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Free online course

Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python

Create simple systems that respond to and control the physical world using the Raspberry Pi and Python.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, starting from when you join
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python

Why join the course?

This free online course will introduce you to Physical Computing, showing you how easy it is to create a system that responds to and controls the physical world, using computer programs running on the Raspberry Pi.

Get an introduction to Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python

Over four weeks, you’ll develop your knowledge of simple electronics and computing, setting up your Raspberry Pi and writing your first program using the Python programming language.

You’ll apply your newfound knowledge to a series of challenges, including controlling an LED with Python, using a button press to control a circuit, and making a button and LED game.

If you’re a teacher, you’ll also have the chance to develop ideas for using the Raspberry Pi and Python in your classroom, and to connect with a network of other educators.

To take part, you’ll need:

  • a Raspberry Pi (models B+ through to 3)
  • a microSD card (8GB minimum) with our Raspbian operating system installed
  • a monitor and HDMI cable (or VGA adaptor)
  • a USB keyboard and mouse
  • a 400-point breadboard
  • 3 LEDs, a button, 330Ω resistors and jumper cables (male to female).

Learn with digital makers from the Raspberry Pi Foundation

The course has been developed by The Raspberry Pi Foundation who have a simple but ambitious mission: to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world.

Since launching in February 2012, they have sold over 10,000,000 Raspberry Pi computers and helped kick start a global movement to get more people involved in computing and digital making.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to the Raspberry Pi computer. Explore setting up the Raspberry Pi hardware and software and booting your Pi for the first time.
  • Write your first simple Python program, and make a simple reaction game.
  • Consider the importance of success and failure when learning.
  • Discover how simple circuits work, how to connect an LED to your Raspberry Pi, and how to switch your LED on and off using Python code to create light sequences.
  • Understand different kinds of input devices that can be used to sense the real world. Connect and take input from a simple button, and learn how to build your own buttons from simple craft materials.
  • Apply your knowledge about physical computing to create a digital making project that is shared with and reviewed by your peers.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Develop understanding of how the Raspberry Pi can be used as a tool for physical computing
  • Apply knowledge of programming concepts to control digital inputs and outputs.
  • Explore practical applications of inputs and outputs to make a project.
  • Reflect on your learning and create ideas for your classroom practice
  • Identify ways of engaging learners in physical computing in your learning context

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in Physical Computing.

It will be of particular use to non-subject-specialist teachers, computing teachers, and design and technology teachers who are interested in using the Raspberry Pi and Python in their classroom.

Who will you learn with?

James Robinson

James is an experienced Computer Science teacher who runs the Raspberry Pi Foundation's teacher training Programme called Picademy. He still plays with LEGO and drinks lots of tea.

Who developed the course?

The Raspberry Pi Foundation works to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world, so they are capable of understanding and shaping our increasingly digital world.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £69.00

Statement of Participation £39.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.