Raspberry Pi computers to boost IT education

By Sooraj Shah
29 Feb 2012 View Comments

A small computer that will help children to learn programming and coding has gone on sale today.

The six-year project to make the computer, dubbed the Raspberry Pi, was taken on by volunteers from the UK technology industry.

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A message on the Raspberry Pi website says the first computer is aimed at software and hardware enthusiasts and teachers, adding that the device will get its official educational launch later in 2012.

"This means that when we launch into the educational market, there will be an experienced community of people using and making things with the Raspberry Pi. Software will be more mature and free of obvious bugs, and easier for children and educators to use," the website says.

The £22 ($35) Raspberry Pi Model B being released today is an update to Model A. Model B includes an Ethernet port and two USB ports. Model A is a cheaper £16 ($25) device that will be released later in the year.

The Raspberry Pi was mentioned in Michael Gove's speech at the BETT conference in January, when he also announced plans to overhaul the ICT curriculum.

In the speech, Gove said that teachers will be able to focus on teaching students how computers work and studying the basics of programming and coding.

"Initiatives like the Raspberry Pi scheme will give children the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of programming with their own credit card sized, single-board computers.

"With minimal memory and no disk drives, the Raspberry Pi computer can operate basic programming languages, handle tasks like spreadsheets, word-processing and games, and connect to Wi-Fi via a dongle," he said.

Although the organisation behind the initiative is still waiting for units to arrive from China, it says that people may purchase the computer today via either of its manufacturing partners, Premier Farnell or RS Components.

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