My first activity as a STEM ambassador

A couple days ago (as of writing this, at least!) (on the 26th of June, 2014), I went out to a school with a staff member from University and supported a session on Raspberry pi. The session was part of a club taking place during a week where the students didn’t have regular classes and lasted the whole day – it was part of a whole week of sessions on Linux, Raspberry pi, computing, and programming done for that club.

My role as a STEM ambassador for the activity was to help out in the session when students had trouble doing something. I’m pleased to say, however, that that didn’t happen too much: the students were very awesome and learned so quickly!

They were first handed out a raspberry pi each with raspbian and other required software pre-installed and were shown how to remote control the pi with ssh and vnc and run an X session remotely without a monitor attached to the pi. They actually managed to run zenmap and find all the IP addresses of the raspberry pi, then pointed a browser to the IP addresses to find the one where they had written their name on apache’s default index page!

Each student remote controlled their own pi
Each student remote controlled their own pi!

They also got to log in to a single raspberry pi and run as many applications as possible to see how much it could take – I was surprised to see that even with 8 different tightvncserver sessions and several applications running, it could take the load up to a point!

A debian machine remote controlling a raspberry pi
A debian machine remote controlling a raspberry pi

Run ALL the apps!
Run ALL the apps!

Finally, there was a short session on HTML and JavaScript and building a simple application that would first just read a number from a textbox and then read 2 numbers and add them (it was supposed to be later developed into a full calculator). Again, I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly they were able to figure out how to do this.

Overall, I was blown away by how organised the teacher and school was for the activity, and by how well-behaved and quick to learn the students were. We can definitely hope for a generation of more people interested in STEM fields if programs like this keep up!

I had an awesome time as a STEM ambassador for the activity, and I’m looking forward to supporting more activities in the future when I have time. I encourage anyone with an interest in STEM and getting more young people into the field to be an ambassador, it’s an amazing experience!

(Copyright info: You’re welcome to use the post text under CC-BY like my other posts, but please don’t use the pictures without permission as they weren’t taken by me)


  1. OK! Mac is a proprietary (and very EXPEN$IVE) machnie architecture (currently using a variant of Free BSD & like Linux, a Unix clone) while Linux is an open source, incredibly heavy duty, versatile and free (financially, legally and ethically) operating system. Comparing the two, is like comparing a chrome toilet bowl, to a huge plumbing shop, in which every item is free. NEWS: A GUI is not an OS. Those still paying for ass wipe, needn’t look down their noses at Linux users.

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