A Raspberry pi, in all its glory. Photo from Zdnet. http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/emerging-tech/2012/01/11/raspberry-pi-enters-production-but-not-in-uk-40094792/
How are you going to get your child interested in that technically advanced but very useful skill, coding? Well, the answer might well lie in buying them – or at least letting them save their pocket money for – a Raspberry pi. There are other devices on the market – the Beagleboard and the brilliantly named MiniEMBWiFI. But the Raspberry pi’s where it’s at. It’s the size of a credit card, and you have to buy your own monitor and keyboard – but it lets you perform simple codes that make games and other programs. Interest in the fruitily named machine has been so high that its website crashed. It’s good news for computing skills in Britain, and promises to turn the next generation into a geekitude of Bill Gateses. Calloo, callay, chortles Periscope in its joy.
It’s good news for Education Secretary Michael Gove, who suggests that it could be important in making computer skills better taught in classrooms, according to the BBC. “This is a great example of the cutting edge of education technology happening right here in the UK,” he exulted.
What is it? It’s a tiny, cheap computer, sold without a keyboard or a monitor. Don’t try to eat it. Periscope promises you that this will only come to a bad, circuit-boardy end and will bring embarrassment upon you like a ton of motherboards.
How much will it cost? A mere £22. “That’s eight weeks’ pocket money for me”, said Peter Boughton, a 12 year old from Cambridgeshire, quoted on the BBC, although the site did not indicate his mood. For £22 you can also buy just over 14 copies of The Beano, which may be just as good an investment in your education.
What does it mean? “The real task, however, is not about getting the Raspberry pi out to that impatient crowd of enthusiasts. What matters is the kind of reception the device gets when it arrives in schools,” said Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s Technology Correspondent.
Somebody’s excited. John Spencer on his Edublog on Computerworld UK said he’ll be rapping with his mates about “selling our Ping game. It’ll be like Pong but the ball will be sexier.” Think about the excitement! Programming languages…. “The new, the exciting and glamorous technology promises power and possibility to the young tyro.” Julian Joyce on the BBC saw the computer being roadtested in a Cambridge school – and the atmosphere was, apparently, “feverish.”
If you can get one. Though “the fabled day has come”, Sam Gibbs on Gizmodo said you’ll be lucky to find one though – “everyone and their Mums’ [sic] are trying to grab one right now.” You can get them throw two British online retailers (RS and Farnell), but they’re both being “hammered pretty heavily.” He couldn’t wait, however, to get his hands on one.