Monday, January 7, 2013

Planning Ahead - Summer STEM Camp with #RaspberryPi

As I shared in my post, Setting Up Raspberry Pi, I have a specific reason for playing around with this--I want to see if we can setup a high school group, or, perhaps, a middle school (or younger maybe) one focused on the use of Raspberry Pi. I'd love to hear if anyone else is doing this! Please share!

In this post, I'll share a draft proposal of what I'm imagining.

If you're not familiar with Raspberry Pi, check out this video:

Someone today, on reviewing the proposal, suggested the use of WiPi. "WiPi? What's that?" I asked myself. It enables your Raspberry Pi to have wireless access:
Wi-Pi is a high performance, cost effective WLAN USB module which connects the Raspberry Pi low cost computer, to a Wi-Fi local area network. Wi-Pi uses the latest 802.11n Wireless Technology, and can support data rates of up to 150 Mbps, compared with older 54 Mbps 11g products. It also benefits from a higher wireless LAN bandwidth, making data transmission more efficient. Wi-Pi also supports wireless roaming, ensuring a more consistent wireless connection to a wireless access point. Wi-Pi uses the latest international wireless CCA air channel detection technology, enhancing wireless performance. Currently WI -PI can only be used with Debian 6.0 or higher version of operating system. 

Here's a sample goal in sharing it with you is to ask for how you would improve it, identify what I've left out, or maybe, what I have too much of (smile). How would you make this better?

Today, more than ever before, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation. It's time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and work to restore America's place as the world leader in science and technology.'
-- President Barack Obama as cited by STEM Education Coalition

This proposal recommends that the ISD fund a summer camp to encourage middle school students to begin developing the skills needed to be successful in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) setting, as well as provide professional learning in STEM for two classroom teachers, both which will need to apply to participate.

Goal Directly impact student achievement through enhancement of the learning tools available to students and their teachers. To achieve this, this initiative will provide 2 teachers (1 from each MS campus) and 30 students the following equipment outlined in this proposal--Raspberry Pi mini-computer with identified peripherals and software, and then assess their impact on student learning. Aside from the goal of impacting student learning, this initiative also seeks to do the following:

  1. Develop STEM work ethics and attitudes conducive to learning in science, technology, engineering and math so as to impact math, science, and reading core content areas.
  2. Transform teaching and learning practices as informed by research and best practices.
  3. Provide ubiquituous access to technology at the point of need that extends beyond what is available in a school setting.

Need For The STEM Camp
It is now well established that the Nation is facing a crisis due to the fact that it is not producing  enough  scientific,  technological,  engineering,  and  mathematics  (STEM) professionals to remain economically competitive in the global marketplace.  While this  problem  is  not  new,  our  high  tech  economy  has  been  sustained  for  the  last several decades by an influx of STEM graduate students and professionals drawn to the US  by  the  strength  of  our  universities and  technology  sector  built  up  over  the second half of the twentieth century. However, this reliance on  foreign immigrants to  fill  our  demand  for  STEM  professionals  becomes  more  precarious  as  other countries strengthen their own science and engineering infrastructures.  

The ISD needs to enhance students' science and math skills to better prepare students to go into STEM-related careers. K‐12 students’ experience with  science  and  mathematics  plays  a  key  role  in  influencing  whether  students pursue  a  STEM  university  degree. 

Some research regarding the importance of STEM in K-12 settings:
  • Students who focus on STEM in high school and major in one or more of those areas in college are the most highly paid professionals, on average (Source:
  • The [Science Education XIV survey found that the K-12 education system fell short as well, with respondents giving it a "D" for the job it does to encourage minorities to study STEM subjects and a "D+" for girls (Source: Bayer Facts of Science Education XIV Survey).
Pursuing a career in STEM also can have positive long-term consequences in terms of salary since it influences what college majors students will engage in:

Based on this research, as well as others not cited here, it is clear that the role of the principal in effecting use of technology in classrooms is incredibly important. There are also videos that address the importance of STEM:


Total cost is estimated at $5,412.72. A breakdown of cost appears below:

Please note that a variety of funding sources will be sought to off-set the cost of the initiative.

Guidelines for Transfer of Data Processing Equipment to Student
Students participating in the program receive approximately $100 investment in equipment, as well as a donated computer monitor and USB keyboard/mouse.  Since the equipment being transferred to students was purchased by the school district, the ISD will require student and parents to complete the ISD Transfer of Data Processing Equipment form that includes a student, parent, and EC Technology Operations signature.

Pursuant to State Law, school districts may transfer equipment to students that they deem will serve a public purpose and benefit the district and/or a school provided confidential, proprietary information--as determined by the district--is removed. The school district may transfer to a student enrolled in the district 1) any data processing equipment donated to the district/school; 2) any equipment purchased by the district; 3) any surplus or salvage equipment owned by the district; and 4) any equipment donated (including gifts, grants, money) to the district. 

Sources include Acts, 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1272, Sec. 6.01, eff. June 15, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 9.020 (f), eff. September 1, 2003. Amended by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4, Sec. 29.02, eff. September 28, 2011.

Application Process
Collaboration with District Curriculum Department staff will be sought in developing selection criteria for students and staff. The application process will consist of the following:

Students will need to submit an application form reflecting their interest, as well as a math and/or science teacher recommendation for participation. 

Only two teachers will be accepted to facilitate the program. These teachers will need to be willing to commit to the following:
  • Completing a Memo of Understanding about expectations and participation.
  • Adapting a curriculum focused on programming for use with students at the Middle School level based on the Raspberry Pi Education Manual.
  • Attend 2 days (12 hours) of professional development (extra duty pay available) in the Fall, 2013.
  • Facilitate a 2 week, half-day (3 hour) session for students during the Summer, 2013.
Professional Learning for Facilitating STEM Camp Teachers
Participants will attend two 6-hour workshop session. Curriculum Department specialists will also attend training and provide support to this initiative. Professional learning will be geared around the Raspberry Pi Education Manual, but also Wes Fryer's Support STEM Skills with Scratch
Scratch software ( is free software from MIT which can be used by students and teachers to create animations, games, simulations, music, art, stories, and more.
Professional Learning sessions will also be assessed at levels 4 and 5 of the Five Critical Levels of Professional Development Evaluation (Guskey, T, Professional development, Corwin Press, Inc). Those levels include the following:
  • Level 4- Participants’ use of new knowledge and skills: 
    • Questions Addressed include: Did participants effectively apply the new knowledge and skills?
    • Instruments used will include questionnaires, structured interviews, participant reflections, portfolios, video-or audiotape if appropriate.

  • Level 5- Student learning outcomes:

    • Questions Addressed include:
      • a) What was the impact on students?;
      • b) Did it affect student performance or achievement?
      • Instruments used include questionnaires, portfolios, and student records.
    Assessment and Evaluation 
    • Ongoing assessment will be provided through the implementation process and conducted by the Curriculum Department team.
    • Student products will also be displayed via a web site managed collaboratively by the Curriculum Department team.
    • Teacher developed lessons will be published via the ISD STEM web site.

    In this 2 week, half-day course, students will learn how to apply grade level math and science in simulated real world projects. Each project utilizes a sample set of applications of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts. 

    Project based learning methods are used in a lab environment. Students will demonstrate their finished projects to an online global audience and video interviews made available via the STEM Camp web site.

    Target Audience
    • Grade 7 students who exhibit high academic standards
    • Preference will be given to educationally disadvantaged students

    Class Objectives

    • To have fun playing with a palm-sized learner friendly computer specialized for education
    • To learn the basics of computer programming using two intuitive programming languages called Scratch® and Python®
    • To understand how computers work
    • To introduce basic problem solving techniques using computers and computer algorithms
    • To introduce the Open Source® hardware and software including a Linux®based operating system
    • To help build soft skills to work in a team environment

    Participants will receive the following:
    1. Raspberry Pi computer with WiPi (wireless access)
    2. Micro-SD Power Cable
    3. 16gig SanDisk SD Card (serves as hard drive for computer)
    4. HDMI to VGA Adapter Cable
    5. Computer Monitor (donated equipment)
    6. USB Keyboard (donated equipment)
    7. USB Mouse (donated equipment)
    8. Ethernet cable
    Estimated total value of equipment: $220

    Sample Projects

    Daily Outline
    • View Summer Academy Schedule 


    Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


    Mr. Dixon said...

    I just googled rasberry pi summer camp and your page popped up on top. I woke up thinking about the rasberry pi and mi kids who are middle school aged. I also teach in a bilingual middle school in DC. AS to your questions about the proposal, I'd suggest community partners. They usually go along way especially if you are trying to get funding from the school district.

    That said this camp would be great to start here as well. I'm sure we here could fill a couple sessions over the summer.

    Aaron axel said...

    What a commendable work you have done, with simplest of language. I can’t resist myself to leave a comment and trust me it’s hard to impress me.

    STEM Majors

    Genuine Leadership #4: Gratitude