Croydon Tutorial College

Teaching, Tutoring and Progress Coaching

For Young and Mature Students and Technical Apprentices

PiTop 4

PiTop 4 kits provide an excellent introduction to the arts of computer programming, digital electronics and robotics. These kits are well suited to classroom teaching and self learning as the raspberryPi 4 computer at their core is encased in a robust and attractive case that exposes important ports such as HDMI, USB and ethernet. You can purchase these kits through Croydon Tutorial College's close association with First Technology Transfer which is a reseller of these kits.

PiTop 4 Standalone

Standalone PiTop 4

Robotics Kit

Basic Robotics Kit

PiTop 4 with Electronics Kit

PiTop 4 and Electronics Kit Bundle

PiTop 4 has developed an extensive set of introductory and more advanced interactive courses. These courses rely on a framework technology developed by Ceed (the company behind PiTop). Further is a web service and so will run on any computer with a suitable web browser. Students using Further can push code (where required) to connected pi-top devices. The connectivity can be over a local WiFi connection that is available once WiFi has been correctly configured on the PiTop device. The challenges/courses can be accessed for free and without registration. For school use Ceed has developed a number of class management functions such as clever or classroom integration, student management, standards and assessment features. Currently the class management functions are in the Beta phase of developent, and the plan is to provide the full final versions on a fee based licensing basis.

The robotics challenges make use of a PiTop developed Python framework that provides the methods required to e.g. control servo motors, capture camera images, carry out basic image processing such as feature and image recognition without needing a deep technical knowledge of the underlying technology. The low level code robotics framework developed by Ceed is written in C#. There are also challenges concerned with 3D printing, basic Python programming and developing interactive applications. Some of these courses/challenges may prove demanding if attempted without teacher support. Croydon Tutorial College is able to provide both individual and group based teaching and support. Currently via distance learning using Microsoft Teams or Zoom

The PiTop can also be used (as indeed can a "bare RaspberryPi") for more advanced learning and application development and this is the purpose of the Top Programmer program / curriculum. The idea for a Top Programmer curriculum was inspired by becoming involved with the PiTop [4] project. Croydon Tutorial College, together with First Technology Transfer is working on a range of programming courses and workshops utilising the PiTop that teach not only applied programming but, just as importantly, the "more eternal" principles of good programming practice and software engineering. PiTop kits and teaching modules developed as part of this teaching materials development can be purchased via Croydon Tutorial College.

These courses and workshops are also related to the various Cisco Netacad courses taught at Croydon Tutorial College and related courses for those seeking to embark on new careers e.g. as data analysts, internet full stack, front end and back end, application developers, and embedded systems application developers.

We have identified several kinds of “personas” that should find the Top Programmer initiative of interest.

Persona 1 - Young programmers who are attracted to learning and experimenting with application development using the PiTop as an interesting device around which to focus their initial learning and experimentation and who are interested in learning other languages such as C, C++, C#, Java and Kotlin.

Persona 2 - Adults with little or no programming experience interested in learning essential system administration skills, programming skills and data analytics and visualisation skills and preparing for “micro certification” programs such as

  • LPIC parts 1 and 2 programs
  • Python certification programs
  • C and C++ certification programs
  • Microsoft Azure IoT programs that use the RaspberryPi as e.g. either a smart sensor and as an MQTT hub.

Persona 3 - Programmers with basic to advanced programming skills who are keen to master modern principles and best practices of software development as well as techniques for code improvement and refactoring, agile and extreme programming practices and scaling and “large project” approaches.

Of course, an individual may "inhabit" multiple personas as these personas are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Top Programmer Courses and Curricula

To discuss your particular requirement and for more information on tuition rates and how CTC can support you, please call us and leave a message or send an email.
Enquiries line: 07739 642996
Email inquiries should be sent to (replacing dot with ‘.’ and at with ‘@’ and ignoring spaces) awe at croydontutorialcollege dot education or to andrew dot eliasz at gmail dot com