Illustration of different levels of RPF digital making curriculum

Digital making curriculum

Digital making, or creating using digital technology, allows learners to mix their technical and creative skills while exploring new ways of bringing computer science to life in the real world.

At the Raspberry Pi Foundation, our mission is to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world. We spend a lot of time thinking about what you can learn by tinkering and making with a digital making device like the Raspberry Pi, and about what it takes to become skilled in computer programming, electronics, and physical computing.

We’ve recently taken an exciting step in this journey by creating our own digital making curriculum to help people everywhere learn new skills.

Who is it for?

We have a large and diverse community of people who are interested in digital making. Some might use the curriculum to help guide and inform their own learning, or perhaps their children’s learning. People who run digital making clubs at schools or community centres, or organise Raspberry Jams may draw on it for extra guidance on activities that will engage their participants. Educators and teachers may wish to use the curriculum as inspiration for what to teach their learners.

Progression

Learning anything new involves progression. You start with certain skills and knowledge, and through guidance, practice, and understanding, you can gradually progress towards broader and deeper knowledge and competence. Our digital making curriculum is structured around this progression, and in representing it, we wanted to avoid well-used age-related labels and the preconceptions related to these that are often associated with a learner’s progress. We came up with our own, using characters to represent different levels of competence: starting with being a Creator, you can move on to Builder and then Developer level before becoming a Maker.

Digital Making Curriculum

Strands

We want to help people to make things so that they can become the inventors, creators, and makers of tomorrow. Digital making, STEAM, project-based learning, and tinkering are at the core of our teaching philosophy, which can be summed up simply as ‘we learn best by doing’. With this in mind, we’ve created five strands which we think encapsulate key concepts and skills in digital making: design, programming, physical computing, manufacture, and community and sharing.

Computational thinking

One of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s aims is to help people to learn about computer science and how to make things with computers. We believe that learning how to create with digital technology will help people shape an increasingly digital world, and prepare them for the work of the future. Computational thinking is at the heart of the learning that we advocate. It’s the thought process that underpins computing and digital making: formulating a problem and expressing its solution in such a way that a computer can effectively carry it out. Computational thinking covers a broad range of knowledge and skills including, but not limited to:

  • Logical reasoning
  • Algorithmic thinking
  • Pattern recognition
  • Abstraction
  • Decomposition
  • Debugging
  • Problem-solving

By progressing through our curriculum, learners will develop computational thinking skills and put them into practice.

What’s not on our curriculum?

If there’s one thing we learned from our extensive work in formulating this curriculum, it’s that no two educators or experts can agree on the best approach to progression and learning in the field of digital making. Our curriculum is intended to represent the skills and thought processes essential to making things with technology. We’ve tried to keep the key outcomes as broad as possible, and we provide examples as a guide to what could be included in lessons.

Our digital making curriculum is not intended to be a replacement for computer science–related curricula around the world, such as the Computing Programme of Study in England, the Digital Technologies curriculum in Australia or the AP Computer Science Principles in the United States. We hope that following our learning pathways will support the study of formal curricular and exam specifications in a fun and tangible way. As we continue to expand our catalogue of free learning resources, we expect our curriculum will grow and improve, and your input into that process will be vital.

A PDF version of the curriculum is available for you to download.

Share your thoughts

We’re proud to be part of a movement that aims to empower people to shape their world through digital technologies. We value the support of our community of makers, educators, volunteers, and enthusiasts. With this in mind, we’re interested to hear your thoughts on our digital making curriculum.

Review our digital making curriculum and use the comments section below to reflect on the following questions:

  • Is the curriculum useful for your space?
  • Can you use it to help you develop your makerspace plan?
  • Is there anything missing from it?

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This article is from the free online course:

Build a Makerspace for Young People

Raspberry Pi Foundation