pi-top blog

pi-top's year in review

By Andrea Buforn on Dec 21, 2018 4:16:07 AM

Topics: Our story

As 2018 comes to an end, we look back at some of this year's highlights. January

We kickstarted 2018 with a bang. We took over Bett's STEAM Village, delivered workshops and talks, and won 'Innovator of the Year' at the Bett Awards!



February was an event-filled month for us. From the Young Coders Conference at the Tate Modern in London to TCEA and OETC in the US. The team also packed their bags and went to GESS in Dubai, where we delivered more learning by making workshops, talks, and we even had the honour to meet UAE's Minister of Education.


March marked Raspberry Pi's Big Birthday Jam Weekend where we saw pi-tops being used around the globe, the release of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, and our first Pi Day party for our community. Sadly, it's also the month when we lost Stephen Hawking. 


Just in time for April Fools' Day, we uploaded to our YouTube channel a video introducing pi-topCOOKER, the world's first add-on board that turns your pi-top into a mini kitchen. Did we fool you? 

After six months of work, countless meetings, several weekends at the office building and testing roboTOP, two dead soldering irons and almost setting the office on fire while testing the code, finally PiWars weekend arrived, and our robot came in second place in the intermediate category!

Lastly, in April we welcomed Bill Rankin to the team (if you haven't downloaded the research paper 'Education, Knowledge, and Learning. An overview of theories and research about constructionism and making', you can download it for free here), released a new pi-topOS update, and joined London Stock Exchange ELITE Programme. Never a dull moment at pi-top HQ!


We love seeing educators and learners from all over the world using pi-tops in their learning environments and in May, lots of our community members shared pictures of their classrooms or workshops with us. Thank you, and keep them coming!


This year, Cisco Live's attendees built 500 pi-tops in the Social Impact Zone. The pi-tops were donated to local schools in Orlando. 

We packed the newly-printed issue 2 of our magazine, Learning by Making, and we headed to Chicago for ISTE. There, we hosted keynotes and workshops by teachers from across the USA, as well as talks by some of the most senior members of the pi-top team.

July / August

pi-top co-founder and CEO Jesse Lozano scooped not one, but two awards at EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

Vehicles from 30 US high schools arrived in Texas to take part in the 25th Solar Car Challenge race in the summer of 2018, each hoping to cover 1,300 miles from Fort Worth, Texas to Palmdale, California.

We believe in backing up the talk with action – or, in this case, by making! So in August we partnered with EdTech Austin, a local volunteer-led and organized Meetup group, and hosted a learning by making workshop in Austin. 


As the school year kickstarted we found out that this year, French students went go back to school without one of their most precious possessions: their phones. The reason is to stop pupils being distracted by phones during lessons and improve focus, as well as help with bullying, but if we don’t teach kids how to use the technologies of today for their learning and living, how are we preparing them? 

The Riverside County Office of Education hosted our workshops for educators. The session, focused on integrating computer science into math instruction. As you can see, you had loads of fun!

Sophie Bailey, the mastermind behind The EdTech Podcast, organised the first-ever EdTech Podcast Festival, and of course, we had to be there running our learning by making workshops and to meet all the amazing attendees and speakers. 


On UNESCO's World Teachers Day, we celebrated the life of the late of Joe Bower, who believed in something better than the constant grading and assessment of our children.

Pearson and their plans to automate education with AI made headlines around the globe. However, the company's latest move left us thinking if they're the Kodak of education. 

In October, we also launched our podcast, We Make The Future. The first episode features our very own Bill Rankin and since then, we've had lots of amazing guests on our podcast. If you haven't yet, check it out here. 


After taking home two awards at EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year in July, Jesse was named UK Rising Star winner in November's ceremony. 

We also had the honour to welcome Bhutan's Ambassador, Her Excellency Pema Choden, to our office in London. 

We love getting involved in the community, meeting new awesome makers, and learn new things from them. In November, we kicked off our Meet the Maker series and shared five common mistakes you should avoid when building a maker space


We wrapped up our podcast for the year with Chris Regini's inspiring story. The teacher and his students have turned their maker space into a fully automated hydroponic system to better understand the food needs of the future. There are new episodes coming up in 2019, so watch this space!

The team is not only working on new content for the podcast but also on some exciting things that will see the light in 2019.  We can't wait to show you everything but for now, we hope you have a great festive break. Thank you for making 2018 such a wonderful year!

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