The Raspberry Pi, a small computer that will help children to learn programming and coding, has gone on sale today in the UK and projects an official education launch later in the year.
At only £22 ($35), the Raspberry Pi will allow teachers to instruct students how computers work and the basics of programming and coding “with their own credit card sized, single-board computers,” according to British Education Secretary Michael Gove. “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 there are a wide range of skills required in IT, and forming a single, one-size-fits-all curriculum would prove problematic (if not, impossible), modifying existing educational curriculums to give more focus on marketable and highly in-demand skills will benefit all involved since students will be introduced to technical skills at a younger age. They would have a “one up” in their future training or studies should they decide to pursue any technical or related field professionally.
Imagine the implications a relatively affordable program like this could have on countries in the midst or on the verge of revising their education curriculums. Again, no panacea here, especially in regions where educational reform and progress in general are hindered by weak institutions, economic hardship, and political conflict. But, a(nother) viable option nonetheless, for it is in these very places, such as Africa, for example, where a home-grown technology force could provide the greatest long-term, social and economic benefits for all.
Image courtesy of http://www.computing.co.uk