Sunday, October 2, 2016

Piper, Raspberry Pi, Minecraft & CUE STEAMpunk


While at Edcamp Yosemite I was afforded the chance to get 4 Piper Computer kits to take home put together and use with students. Little did I know how much students would enjoy and learn from these Piper computer kits.

What Is Piper?

Here is how Piper is described on the Play Piper website. Piper is both a computer and an invention kit. Play a Minecraft mod that guides you to craft electronics and gadgets. 

Pictures on the right is a completed Piper Computer. Each kit has a Raspberry Pi 3 and a rechargeable battery to power the computer. When you first turn it on and connect to the internet via wifi it will update. 

Student reaction to first time with Piper.

After assemblying the Piper computers I visited one of our K-5 Elementary Schools with Piper. We had about 90 minutes the first time to try out the Pipers with 5th grade students. I showed the students how to plug in the battery and turn Piper on. Students were told they had to play minecraft in Story Mode to start. At this announcement we had a few "awes" from the students as they wanted to go into creative mode first. Other than telling students to click on story mode very little direction was given other than "go forth and explore". I had to smile big when just 5 minute after the "awes" of story mode I had a group of three boys that were working together say "this is better than regular minecraft". For the next 90 minutes students worked with the Piper Computers in the PiperUniverse and set-up buttons, switches, breadboards and curcits. One student went so far we had to go online and update the computer with the next story.

Piper was such a hit with students that my District has asked for a quote on 30 Piper Computers for our schools. 

Thanks to CUE STEAMpunk and the loan of Mobile Labs my District is able to see students try out equpiment before making the fincial investment. We are slowly putting together our own Maker Lab. 

If you have never requested a CUE STEAMpunk I would highly recommend you go to their website and check out all the cool stuff they have for loan. 




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