classroom be designed in order to encourage activities like this?  How can technology help us create this environment?  How can we help our students learn how they can use digital tools and social media to improve their learning and make it more effective?  How can we help our students be more reflective of their own learning journey?

Right now the top projects include an old school video game cabinet, an internet capable garage door opener with a camera system to tell if the door is open or not (similar to the one shown in the video below), a home security system that is activated by motion and will text me updates, a tele-presence device to allow me to interact with more people from afar or even some weird game like system that can use motors to animate something in relation to something students do in order to get more interested in coding and developing computer programs.

All I know is that I am already excited and the journey is just beginning.  Don’t you wish our students felt this way everyday?

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