With the recent addition of the Raspberry PI 2 Model B to the small and powerful computing family, we thought it’d be a great time to see how else these computers can be used in schools to get the best value out of them.
Teachers may already be aware of the benefits they can get from the Raspberry Pi in the classroom, but are there any others uses for the small computers around the school premises? We looked at some ideas for getting even more value for money.
1) Automatically control lights
There are many places in a school which don’t need to have lights on all the time, but there are certain occasions or periods of the day when they will be required.
The Raspberry Pi enables you to build a device which can be used to automatically turn on and off lights throughout the school, improving energy efficiency and saving money.
Depending on the type of connection you want to use, you could set an automatic timer for lights, or control them manually from a smart phone.
2) Connect a webcam
To add extra security to school premises at a low cost, use a webcam with a Raspberry Pi computer to create your own CCTV system.
This is especially useful if you just want to monitor a certain room or location.
You could set up the camera to provide a live stream or take time-lapse pictures. And if you add an extra sensor, you can conserve energy and activate only when motion is detected.
3) Create a door entry system
With the right gadgets, you could also create a door entry system with these simple computers.
Connect a keypad or sensor system onto an external door, and use the Raspberry Pi to monitor and control entry. You can even integrate wireless keypads or key fobs, so the door can be opened and closed remotely from a distance.
4) Monitor electricity consumption
If you connect a small LCD screen to the Raspberry Pi, it can be connected to a power supply and used to efficiently monitor electricity consumption.
You could even add in a colour coded lighting system to warn of excessive energy use.
5) Make an internal messaging system
With a small screen attached and the Raspberry Pi hooked up to a network connection, you can create a simple but effective internal messaging system.
Teachers could keep the screens on their desk, and the management team can use them to send out any urgent or important messages.
6) Enhance interactive displays
Finally, with a basic HDMI cable, you can connect any Raspberry Pi to a large TV screen, monitor, or interactive display.
Use the device to create easy to change displays in reception areas, or rotating notices to students and staff.
The great thing about all these projects, besides adding value to the Raspberry Pi devices, is that they can all be designed and built in the classroom, teaching pupils coding and computing skills to enhance their learning as part of the national curriculum requirements.
There may even be lots of new creative ideas which students can come up with themselves.
For more innovative ways to use Raspberry Pi around the school, use the official forums to get tips, instruction and guidance.
Don’t forget, we’d love to hear of any ways you’ve used Raspberry Pi around your school. Just share your comments below.