The Raspberry Pi Foundation, purveyor of the new, affordable, credit card-sized computer of the same name, just announced a new summer programming contest for kids and teens. Contestants must create a software application that impresses the judges. The programs can do whatever the creator chooses and can be written in any code language, providing it runs on Raspberry Pi.
The competition, which runs from August 4 to September 1, has two age-based categories: youth ages 13 and under and teens ages 14-18. The foundation will award winners in both categories with a $1000 cash prize, and up to five runners up in each category will receive awards of $200. The only potential drawback to the contest is that all entrants must grant all rights to the sponsor to “reproduce, distribute, and display” their program.
Raspberry Pi was officially launched in February 2012 as a cheap, basic computer model designed to teach students the fundamentals of computer science and construction. One of the first of its kind, it has since become increasingly popular within the Maker and tech communities. One innovative owner was even able to send the computer into near space long enough to snap a few photographs. WiredMom writer Ariane Coffin described the innovative computer alternative:
The creators of Raspberry Pi sought to make a computer parents could afford to let their kids play with. And by “play with,” I don’t mean running a couple of E-rated games during their allotted screen time. I mean really get their hands dirty in seeing the hardware (the Raspberry Pi doesn’t come with a case), modding it, and coding for it.
All contest entries can be completed on the foundation’s website and entry forms must be received by September 1. The Raspberry Pi is available for around $25, and the one-per-person ban was lifted last week, making it more accessible to parents and educators. However, if you or your students don’t have time to order one from the UK before the competition ends, there is a windows emulator available to test your program.
If students are still interested in learning to code, but aren’t yet ready for a high pressure contest, there are plenty of other virtual – and “real life” – camps dedicated to teaching coding and other computer sciences. The online Maker camp for teens launched on Google+ last week provides a new project for teens to work on every morning. It also offers access to “camp counselors” users can enlist for help, and the chance to share their progress with fellow campers during G+ Hangouts held each afternoon. Schedules and materials needed for each project are available, and the camp runs until August 24. The iD Tech Camps site also maintains a list of computer programming camps for different age groups, held for various lengths and at different locations across the country.
And don't forget our own Camp Virtual designed to keep kids learning and engaged all summer long with recommends apps, games, and websites. You can download your copy of the summer learning guide here.