Google has announced it will be donating 15,000 of the credit-card-sized computers to schools in the UK, hoping to spawn a new generation of hardware and software engineers.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation, Google and six UK educational partners are now working to find the kids who will benefit most from having their own Raspberry Pi.
The donation was part of Google Giving, which awards funding, technology and man-hours to causes across the world.
For the past two years many schools have been using the free web-based learn-to-program resource called YOUSRC (“You source”) to introduce programming to schools.
Some have been using it at Year 9 to introduce a whole year group to programming – such as Bay House School in Hampshire, where 350 students did a Caesar Cipher challenge using YOUSRC in the summer term. Others, like Tonbridge Grammar School in Kent, where 23 girls achieved 9 A*s, 10 As, 2Bs and 2Cs, have used it for programming and controlled assessments for OCR GCSE Computing.
From the beginning, the core idea behind YOUSRC was to provide an easy-to-learn programming language which would support wide use at Year 9, whilst having the sophistication to support GCSE Computing. YOUSRC's student-developed apps have always been able run on Android mobile phones, with development, debugging and testing of the apps done through a PC web browser. Now, these apps can also be run unchanged on the new credit-card sized computer, the Raspberry Pi.
Much has been said about the Raspberry Pi and its usefulness as a tool for learning. The long waiting lists and competitive price of the Pi have created widespread euphoria. However, as all the excitement dies down, and people begin to receive their Pi, many critics have appeared asking how useful is the Pi?
Many critics and blog posts are comparing it to the iPad, which is futile as they are polar opposites. The Pi was developed as a tool to invoke learning, not as a wow piece of technology. The Pi is for content creation as opposed to content consumption. It is not the physical Pi that is the exciting technology - you don’t purchase it because of its processor speed, graphics ability or even its size - its fundamental strength is as a vehicle to develop students' computing competence and understanding.
Photo credit: Roo Reynolds
The purpose of this post is to explore some of the technology that myself and some of my colleagues are hoping to implement in our school over the next year. We have set up an ICT working group with two aims. The first is to explore cost effective ways of using technology to create engaging and creative uses of ICT. The second is to explore new technology and see what potential it may have for SEN learners.
The discussion started with an introduction to some of the ideas we have come across in the last couple of months.