A simple guide for teachers getting started with Raspberry Pi.
If you have a classroom of Raspberry Pi’s or just one to get set up, the task may look daunting to start with. Out of the box you may only have the basic Raspberry Pi and nothing else. So how do you get it up and running? Well the way I have found easiest is to use the Raspberry Pi foundations new “New Out Of Box Software” as with this you only need a Windows formatted SD Card.
- Download “New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS)” from here – http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads
- Download the SD Card Association’s Formatting Tool – https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/
- Insert an SD Card into your Windows Computer (you can either use a built-in SD Card reader, or any USB SD Card reader for this)
- Open the SDFormatter application
- Ensure the correct SD Card is selected in the “Drive” Drop Down selection
- Click the “Options” Button
- Set the “Format Size Adjustment” option to ON
- Come out of the Options panel
- Click “Format” and then “OK” to the warning prompt
- When the application finishes formatting the card Open the “NOOBS” zip file (Windows folder compression will open it as a folder)
- Extract the contents of the ZIP onto your freshly formatted SD Card (Please make sure any folders are kept as they are)
You have now prepared the SD Card for use on a Raspberry Pi and the next steps will show you how to use this to get a Raspberry Pi running.
Configuring the Raspberry Pi
Now you have a prepared SD Card you need to insert this label down into the SD Card slot of the Raspberry Pi (it will protrude from the edge of the Raspberry Pi – this is normal).
Locate a network port and cable where you can run this from for the first time (you will be able to set up a wifi-card later). If you are doing this with your class (a good way to show them how it works!) then you will need a HDMI monitor, keyboard and mouse. If none of you monitors have a HDMI slot, you will need a converter
- VGA to HDMI (Blue ended cables) – http://uk.farnell.com/element14/piview/adapter-raspberry-pi-hdmi-to-vga/dp/2133899 (you can buy these from Amazon, or eBay as well – but they may not all work with the Pi)
- DVI to HDMI (White ended cables) – http://www.amazon.co.uk/iZKA-Raspberry-Hdmi-Cable-Meter/dp/B00BF9HGAC (You can buy these from various places and all should work)
Plug all the devices into the Raspberry Pi, then plug the power in
Your Pi will now boot up and bring up NOOBS and will give a list of operating systems you can install. If you do not see anything on your connected display then you can do the press the following keys on the keyboard:
- HDMI mode (Default)
- HDMI Safe Mode – This mode will help if your HDMI display does not display an image
- Composite PAL mode – This mode is for people using a Composite RCA Connector
- Composite NTSC Mode – for people using NTSC Monitors
From here you can pick one of the displayed operating systems to install and run. I would recommend Raspbian “Wheezy” as the best option for people wanting to use their Pi for programming as it comes with a Graphical interface, Scratch programming language, python and SSH out of the box.