Lessons from adopting a maker approach to teaching operating systems with Raspberry Pi

Wing-Kwong Wong (Department of Electronic Engineering, National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Douliou, Taiwan)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 18 June 2018



This paper aims to propose a maker’s approach to teaching an operating systems (OSs) course in which students apply knowledge of OSs to making a toy robot by focusing on input/outputs, hardware devices and system programming.


Classroom action research is involved in this study.


After the course was taught in this maker’s approach in two consecutive school years, some observations were reported. Students were enthusiastic in doing a series of assignments leading to the completion of a toy robot that follows a black line on the ground. In addition to enjoying the learning process by making tangible products, the students were excited to be able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they learned with the robots they made.

Research limitations/implications

The research results were based mainly on the instructor’s observations during the lectures and labs.

Practical implications

Lessons from this study can inspire other instructors to turn traditional engineering courses into maker courses to attract students who enjoy making. Industry should welcome engineering graduates to join the companies with more hands-on experiences they have gained from maker courses.

Social implications

Although the maker movement has attracted much attention in K12 education, there is little research that studies how this maker spirit can be incorporated in traditional engineering courses that focus mainly on theories or software.


Including electronics and mechanical components in programming assignments would bring surprising effects on students’ motivation in learning.



Wong, W. (2018), "Lessons from adopting a maker approach to teaching operating systems with Raspberry Pi", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 119-131. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-12-2017-0064

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