Illinois Teachers Get Raspberry Pi Training to Offer Computer Science Skills to More Students

Two More Teacher Workshops in June; Student Design Competition this Fall

May 27, 2015, 12:48 ET from Creating IT Futures Foundation

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new program sponsored by the Illinois IT Learning Exchange and spearheaded by CompTIA and its philanthropic arm, the Creating IT Futures Foundation, aims to make classroom-based technology more accessible and fun for teachers and students alike. The Exchange is teaching Raspberry Pi technology to teachers across Illinois to help them offer basic computer science education and skills to their students.

The Illinois IT Learning Exchange is an online public/private network to share resources and knowledge about information technology (IT) learning, jobs and careers with high school and community college students. In partnership with IL State Board of Education and IT industry groups, the Exchange seeks to promote academic and work-based technical learning to prepare more students for IT careers.

The Exchange's Raspberry Pi project has a two-fold goal — one, to organize professional development workshops for IL teachers  to help them better understand Raspberry Pi technology and use it in their classrooms, and two, to facilitate competitions to encourage student innovation and problem solving. Raspberry Pi is a palm-sized, single-board computer developed by a non-profit foundation in the United Kingdom. Costing less than $50 each, millions of Raspberry Pis have been sold worldwide and are making their small-but-powerful presence known in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — educational circles.

So far this year, the Illinois IT Learning Exchange facilitated several professional development workshops for high school teachers to help them become more familiar with Raspberry Pi technology. The full-day training includes creating a web server or website, using peripheral devices such as a camera and sensor, developing a python coding program, and brainstorming classroom activities. Teachers receive a free Raspberry Pi starter kit. The professional development workshop is offered free of charge to IL teachers, who also earn continuing education credits for attending. 

"We want teachers to feel comfortable with the Raspberry Pi so they will use the devices in their classrooms and after-schools clubs, thereby increasing students' interest in the technology and creative problem-solving," said Joan Matz, senior grants manager, workforce development programs, Creating IT Futures Foundation.

Eighty teachers from 39 schools attended Raspberry Pi workshops this spring, and two more workshops are planned for June in Bloomington and Galesburg to reach teachers in southern and western Illinois. One hundred percent of the teachers rated the Raspberry Pi instructor as good/excellent and said they would use Raspberry Pi in their classrooms or after school activities.

The Illinois IT Learning Exchange also plans to sponsor a challenge this fall in the Chicago area to encourage students to develop application ideas using the Raspberry Pi and peripheral devices. At the White House's 5th annual science fair this spring, one student turned an old piano into a jukebox using a Raspberry Pi.

Teachers in Illinois who wish to attend the workshops or have their students get involved in the design competition should email Joan Matz at

About the Creating IT Futures Foundation 
The Creating IT Futures Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at

About CompTIA
CompTIA is the voice of the world's IT industry. Its members are the companies at the forefront of innovation; and the professionals responsible for maximizing the benefits organizations receive from their investments in technology. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications and public policy advocacy. To learn more visit CompTIA online, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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SOURCE Creating IT Futures Foundation