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How do you do....it? Thread, Why use Raspberry Pi? in Technical; I see that Google are teaming up with Raspberry to ship out thousands of Pis to schools for free: 15,000 ...
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    Why use Raspberry Pi?

    I see that Google are teaming up with Raspberry to ship out thousands of Pis to schools for free: 15,000 Raspberry Pis for UK schools – thanks Google! | Raspberry Pi

    But why? Why should a school want/need/use them? Yes it's cool (in a nerdy way) to have a computer in the palm of your hand and see it in the bare bones but realisticly what does it offer me? Everyone is touting it as THE way to get kids into programming and banging on about how little Timmy got a Pi for christmas and wrote his own web server by the new year but seriously... Isn't it just a stripped down debian install?

    And if so can't I just install an ubuntu VM on classroom machines and install Pytho plus the IDE and then kids can use that? AFAIK the Pi comes with python and the IDE and all of these wonderful little programs are just Python programs, in which case there's nothing new here. Python is ages old and the Pi just sticks it in a small restrictive box that has to be taken out at the start of a lesson, plugged into power, peripherals, memory, screen etc.. before it can be even used so why would I go through all of that?

    There is a chance that I will be taking on a more classroom/teaching role at some point and I am a firm believer that kids these days do not get an education in ICT they get an education in how to use the buttons in MS office and that's it so ANY way of getting more computer science into their heads is something I would love to push to the school but why would I suggest Pi's?

    Anyone use them/have answers?

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    teejay's Avatar
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    I think the plan is to give these to kids in a computer club, so they can take them home to experiment with. Using these in lessons and not letting them take them home is a bit pointless, as you say you might as well stick a Linux vm on the school desktops.
    Also, with the gpio on the pi, you can use it cross curricular so they can experiment with using it to control other devices or monitor things, what about a weather monitoring station for geography, or controlling a robot in technology etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    I think the plan is to give these to kids in a computer club, so they can take them home to experiment with. Using these in lessons and not letting them take them home is a bit pointless, as you say you might as well stick a Linux vm on the school desktops.
    Also, with the gpio on the pi, you can use it cross curricular so they can experiment with using it to control other devices or monitor things, what about a weather monitoring station for geography, or controlling a robot in technology etc.
    Taking them home is an interesting idea, it does save the hassle of trying to get the kids to install Python and what not at home and gives them a stable and repeatable environment to code in. The idea of cross curricular involvement is good but in reality at least in this school that never happens which is a real shame really.

    Personally I would rather they learned something on the Arduino, no need for a screen/keyboard etc... ust put a battery into it or connect it via USB for power and it will run the scripts, the only problem with the arduino is the fact that you need to either make your own breadboards or fiddle about with wires.

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    We got a few here, problem I have is locating them and the amount of wires necessary to use them in an already congested IT suite.(I have usb switches, power adapters, hdmi to dvi cables to share the existing keyboard / monitor)
    My idea was that the kids could have their own SDcard with their own work on it, the Pi's would be on a separate network etc, but I'm no teacher, problem is the first thing the kids commented on was how slow they were - so back to the drawing board!

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    I have been wrestling with the same dilemma for a while. Schools have all the resources available to teach programming and many of us throw away perfectly good computers because they are 'too old' to keep uptodate with the latest windows release and a virtual machine is simple enough to do.

    I've come to the conclusion that there are two main factors to why PI would be good in schools. One is to give students something to take home. More importantly it is something that takes technical control away from the ICT department and puts it into teachers and students hands. It perfectly follows the Ofsted recommendations that students shouldn't be taught with 'locked down' systems, and it is a really simple way of giving full root access to a computer without the ICT manager saying no. It allows schools to slowly move away from the historic MS domain mentality and hand some of the responsibility back to the students.

  6. Thanks to CyberNerd from:

    winng (31st January 2013)

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    Totally agree, I hate locked down systems, it just causes problems in the long run, should be down to the teachers to improve discipline and awareness instead of us enforcing unnecessary rules.

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  9. 2 Thanks to JJonas:

    jinnantonnixx (1st February 2013), speckytecky (1st February 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by caffrey View Post
    Totally agree, I hate locked down systems, it just causes problems in the long run, should be down to the teachers to improve discipline and awareness instead of us enforcing unnecessary rules.
    WOW, didnt think a Tech would have this opinion.. sure we have different opinions on how far to 'lock down' but nothing at all, that just blows my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by caffrey View Post
    We got a few here, problem I have is locating them and the amount of wires necessary to use them in an already congested IT suite.(I have usb switches, power adapters, hdmi to dvi cables to share the existing keyboard / monitor)
    My idea was that the kids could have their own SDcard with their own work on it, the Pi's would be on a separate network etc, but I'm no teacher, problem is the first thing the kids commented on was how slow they were - so back to the drawing board!
    The problem we have here is that lessons are an hour long and we have no double periods so given that it would take the kids 5-10 minutes at the start and the same again at the end to connect/disconnect everything it wastes nearly a third of the lesson time and just isn't worth it.

    It's a good point that the Pis can be left "unlocked" and place responsibility on the kids and I really like that idea... Speaking to the head of IT he is saying that there is a fair chance Python will be included in the GCSE in a couple of years in which case I love the idea of having either VMs or linux terminals that are "unlocked" if the kids stuff up their user account I will delete it and they start from scratch. Being Linux there is very very little chance of them ever gaining root access or accessing any files other than their own HOME directory so I would feel comfortable leaving them relatively policy free but with Windoze you can't afford that chance, even with pure staff only machines the user accounts need to locked down to prevent accidental damage like viruses and the like. With a properly locked down computer most user introduced viruses are limited to the local user folder and their home folder(s) but if you were to allow greater freedom you risk the chance of an accidental virus infecting the C drive or other local user folders and hence spreading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I've come to the conclusion that there are two main factors to why PI would be good in schools. One is to give students something to take home.
    Trusting students to bring the things back and not flog them on eBay would tough imho.
    Maybe ICT should just offer it as an 'after hours' extra for interested students?

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