Saturday, October 27, 2012

CASScot12 - Pi-oneering: Raspberry Pi in Education

{Live capture of session from CASScot12}

Duncan Smeed - Strathclyde University

Idea behind Raspberry Pi is to help engage pupils with Computational Thinking and the study of Computer Science. EIS survey suggested more resources and training was needed to implement the changes in the school curriculum.

Duncan thinks the Raspberry Pi will be the "text book". Special SD card images will be created with everything the students' need to do the course already installed and accessible on the Raspberry Pi.

Lots of support and a great community already active on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's forums. It has been a hugely popular device. It can be used as a media centre, the are programming competitions, Raspberry Pi Jams (where learners get to gather and develop stuff).

There are problems. It is still a work in progress: for example there is not yet a definitive SD Card image. Resources for teachers are still in development. But there is a huge amount of development work going on. So user guides being produced, CPD planned, ...

Raspberry Pi devices are now available to be ordered in bulk and so might now be feasible to start building courses around them.

One nice aspect of the Raspberry Pi is it's open source. Other development environments (Kodu, App Inventor, ...) tie you to one technology. {Not convinced by that argument... but nice that in concept.- DM}

Christmas Lecture at Strathclyde this year is on the Raspberry Pi and embedded systems. Will show computers interacting in the real world, not just moving pixels about - Computer Engineering as well as Computing Science.

Question was asked: Arduino or Raspberry Pi? Suggested they were two different beasts. Arduino is low powered (can be used with battery on Independant device) and better at real time. Raspberry Pi much more flexible and powerful. Arduino might be easier to start with.

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