It sounds delicious especially warmed up and served with custard but you just might break this particular Raspberry Pi if you were to do such a thing. As of September 2014 there will be a new lesson on the school menu targeting the study of computing, in particular coding, for Primary and Secondary schools.
So what is this fruity circuit board known as a Raspberry Pi all about?
For starters, the British designed creation retails at around £30 and for the people behind the device their mission was to transform the way children understand and use computers. Since it made an appearance it has been an important part of an ongoing debate that has finally resulted in a new look ICT curriculum for children aged 5 and upwards.
It doesn’t look very appetising…
True, the Raspberry Pi’s bare board appears very daunting especially to people whose experience with computers stretch as far as typing up a lesson plan on Microsoft Word. These are the issues facing the introduction of this topic in September; will enough people have the correct type of skills, knowledge of its capabilities and the enthusiasm to deliver fun and interesting lessons? If we look at the numbers involved that’s 16,000 ICT teachers in Secondary schools and over 160,000 Primary School teachers facing a race against time to be prepared for the start of the next academic year. Obviously there is a need for staff development.
On the other hand, it seems as though it has already arrived in a selection of schools as videos of what’s possible have started to appear online. Running devices and musical vegetables to name a few (see the video below). Understandably the people behind these videos have highlighted the difficulty of coding at first, after all some people consider coding another language, but that is soon outweighed by the fun of combining hardware or with lines of code and bringing something to life.
Carrie-Ann Philbin who is part of the Raspberry-Pi team and enjoys inventing creative ways of using technology in the classroom recently commented on the fear that more-experienced teachers might have:
“It sounds like a steep learning curve but those words like algorithm and data, when you actually dig deeper you see they’re not scary.”
Preparing for the “Language of the Future” seems to be very much on the agenda as children acquire the skills for jobs that might yet not exist. Perhaps we need to take into consideration the whole Pi and not this small slice aimed at wetting the appetites of our young learners. Working alongside our partner schools we aim to develop workshops for all ages that explore the potential of the Raspberry Pi in the classroom.
Video courtesy of Scott Garner and you can find more information on the BeetBox by visiting this link.