In the 3 years since it was first released, the Raspberry Pi has caused a revolution in Technology education as well as in the hobbyist, maker and even casual home user market. Junior Tech Academy makes extensive use of the Raspberry Pi computer in its classes. Why?
- Because they are small and can easily be stashed away behind a monitor,
- Because they are powerful enough to run a wide range of applications, including web browsers and video players,
- Because they come pre-packaged with excellent software, such as programming languages (Java, Python, Scratch), Mathematical software (Wolfram’s Mathematica) and many other Open Source titles,
- Because they allow students to easily bridge the gap between the virtual “inside the computer’s memory” technology with the tangible “on a breadboard” electronics world,
- Because they are cheap to purchase and maintain, and are hence less of a liability should something happen in the course of experimentation.
They are used in drones, as set-top tv boxes, as Smart Home sensors, and of course as classroom appliances. So it is only logical that tomorrow’s engineers and innovators get taught using the one device that started it all, the Raspberry Pi.
Popular Science has a short interview with Eben Upton, inventor of the Raspberry Pi, on its website, titled “How The Raspberry Pi Sparked A Maker Revolution”. I recommend this article for some quick insights into the reasons behind the Raspberry Pi’s success. And if you want to purchase one, Microcenter sells the Raspberry Pi 2 B in store at their Mosteller Road location in Sharonville. Students at Junior Tech Academy will soon be able to buy a special Raspberry Pi bundle including Snap Circuits electronics components.
Junior Tech Academy is proud to have been involved with several FIRST(tm) LEGO(tm) League (FLL) Teams this year. For those who are not familiar with FLL, this world-wide competition (233,000+ students age 9-16 in 80 countries world-wide participated this year!) combines scientific research into a real-life problem with the challenge of building and programming a LEGO(tm) Mindstorms(tm) robot to complete an obstacle course in no more than 2.5 minutes. More details on this competition can be found at http://firstlegoleague.org/about-fll.
JTAs technology courses are a good starting place for learning about the key skills needed for a successful team in the Robotics part of the competition – we teach programming concepts, we explore engineering best practices and we work with various robotics platforms.
As a matter of fact, Junior Tech Academy’s students and alumni have done very well so far in this year’s FLL competition. JTA provided robotics training to 10 School District FLL teams, as well as to several neighborhood teams. The team coached by JTA’s founder Philip Bierhoff ended high in the robotics competition at their tournament (combined 6th/7th out of 20 teams), and a team consisting of several Junior Tech Academy students made it into the Regional Championships. This Team, the aptly named Brick Girls, will show off their Engineering and Science skills at the iSpace Regional Championships this coming Saturday Jan 16th at Scarlett Oaks campus in Sharonville, OH. If you’re in the neighborhood – come out and support them! Watching an FLL tournament is a great experience! More details on this event can be found here. Here are the Brick Girls showing off their trophies after winning big in their Local Tournament:
Interested in having your child join an FLL team? Junior Tech Academy will have its own FLL team for the 2016/2017 challenge – called Animal Allies! Contact us for more details!
Do you have your 2016 New Year’s resolutions ready? How about adding JTA’s Introductory class to the list – a great way to stimulate your child’s interests in all things technology. Our next round of Introductory classes start the week of January 4th, 2016, with both Monday and Friday class options. The Introductory class is a 2 month program during which kids learn how computers work and how to write simple programs. Completion of the Introductory class gives immediate access to JTA’s ongoing program and opens up a world of possibilities – Robotics, Programming, Electronics, Animation, you name it!
And if you or your spouse would like to participate as well – check out our Parent Pass program!
These and more details, plus registration, are available at www.kidsfirstsports.com or by calling the Kids First Hospitality Desk at 513 489 7575.
The Junior Tech Academy Program uses Sphero’s robotics balls in their classes. You might have seen the new BB-8 robot from the upcoming Star Wars movie, and you might have come across that little robot in stores as well. It is currently THE hottest toy to get for Christmas. Wired Magazine has a nice article about the company behind the Sphero/BB-8 robot, and what the Star Wars license has done to their business. Thought you might be interested!
Junior Tech Academy is proud to be featured during the “Meet the Maker” sessions at the Barnes & Noble Mini Make Faire this weekend (Nov 6-8). We’ll be showcasing our fun lesson materials and be on hand for any questions you might have about our exciting and unique program.
Location: 9891 Waterstone Boulevard, Cincinnati, OH (I-71, first exit North of I-275).
Our booth will be featured Friday Nov 6 at 7pm, Saturday Nov 7 at 5pm and at 7pm, and Sunday Nov 8 at 1pm and 5pm.
Bring friends and family!