13 Mar, 2013

Anyone for Raspberry Pi?

For those of you licking your lips, sorry, not raspberry pie but Raspberry Pi. However, those of you in the know are probably salivating all the same.

Raspberry Pi is a barebones, low cost, uncased computer about the size of a credit card, that is aiming to set children's imaginations alight, and hopefully foster the next generation of programming whiz kids.

It uses open source operating systems such as Raspbian(Debian) or Linux to teach prospective programmers how to do exactly that, program on a computer, without breaking Mom or Dad's vastly more expensive PC or Mac.

Designed to be used and abused, its small cost, $25 or $35 depending on model, makes it ideal to give to children to use or push to the limit of destruction, to power their robots, or to plan world domination.

Launched early 2012 the demand for this tiny computer has been impressive and it's become one of those must have gadgets, hitting over one million sales in the first 12 months. In the computing world physical big is not beautiful or necessary, and Raspberry Pi reinforces this by needing only a few add-ons and peripherals to do anything that used to require the services of a bloated desktop PC.

Aimed at getting school kids excited by programming, it's hoped that IT in schools will take on a whole new lease of life due to Raspberry Pi and learning one of the programming languages it uses, for example Python or Scratch.

But don't sit back and wait for your school to start using these mighty machines, there's no reason why you can't go it alone. Changes to school curricula move slowly, and with the current emphasis on learning about software use, rather than software development, it may take some time for schools to widely catch on. Plus teachers need to be competent/confident enough to make sure that pupils get the best bang for their buck, and not give up in frustration at the first stumbling block.

The Raspberry Pi is available for purchase by anyone, young or old, the only limitation is the users imagination.

Check out their website: http://www.raspberrypi.org/

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