Thrifting #1 (Maker 1)

I must admit that this assignment really overwhelmed me.  I am not very talented when it comes to fixing things or putting things together.  My teammates, however, seemed to know just what to do in order to get the Raspberry Pi up and running.  Tom quickly observed the bar code on the box and we were able to google it and find out what we were working with.  For all of you, who are like me with technological gadgets, I did find a pretty interesting video that explains what the Raspberry Pi is and what you can do with it.  To start out with, it is basically a mini, portable computer.  It costs around $25 or $35 dollars and it is about the size of a credit card (please reference the video above).  It is great to expose kids to the beginnings of circuitry and programming.  I can see using something like this in my class as magnets and electricity are a unit that we study.  These are the things you will need in order to build one:

  • Raspberry Pi


  • HDMI cord


  • monitor


  • mouse


  • keyboard


  • Ethernet cable to connect to the internet


A few years back, I had a Windowfarm in my classroom.  This was a vertical, hydroponic garden.  I can see how a Raspberry Pi could be connected to that to regulate the water flow and possibly the lighting when we are away from school.  This would provide a consistent watering and lighting schedule to ensure that the plants have what they need 24/7 whether we are in the classroom or not and whether it is sunny out or not.  Reference the video below to see what a Windowfarm is like.  It might even be able to have some kind of soil sensor hooked up to it so that when it got too dry, the Raspberry Pi could start the watering process.

The Raspberry Pi could be used to run an aquarium, be an alarm clock, run a stereo or a gaming system.  There are unlimited possibilities but according to one forum,  the developers approximate that it is best suited for students over 16 years of age.  I wonder if my students could tinker and come up with something . . . .  I am quite sure that they would love the opportunity to play with a Raspberry Pi.  It could be used for an extra computer in the classroom, once it is hooked up with a monitor, keyboard, mouse and internet.  It could be used as a video sign board, a weather station, it can be used to play movies on.  Virtually anything that you do with a computer, you can do with the Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi is a very portable computer. It is small, lightweight and very portable.  It can be combined with other pieces that are not hard to find.  It is the epitome of learning on the go.  According to The NMC Horizon Report, 2012:

“People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want to. Life in an increasingly busy world where learners must balance demands from home, work, school, and family poses a host of logistical challenges with which today’s ever more mobile students must cope. Work and learning are often two sides of the same coin, and people want easy and timely access not only to the information on the network, but also to tools, resources, and up-to-the- moment analysis and commentary. These needs, as well as the increasingly essential access to social media and networks, have risen to the level of expectations. The opportunities for informal learning in the modern world are abundant and diverse, and greatly expand on earlier notions like “just-in-time” or “found” learning.”  The Raspberry Pi will bring the internet to many who may never have had it.  With the price only being $25, it will make the internet much more accessible.

Forums that I used to help me learn more include:

Here is an example of a diagram to learn how to set up the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry PI-1


Johnson, L., Adams, S.,Cummins, M.(2012). The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.


2 thoughts on “Thrifting #1 (Maker 1)

  1. Mary,

    This is a wonderfully creative and practical application of your makey makey kit. Thank you for sharing such a detailed description of how this idea came to fruition and how you would use it in your classroom. This is the type of “deep play” that lends itself to meaningful and lasting learning. Additionally, we always like to see connections to the readings and class materials. Great job!

    • Thank you Laura! Just a side note. I shared this with Craig much earlier because when I tried to put your email in, it would not share the document with you. I later tried it with just one address and it worked. Just in case anyone else is having difficulty ;). I am sure it is just me, though!

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