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Innovation served at the power of Pi

By Drew Amstutz ’18
From the Spring 2016 Cadets Magazine

The computer science class is breaking the model of the typical classroom — to the power of Pi. 

With innovative thinking that was financed through the Cadet Fund, Scott Storm’s computer science classes purchased $2,500 worth of Raspberry Pi products to push his students’ ingenuity to the next level. 

“If you were to follow the history of this course, every semester we do something a little different,” he said. “We go a little further. The first time we did a bunch of lectures. The second time we added robots, and the third we started programming.”

This year’s new idea was creating a project that would challenge students to put a mini computer, called a Raspberry Pi, to a practical use. 

“We all came up with an idea and presented them to the class,” said senior Kassidy Jones. “The class voted on which projects they thought would be the most fun to do.” 

After voting, the class was broken up into groups of four to start building the chosen projects. Projects range from a homemade Apple TV to a mirror with a backlit display. The parts needed for this endeavor include several flat screen TV’s, remote controls and other gadgets, in addition to the Raspberry Pi’s themselves. 

What started out as just an idea, quickly turned into a lesson plan that has stirred up plenty of excitement for learning. 

“You can see the energy in the classroom,” he said. “Everyone is really engaged in their projects. They’re researching, writing, calculating and doing everything that far exceeds (what I could do in a typical lecture setting).”

Storm gives all credit for this project’s success to administrative support, the Cadet Fund and the students themselves.

“If it wasn’t for the Cadet Fund, this would not exist. Period,” he said. “We wouldn’t have the money allocated to go out and order the parts that the students needed.”

As for the future of this class, Storm is very optimistic. His class is growing considerably through programs such as his “Disrupting the Pink Aisle” campaign, which has created a female presence in the male-dominated industry of computer science. This movement, alongside the new Raspberry Pi projects, will pave the way for future curriculum innovations. 

“I don’t know what’s around the corner. That’s the neat thing about technology and innovation,” Storm said. “We’re not going backward … only forward.”