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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.

Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python

Why join the course?

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.

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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?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • 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.

What software or tools do you 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).

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.

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Join this course


  • Access to this course for 6 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes

Upgrade - $49

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible