Its August and it’s school vacation in Cameroon 😊 and while others are on summer holidays, it’s the maker’s moment at the “Raspberry Jam Camer”. We share our passion for tech and the last working session we had was about teaching what the Raspberry Pi is to kids, and how to use it. This boot camp lasted a week and this blog post is about how we though to kids here in Cameroon what a Raspberry is, how to use it and what they could build with it.
During this last phase of our intensive boot camp entitled “Making Computer programming the third official language in Cameroon”, we initiated the young ones from primary school to the Raspberry Pi. We did this through a crash course that ran for a week. The program was led by my friend and Jam’s manager; Lionel “Tellem” Sichom, aided by his team. Our main aim was to unleash to the kids what they could do with the Pi, how they could materialize what the imagined with the pi. The learners were kids with ages ranging from 7 years to 14 years old and 70% of them were girls 👏.
We first started by initiating them to the concept of robotics, teaching them what a robot is, what it can be made of… We explained this with the simplest terms we could for these kids to understand. We introduced them to new terms and relating electronic components to the parts of a human being’s body. For example, relating sensors to normal human being senses.
Thereafter we introduced them to the Raspberry Pi itself, and they were all astonished and could not believe that the little credit-sized card device been showed to them was an actual computer till Lionel linked up everything and we projected it on the screen. Then we went on to boot the Raspberry Pi. Since we presented the Raspberry Pi as a kind of small PC. That is, a smaller version of computers which they are used to, we had to show them the alternatives and similarities of programs such as Windows Office Suite, in this case Libre Office Suit, and this was the real amazing part as it cought their attentions even more.
Thereafter the rest of the days, we went on working through the different worksheets supplied to us by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, in our Jam kits. But due to lack of adequate material such as HAT Sense, we had find an alternative, which was to work with the trinket.io emulator.
Due to low number of available Raspberry Pis, sessions on using Scratch were done on PC’s on which we ran live Raspbian “Live” from CD.
The takeaway word we gave them at the end of the session was “Think about a challenge in your homes, bring it to the Jam, then we all will get the Raspberry Pi solution for it, and with chance your solution will appear in the next edition of the Raspberry Pi Official Projects Book.”
Overall, this was a very good and nice experience. The kids said they learned new things such as the use of raspberry pi, what sensors are, how they could be used to make a robot see, and many other things… .We were very happy and surprised, to see how very little kids had the zeal, interest and mostly the will of building robots and digital solutions that matter. Even though here we still have difficulties getting more Raspberry Pis and equipment such as Pi Cameras, for our training sessions, we can still learn and start building awesome projects. And also, unleash the powers of the Pi to the young ones. With this, we strongly believe that we are going to spread the notion of computer programming and tech in Cameroon and even the whole of Africa. Thereby, building that generation of Makers to solve Africa’s challenges