Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 28th Aug 2011 21:19 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems We all know platforms like the Beagleboard, which are cheap hardware platforms which can be used in all sorts of projects. A new entry into this market is Raspberry Pi, a British ARM board which is slated to be released in the fourth quarter of this year. For a mere $25, you'll have a fully-configured ARM-based 1080p-capable mini-motherboard. The device is still in development, and only a few days ago, the alpha version of the board was demonstrated running Quake III.
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I like the idea and starting to quite fancy one myself. One of the main aims of the hardware is to boost UK schools IT classes to tech more coding and computing theory than just Excel and Word skills, or at least that's how the press is talking about it ( I'm just not sure that this shift required a new piece of hardware to achieve this.

Surely there must be a glut of redundant ~2GHz P4's kicking around schools and offices that would be perfect boxes to 'tinker' with at probably no cost at all. All they then need is a nice Linux installation and you have all the compilers, boot-loaders and development apps you could wish for to teach coding. I have a fear that they got a bit hung-up on the example of the BBC Micro as a model of doing IT right but I think that hardware is not the issue for schools - it's the training, support and ambition of the teachers that could be improved.

Although I started coding in BASIC on my Spectrum and BBC, it was getting games to work in DOS on my 486 and coding C and eventually Java that really got me going - you can do all this now.

Heck, who needs hardware at all, just give the kids a Virtual Machine to break as they see fit in lessons.

But what I think could make this work in schools is if it gets Gov't support as you then have a standardised bit of kit that schools can get, which along with training materials, software and peripherals could give a great, standard platform to focus efforts on to make the biggest impact on national IT eduction. That is very much like the BBC Micro effort in the '80s. It wasn't just the hardware, the reason it's called the BBC is because of the BBC program that schools could use with the kit.

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