Category Archives: Tech Education

Learn to Code this summer at Maclure Library

On June 20th I assisted with a Code.org Hour of Code event at the Maclure Library in Pittsford, VT.  We had 6 participants, one adult and five young folks.  I met some very sharp and up-and-coming young programmers on Saturday.  I hope they continue learning and gaining more skills in this area.

Bonnie Stewart is the Librarian at Maclure Library, and she is planning some summer activities, including some events or sessions related to learning to code or program computers.

The Maclure Library recently switched to a new website, so they don’t yet have their calendar of events listed.  But if you are interested in what they are planning for summer activities, you can contact the Maclure Library at (802) 483-2972.

Have a nice summer!

Videos From Raspberry Pi Event

Thanks to everyone who attended the Raspberry Pi Event we hosted at the Rutland Library on March 14th 2015 (Ultimate Pi Day).

Here are the videos that were shown at the presentation. The first few are from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, on their website.  The rest are from YouTube.  There are many more videos on the Raspberry Pi on YouTube, which you can easily find by searching for them.

What is Raspberry Pi?

http://www.raspberrypi.org/help/what-is-a-raspberry-pi/

San Diego (CA) school kids and Raspberry Pi

http://www.raspberrypi.org/san-diego-schoolkids-and-raspberry-pi/

Raspberry Pi Stories (links to more videos and articles)

http://www.raspberrypi.org/stories/

Raspberry Pi as seen on YouTube (more videos)

Continue reading

Next Event: 3/14, Raspberry Pi Demo with Raspberry Pie

raspberry_pi_logoOur next RTC event will be on March 14th, from 1-3PM, in the Fox Room at the Rutland Free Library.

Steve Waite and Chad Merkert will present an introduction and demonstrations of the “Raspberry Pi” from the Raspberry Pi Foundation in Britain.  The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer, for about $35, that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse.  With the Raspberry Pi, you can browse the internet, play HD video, make spreadsheets, word-processing docs, and play games.  According to Wikipedia article:

“The Raspberry Pi is a series of credit card-sized single-board computers developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools.”

If you want, you can also use the Raspberry Pi to learn coding, or learn about the Linux operating system.  You can also make your own projects by connecting the Pi to sensors (inputs) and other devices (outputs).  Steve and Chad will demonstrate some of their projects that they built.

There is a video that answers the question, “What is a Raspberry Pi?

At our last RTC event (Hour of Code), Steve brought his Raspberry Pi.  He hooked it up to the monitor and keyboard of the “Google Hangout” station, which is the large screen on wheels in the Fox Room at the Library.  So we were able to get a quick preview of what a Raspberry Pi is.  We got thinking that this would be a good topic for our next event.

As we looked for an open day for the Fox Room, we chose March 14th.  Later we realized that March 14 (or 3.14) is a perfect day to talk about the Raspberry Pi (3.141592654…).  We then later discovered that March 14 is actually “Pi Day in the USA”, according to the online forum at RaspberryPi.org.  That forum post suggests that your Pi Day event can get bonus points if you celebrate the Pi moment of 3/14/15 at 9:26:54.

pieHowever, since our event is in the afternoon, we will celebrate the Pi moment at around 3/14 1:59PM.  That is about midway through our event, and a good time for a quick break and indulge in some Raspberry Pie.  Thanks to Steve and his wife who offered to make us some Raspberry Pie for this event.

If you are planning on coming to our next event, it would really help us if you could please RSVP by email to rutlandtechclub@gmail.com, or call 802-775-8861, and let us know how many will attend.  That will help us determine how many folks are coming, and “how much” Raspberry Pie we will need for 3/14 @ 1:59PM.

We look forward to seeing you at our next Rutland Tech Club event about the amazing Raspberry Pi computer!

Ron, Steve and Chad

Next event, January 31: HOUR of CODE Challenge

Saturday, January 31, 2015, 1-3PM
Rutland Free Library, Fox Room (upstairs)
10 Court Street, Rutland, VT

http://code.org/learn

http://hourofcode.com/us

http://www.codecademy.com/

All ages welcome.  Bring your laptops.  We will do the Code.org “HOUR of CODE” challenge.

Learn the basic concepts of computer programming, using a fun visual approach.  If you have never done the Hour of Code, you can start with the HOC Challenge.  Using a video-game maze theme, build short computer programs to make Angry Bird catch Bad Piggie, by snapping together Lego-like program code blocks on your screen. Later on you can make the Zombie find the Sun Flower in the corn maze.  When you successfully complete the HOC, you will get an online Certificate of Completion.  We can help you save or bookmark your certificate image to your computer, so you can print it out at home.

HOC_view_code

In between the HOC exercises you can view video messages from Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Black Eyed Peas founder will.i.am, and NBA star Chris Bosh (he studied computer science in college).

If you have done the HOC Challenge before, you can go “Beyond the HOC” with additional exercises and challenges to learn more programming concepts on Code.org.  Also, for those who might be interested, you could also try the free tutorials from Codecademy.com, another free to use website to learn programming logic.

In 2014, we held two events around Scratch programming.  If you complete the Hour of Code and/or Codecademy, you will be ready to tackle Scratch programming, which has even more capabilities, and is also a visual approach to computer programming.

As Douglas Rushkoff’s book title says: “Program or Be Programmed”.  Learning to program is like learning another “language”.  It’s another aspect of “computer literacy”, writing programs, instead of just using them.

Tell your friends and family about the Rutland Tech Club.  This event is also posted on the Rutland Herald inViTe Calendar!

We look forward to helping you with the Hour of Code Challenge,

Ron, Steve and Chad

Rutland Radio Club offering classes in winter 2015

Tim Abraham is an amateur radio operator, WA1VT and president of the Rutland Radio Club, the Green Mountain Wireless Society:

website: http://www.gmws.net
Facebook: http://goo.gl/As8GMq

The Rutland Radio Club is offering classes to learn about Ham Radio.  It’s a good way to learn about electricity, electronics, physics, earth science and other technical subjects. It’s also a fun hobby as you can talk to the world via amateur radio or talk to your ham friends locally via 2-way home or mobile radio.

The Rutland Radio Club is conducting Introductory License Classes weekly, for 10 weeks, starting on Wednesday evening January 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rutland Red Cross building.  At the end of the class, students will be ready to take and pass the Technician class amateur radio license exam.  You do not need to learn Morse Code to get a license.

If you have any questions, please call Tim Abraham (WA1VT) at 802-558-0389.

Next Event: November 29, Linux 101

The next learning event is on Saturday, November 29, 1-3PM, again at the Rutland Free Library. This month Chad Merkert will be our guest presenter, and will give an introduction to the Linux operating system.

Linux 101 will cover the fast growing and popular open source operating system called Linux. Chad will describe what Linux is, as well as what Open Source software is. He will also explain and demonstrate how you can start using Linux and Open source software on your computer!

If you have an old Windows XP computer, you might already know that Microsoft is no longer supporting the XP operating system. If you have since purchased a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer or laptop, or plan to do so, have you thought about what to do with your XP?

It turns out you can install Linux on your old XP computer. If you’ve wanted to learn more about using Linux, converting your old XP computer is an inexpensive way to do so. You can install Linux on your PC or laptop directly. Or, there is also another option to boot your computer up with Linux, via a a “bootable” version of Linux on a flash drive.

We look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Ron, Steve and Chad

Next Event: October 25, Learn Scratch Programming

The next event is on Saturday, October 25, 1-3PM, again at the Rutland Free Library.  We are going to do another hands-on event.  This time we are going to start working with a programming tool called “Scratch” from MIT.  For those who were unable to attend our first Scratch event back in April, this is your chance.  October 25 is also the date of the annual Rutland Halloween Parade (in the evening), so our Scratch programming activities will have a “Halloween” theme, as far as ready-to-go sprites for your Scratch program or animation.

Scratch is another visual programming tool / language.  For those of you who participated in an Code.org “Hour of Code event, you will notice that Scratch has some similarities to the visual programming approach of “Hour of Code”.  But Scratch has many more programming features, and introduces you to many more programming concepts and ideas.

http://scratch.mit.edu/

Scratch enables you to program your own interactive stories, games, sounds and animations.  You can also share your creations with others in the Scratch online community.  According to MIT’s website, “Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.”

At hour “Hour of Code” event back in February, one person had a question about “sprites”.  Scratch does allow you to have one or more sprites (visual graphics to represent people, animals, characters, things), that can be animated.

For each sprite, you can tell Scratch to do different things based on different “events”.  This is called event-driven programming.  For example, you could play a sound, or have a character say something in a cartoon bubble, if the user clicks on something, moves their mouse or presses a key on keyboard.  These mouse/keyboard events drive the action on the screen.

This blog also has some earlier posts regarding Scratch Programming.  Scratch is a very nice tool and way to learn and develop programs.

Hope to see you on October 25th to start to learn Scratch programming.

Ron and Steve