Rebuilding the PiLab

We moved into the new Science and Technology Building at our school just a few weeks ago. Since then, classes have been taught, exams have come and gone and boxes have been unpacked in between.

Over the past few days some students from my Makers and Breakers lunchtime club and I began to set up the Raspberry Pi devices in their new classroom. As we were lucky enough to have HDMI monitors in the new rooms, with on-screen controls to switch between inputs, I wanted the Pis to become permanent fixtures rather than devices hidden away in a cupboard outside of club time. We decided on two per semi circle (of three or four machines) which would always allow for at least one Windows machine for Internet access in case of troubleshooting.

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I used small Velcro coins to attach the Raspberry Pi to the top of the PC base units and then added the HDMI cable to the very tidy bundle feeding into the monitors. Numbering each case with a Sharpie to match its SD card means that students can continue their Pi experiments from lesson to lesson.

Each Pi has been given its own cat 5 cable and I intend to use a collection of recycled BT Homehubs to set up mini wired networks as and when required. The holy grail is to be granted access to the guest wifi but Python and minecraft tasks will work just as well for the moment.

The new setup removes the need for students to spend most of their club time assembling and disassembling the devices – now we can (almost) get straight to the fun!

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