2016-01-15

Launch at Brummana High School, Brummana

It is great to end and start the year with inspiring and productive activities. In close partnership with the UK Lebanon Tech Hub, the First Lebanon Raspberry Pi Competition was launched on the 7th of November under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, during an outstanding event that brought together practically all school associations in Lebanon. Very interesting discussions took place where the representative of the Mr. Elie Nouaim, representing the minister of education HE Elias Abu Saab, interacted openly with the audience about the integration of technology in education and the role MEHE intends to play to make it a reality. In the next few weeks, 50 schools joined the competition by registering on IEA’s website.

    

    

    

Coder-Maker teacher capacity building workshops

The competition’s Coder-Maker workshops went so smoothly.  They were held at the American Community School at Beirut on December  the 12th and 19th for the first group and on the 28th and 29th for the second.  Both groups met again in the January workshops held on the 9th and 16th.

All teachers came back even during the winter break and we do appreciate their commitment.  They learnt about the Raspberry Pi and started getting into physical computing. They learnt how to use the GPIO, how to use the breadboard and how to light a LED using Scratch and Python.

Teachers enjoyed most working with the ultrasonic and humidity sensors, the many different motors (gear, DC, stepper) and creating a short clip with a Pi camera.  They were puzzled with the ease at which they were using and making sense of the code. Jason Barnett, Raspberry Pi expert from Cyntech UK, provided insight on the use of the RPi and the electronics parts used with it.

The session around identifying problems, selecting the most appropriate of their project, and resolving it using the engineering process was particularly engaging.  After an hour of interactive discussions and in groups, they went out for field observation and came back with loads of project ideas. Each group shared their idea and explained why it would benefit the community. They prioritized their choices and came up with a single choice, a process they would follow in their classroom so their students would identify and select their projects idea. It was so fulfilling to hear from teachers during the following workshop how students embraced this methodology and went into the field to find their own project ideas that would benefit their country.

PA Consulting donated 100 Raspberry Pi Kits for public schools 

At the end of each workshop, time was left for teachers to decide on their requirements of electronic equipment and Raspberry Pi kits. Each participating public school received two Raspberry Pi kits donated by PA Consulting, UK. We are really thankful to PA for their substantial contribution to the success of the Lebanon Raspberry Pi competition.

    

      

  

University volunteers

During the workshops, 10 volunteers participated actively in guiding teachers through the coding and electronics applications.  They are computer engineering students from American University of Beirut, University of Balamand, and Rafic Hariri University, their participation is an important element in the support IEA offers to teachers and students. They had attended beforehand two training sessions on IEA’s methodologies and the Raspberry Pi.