Technology

Why Moonhack is not another meaningless attempt to break a World Record

Last year, the Australian Code Club had 10,207 Australian kids participating in their free coding event, Moonhack. This year they are not holding back and they are turning the 15th of August into a worldwide event so kids (and not-so-kids) from all around the globe can take part and collaborate.

The event’s aim is to have as many young people from 8 to 18 years old coding as possible and set a World Record. However, the project goes way further than that: by bringing together people and getting them to code for a specific purpose they want to spread a love for coding and trigger a passion for it in future generations. This aligns directly with pi-top’s mission and beliefs. Learning to code can help young people strengthen their problem solving skills and logical thinking as well as their resilience when dealing with things going wrong. In this digital age that we live we think that it’s important to provide kids with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in a world of accelerating advancements, for both their personal and professional lives. Moonhack is a great place to start as it provides a fun environment that can either be structured or treated as an open, creative sandbox, depending on your preference.

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Moonhack is an inclusive event, so is coding. Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of their skill level, age, gender or country of residency. Even if you don’t fall inside the age range, you can participate and submit your project, but it will not be counted for the World Record.

At pi-top, we think taking part in the Moonhack is a great idea, especially if you’re looking for something fun to do over the summer holidays so why not sign up on Moonhack’s website and get involved. Once you’re sign up,  you will have access to tips, ideas and project guides. On the 15th of August you will be able to upload your moon-themed project made in Scratch, Scratch JR or Python to make sure it’s included in the official record-breaking project count. For those that prefer to follow a project, do not panic, there are also open source Moonhack projects that you or your kids can complete, with easy to follow instructions for any level of learner.

So go on, sign up. Learn. Play. Create… And break things digitally!

The Argument For Game-Based Learning

“90% of European jobs require ICT skills, and yet there will be 900,000 unfilled ICT positions in the EU by 2020. Less than 15% of European students have access in school to high-level ICT teaching. In some EU Member States, such as Greece and Croatia, fewer than half of pupils even have access to the internet at school.”  – “Should computer science be taught in European schools

One in four teachers in European countries say they do not have enough ICT training. Per the figure above, there is a serious need for better training of teachers in ICT and STEAM fields, but this is not a gap that will be closed immediately.

The question, then, becomes one of how teachers can encourage and mentor students by proxy, allowing them to keep pace with ICT education in the rest of the developed and highly-integrated developing world.

This is where gamification has a place in the curriculum.

A survey conducted by TalentLMS showed that:

  • 89% of those surveyed stated that a point system would boost their engagement.
  • 82% are in favor of multiple difficulty levels and explorable content.
  • 62% stated that they would be motivated to learn if leaderboards were involved and they had the opportunity to compete with other colleagues. – “Gamification Statistics for 2015

These are figures based on a survey conducted by adults, but the gamification of learning taps into a process by which children are already conditioned to engage. How many under-12s have a playstation, or an existing passion for PC games? Certainly, not all of these children will have discovered these avenues of engagement with the help of their parents, so not only, by extrapolation, can children and young learners engage with new technology and systems through games, but it is also not necessary to have adult guidance in their uptake.  In the context of education, then, is it necessary for the teacher to have the same knowledge of the game that their students do, at base level, or is it enough to be able to keep track, with a built-in set of objectives which allow students to explore problems themselves?

Hello world: pi-top starts blogging

Hello world,

Welcome to our new blog. We are pi-top. We want to see a world of makers creating real hardware product. Our aim is to make affordable technology that anyone can use to learn, play and create!

“Ryan and I started all this in my living room in London. We had days when we had to choose between buying more 3D printing filament or buying something other than pasta and tomato sauce to eat (we chose the filament every single time). Now we have a great office in London and a team of twelve people. Without our backers and community, our lives would be so different and much less fulfilling, and for that we are forever grateful.” – Jesse, pi-top CEO

On the 8th of December, 2014, pi-top closed its first Indiegogo campaign with 217% of the initial funding goal. If you haven’t heard, the pi-top is a Raspberry Pi powered DIY laptop. Since the successful campaign, we have improved the design, software and hardware of the pi-top to ship worldwide to 47 countries!

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We are very proud of what we’ve achieved with our backers help. From our CTO Ryan Dunwoody’s five month stay in Shenzhen to get pi-top off the production line and into everyone’s homes, to our pride in the improvements we’ve made over the last year. (Image left: Ryan with the first production pi-top in China)

 

 

“When people give you their trust to produce something new, you must give everything else up.” – Jesse, pi-top CEO

The rewards are immeasurable – as you can observe via the images (below) sent to us by our backers through our Twitter.

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Now, as we move into our second year, we hope we will be able to continue improving, continue making, and continue bringing pi-top and our newest product, pi-topCEED, to as many people as possible.

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(Image: left green pi-top and right grey pi-topCEED)

We will be using this blogs for Our Story – to make updates on our recent progress, some Food for Thought – covering industry topics (STEM, Education, Entrepreneurship, etc.), and Building – where we’ll be writing about some cool projects for pi-top and pi-topCEED. We hope you enjoy!

Upwards and onwards,

Your pi-top Team