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First Raspberry Pi IT lesson

First Raspberry Pi IT lesson

Swallow Hill Community College in Leeds held a Raspberry Pi master class yesterday, after Farnell element 14 donated the device as part of an initiative to inspire children to consider careers in science and technology.

Pupils aged between 11 and 12 worked in groups under the instruction of element 14's technical manager Mike Powell, to create web pages using the credit card sized computer as a mini web server. The exercise was aimed at demonstrating the availability and use of open source applications.

Speaking at the class, Powell commented: "The Raspberry Pi is the ideal teaching aid to inspire a new generation of engineers and computer experts. The added value of the element 14 community also means that rather than simply providing the equipment we can provide an invaluable online resource for anyone to discuss, share and develop ideas involving the Raspberry Pi."

This initiative forms part of a wider project, with distributor Premier Farnell and its community store element 14 partnering with social enterprise Leeds Ahead in a programme called 'Make the Grade'. It also follows Google's recent announcement that it will be funding Raspberry Pi computers in schools.

"We hope that days like this and the continued use of the Raspberry Pi at Swallow Hill will really inspire the pupils to consider careers in the field and give them a competitive advantage in a world were computer skills are more essential than ever," said Bryan Pearce, assistant principal of Swallow Hill.

Simon Fogg

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I may be stating the obvious but there is no need to buy a Raspberry Pi to experience the Raspberry Pi programming experience. If you want to teach children to program in Python under Linux then all you need to do is to install Linux on some old PC that you have hanging around. If you dual boot from Linux then you can also continue to run Windows on that PC. The programs will also run around 10 times as fast as they would on a Raspberry Pi. What the Raspberry Pi is very good for is to allow children to write programs which interface with electronic hardware such as motors and lights. For anything else you probably have all the hardware needed to teach children to program already.

Posted by: Paul Mayoh, 06/06/2012

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