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News Google funds 15,000 Raspberry Pis for UK schools

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Gareth Halfacree, 30 Jan 2013.

  1. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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  2. forum_user

    forum_user forum_title

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    Great generosity from Google. It is nice to see them use some of their large pot of money to help our kids learn.
     
  3. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag New Member

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    Agreed. This becomes 1 more point why I feel google isn't an evil corporation. I do think it's a shame that things like the Pi not being a "proven educational tool" could be a factor in it not being used. What if most schools deny these Pis? What makes them think Google will do something nice like this for them again? Nothing against the UK but I think the Pis would've been better shipped elsewhere in countries where the average student's parents couldn't even afford a Pi. Countries that sincerely care about becoming modern and industrialized but just can't afford to.
     
  4. Anfield

    Anfield Well-Known Member

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    I suspect money isn't really the problem, but rather that teachers have grown up with Windows, so if they had to teach using a pi they would have to invest hundreds of hours of their own time first to learn the completely unfamiliar platform in order to not look like a complete idiot as soon as a student asks a simple question, in other words, teachers would be required to work for free and no one does that voluntarily.
     
  5. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag New Member

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    Right that's true there's no denying that, which is another reason why I think the Pis might as well be sent to low-wealth schools. Low-wealth teachers probably won't know Windows that well either, so they have a learning curve regardless of what is donated to them. Also, Pi's hardware limitations wouldn't mean much to someone who has never owned a modern x86 machine; it's hard to complain about something when you don't know there's something better.
     
  6. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    There are projects afoot to do exactly this, but there are a number of stumbling blocks. Chief among these is that a Raspberry Pi by itself isn't much good: you'll need a keyboard, a mouse, a power supply with micro-SD cable, an SD card, a computer to transfer the operating system to said SD card if it doesn't come pre-loaded, and a display - which, to be fair, can be an old TV connected via composite, if you don't mind squinting.

    That's assuming you don't want to fiddle around with the GPIO capabilities, which are the most interesting aspect of the Pi. If you do, you can add in the need for a breadboard, cables, components, a bi-directional level shifter, sensors. Oh, and if you don't have an internet connection, then enjoy only using the pre-installed software and applications that come by default with Raspbian.

    The Raspberry Pi is a very affordable computer, but it's no OLPC: you need a whole bunch of extras before you can actually make use of it. That's the issue with just sending a bunch of boards to a developing nation: you'll also need to send a whole bunch of other stuff, too.
     
  7. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag New Member

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    Yea, I have thought of that myself. However, SD cards, keyboards, and mice aren't expensive. I feel like if someone were to donate Pis, they're likely going to donate all of those with an image pre-loaded on the SD cards. But remember, what you and I find useful out of Pi isn't really necessities for educational purposes of people who don't know something bettere exists. What you can do with the Pi today is, IMO, sufficient.

    I do feel that the MK802II is probably a better choice for schools though, just because it costs the same while having an enclosure, built-in storage, and better performance. The only problem is figuring out how to replace Android with something educational (or maybe just installing educational apps for android).
     
  8. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg New Member

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    The other issue is the one the OLPC project came across.

    The "Low Wealth" countries didn't want Linux on their machines as they felt that they would be at a "disadvantage" to the west who learned on Windows. Now insert your favourite MS related conspiracy theory here but the OLPC ended up become much more expensive to accommodate a cut down XP.
     

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