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Will the arrival of Raspberry Pi (finally) revolutionise ICT teaching AND budgets?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by leedsj, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. This week finally sees the arrival of the first Raspberry Pi PCs in what has been touted as a return to a focus on programming in ICT not seen since the demise of the Acorn BBC. The BBC themselves are saying that schoolchildren in Leeds should be receiving their sub-£25 PCs this Friday with some impromptu tutoring by founder Eben Upton.

    My question here though is - does this little device (combined with Scratch, Python and other up-and-coming web tools) really mark the beginning of a new creative dawn in ICT teaching?

    With it's price point so low (starting at £16, since they are a charitable foundation) yet an impressive spec (it's fast, has full web-access and full HD video!) does it also have the potential to drastically reduce pressures on ICT budgets?

    Does anyone here intend to buy/try them out in school?
  2. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    Yes. We have been given the budget to buy a class set once the educational version is released later this year. Will probably use them initially for after school clubs and see how it goes from there.
  3. Much how BBC B's were used in my school days! Wonder how many schools will do this, and whether they will stay there - or creep into the mainstream computer labs, and even offices...
  4. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Does your budget extend to monitor, keyboard, mouse, power pack, secure casing, memory card, storage media and cables for your class set? If so, I'm impressed.
  5. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    No, just the RasPi's themselves! We already have all of the other hardware. We will not be buying them until later in the year after the 'Educational Release' which comes with a protective case at no extra cost (according to the Foundation).
  6. dogpile

    dogpile New commenter

    Why do I need one when I can run a whole range of program apps on any pc? Can't see the point.
  7. dogpile has it spot on, we have plenty of computers that pupils can program on, develop with, experiment with and don't need circuit boards that are trendy in geek circles to help with this! Still, cool little thing.
  8. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    I think 'trendy in geek circles' sums it up.
    I think it will also be used for cheap media players/tv based browsers etc.
    The problem is the lack of killer software. Using Linux gives it instant software, but it's the same software as on any Linux box.
    It's development system is Python ; I like Python, but dishing out a basic box which runs Fedora/Python is not going to create a new load of coders.

  9. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    Will I be able to run my BBC Buggy with it ?
    More seriously I do find it very interesting that the people at my own place that are really enthusiastic about the RPIs ar those who know f'all about programming and all have some rose tinted view of 'programming' BBC micros as teeenagers in the 1980s.
    * typing code in from magazine listings.
    As a 'toy' for the computer club - fine.
    As the saviour of the programming industr' in the UK - well let's just say I have still to be convinced
  10. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    You give the students admin rights over the PCs in school do you?
    One of the main points is, IMHO, empowering the students - they can easily work on, wreck, and re-install with full root access. THEY choose the software they want, install it, update it etc.
    Whilst I agree it will probably be easier with the school PCs you are missing a few tricks which could be:
    <ol>[*]fun[*]educationally useful</ol>

  11. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    It's the latter that concerns me. I don't doubt they will be fun and one will be added to the pile of boards on my desk :)
    It reminds me of Airfix, currently undergoing a resurgence. It's not kids that are buying them though, it's adults who bought them when they were kids.
    What it needs (IMO) if it is going to have any chance of doing what it's manufacturers want is software like SEUCK and Freescape and the like, modernised of course, and an interpreted immediate language which is games orientated. Even then I don't think it will work.

  12. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    @autismuk - as usual you're raising some very valid concerns; which I share to an extent. I love the airfix analogy.
    I'm looking at scratch, greenfoot, PHP and MySQL to be working on them; hope mine arrives tonight ;-)

  13. Spot on, as well as dabbling with Linux.
    Bit of Java aswell if it allows.
  14. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    Can't see why not ; no reason you couldn't compile the openjava for ARM, probably done already anyway.
  15. gedlad

    gedlad New commenter

    I'll be looking for what it will do for me that I can't do already, considering the endless supply of old PCs. At the price of a few pints its got to be worth a look, but at present it sounds too much like the Golf advert - "... and you can do ..." just like a PC.- enjoy.
  16. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    What a load of ******, you could get any old piece of junk to run Java/scratch/ etc/ etc. The pricey thing is the monitor. Just a gimic for geeks, IT needs to be de-geeked
  17. It's all getting a bit silly and "jumpers for goalposts" but if it raises the profile of Computing we just need to be along for the ride. I don't really want or need them in my classroom for my Computing students. Will probably "LOL" (remember when we owned that acronym back in the 80s?) when the Head says, "We need Raspberry Pis so we can do this computing thing. Y'see we should be teaching kids to code, not just be users of Powerpoint."

    As Autismuk says, it's probably all of us that will buy them, so we can attach wheels and rubber band guns to them (or is that just me?) and dress them up in cute mini papercraft BBC micro cases.
  18. It's a perfect storm;

    1. Build up an image in the public's mind that ICT is ****, taught by *** and bores the kids to death.

    2. Get the *** from CAS to slag it off as well.

    3. Make sure CAS et al advocate a syllabus that is utterly esoteric as far as the man in the street is concerned

    4. Encourage production of Raspberry Pi's.

    5. Say real kids don't need computers 'cos the Pi does it all.

    6. Completely abolish ICT - it's **** anyway, right? Sack the teachers.

    7. Remove PCs from school, replacing them with IPads for research - they're the future, right?

    8. Declare Pi's a disaster, they are no good for anything anyway and we can't afford to provide monitors, keyboards etc to make them useful. Sack the Computing teachers - both of them.

    Job's a nice one.
  19. Or just go into a TV?
  20. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    Crikey, where do you live? Norway?

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