I am passing over to Anne Carlill for a book review today.
Wearable Tech Projects with the Raspberry Pi Zero by Jon Witts
£16.80 eBook or £24.99 Print + eBook
Packt Publishing Ltd., 2017
There’s no doubt that some girls and boys, and particularly girls, enjoy very different coding and physical computing activities than the ones that we geeks know and love. Which is why I was so pleased when this book was published. I’ve read to the end of Chapter Three now and it has been a very worthwhile experience. I have gained many ideas of how to work with pupils who are less-enthused with the activities I have offered in the past.
Our Code Club, in York, always has roughly equal numbers of boys and girls. Perhaps that is because the teacher organiser engineers it that way. But I sometimes struggle to motivate some of the more artistic members of the group. This book describes artistic tasks in the amount of detail I need to undertake the activities myself and therefore be able to try them with pupils.
It is not short on the technical aspects of undertaking such projects but what I have learnt is that, once motivated to create a wearable item that they are interested in, pupils will grapple with and master ideas that they would not have bothered with before. I am still struggling myself with SSH* which is a way of starting up the code on the Pi Zero remotely and will report back when I have got to grips with it.
In the meantime I am going to decorate a cloth shopping bag with LED lights. I am not doing a t-shirt, as Jon suggests, because my enthusiasm for sewing is not up to it, however you can use his ideas to create all sorts of wearable projects.
For about £35, I got together all the things I need for the Ch. 3 project, although I had peripherals (keyboard, screen, etc) already, for typing in the coding, so I have not counted them in the cost.
I purchased a Pi Zero, with the header already soldered on, from
https://www.pi-supply.com/ and most of the other items from
https://shop.pimoroni.com/ . If you can get a Pi Zero W (with wi-fi capability) it makes it easier but they were sold out when I tried.
SSH* Secure Shell – is a way of remotely logging in to a computer (in this case your Pi Zero) from another computer and then running some code. Using a password, you can make the connection between the two computers secure.
The other item I needed was a power bank which came from http://cpc.farnell.com/ for about £10. I have had that for ages so I did not count that in the costs. You can reuse the Pi Zero, case and power bank for other projects in the book so they are a worthwhile investment.
I will come clean. Jon Witts is someone I have known for a while because he shares running Hull Raspberry Jam with another colleague. My husband and I also met him at PiWars. I think his book is important though, as he has given those of us who want computing to be for everyone, not just the stereotypical geek, a very useful and creative resource.
When I’ve finished my bag I will report back with a photo.
I can heartily recommend this book for its clear explanations and clever ideas.
Thank you Anne for writing the book review. You can check out her York Raspberry Jam by clicking here.