Sian’s story – Raspberry Pi arriving in schools in China – it all started with H818

Raspberry Pi computer

Photo credit: mattwareham CC-BY

By H818 student Sian Lovegrove

I took my principal Dr Lei, to the first Raspberry Pi user group meeting in Shanghai last Monday. It was on the H818 module that I first heard about the Raspberry Pi – from one of the other students. I was curious and ordered one online here in Shanghai a couple of weeks ago. When it came I fell in love with it and I often carry it in my handbag to show people (sad but true).

As a programmer by trade I am familiar with coding. For my new job I had to think of an after school club I could do and as someone had already volunteered to do the school magazine I had to think of something new. Then it occurred to me that I could have a ‘Pi Factory’ and get the kids playing with the RPi. The only thing they ever do with computers is play games – they have no idea of what goes on under the bonnet. And being a programmer and female (and not in my first flush of youth) I thought I would be a good person to promote computing. I want them to see that it’s not young nerdy lads who get excited about computers, girls (and middle-aged women) are excitable too. It was notable but not altogether surprising that, Dr Lei and I were the oldest and only females at the user group meeting (I knew it would be that way!).

We are the first school in Shanghai and maybe even in China, to adopt the Raspberry Pi. My principal already thinks I am fantastic and I don’t start officially until Monday! She has given me as much money as I want to buy them and all the peripherals and a big room to do it all in. All I have to do now is to learn how to program in Python – I suppose one language is very much the same as another!

So thanks to H818, I am now the cool teacher in school – the one who is setting the pace – the one with the fresh ideas. Due to my enthusiasm, word has got around before school has even started and there are a bunch of teachers and a bigger bunch of students who already want to come along to the club and the principal is already talking about introducing IT onto the curriculum next year if it goes well. Oh God – what have I done. Wish me luck with managing people’s expectations!

By extension, your H818 team should take some of the credit for the Raspberry Pi arriving in schools in China – it all started with H818.

Thanks to you all

Sian Lovegrove

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