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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:17 pm

Could this tool be used to boost computer science knowledge around the world, or are people just content being users (drivers) of computers.

Either way this device seems to do both, it offers a cheap computer to use, while also giving them the chance to learn more about the inner workings of a computer.

It can only be a positive thing, right?

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:42 am

I think there is a huge opportunity here for teaching. But it depends on the demographic that we're talking about.

For adults, there is already a wealth of places to learn about computer science out there for those with the the means. Seriously, tonnes. Huge amounts of free languages, code, books, tutorials etc. Heck, there are free university courses online from Stanford and MIT on iTunes (see http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm).

For kids, its a totally different problem. Many don't have a computer and can't afford one. The Raspberry Pi will change everything in that regard. Its a school supply, a gift, or something they could buy with an allowance.

The next big problem isn't about the accessibly of information, it's a problem of approachability. It's a hard topic to get into because, typically, there is so much you need to know up front before you can do anything. You need to learn about files, folders, installing a language/compiler/ide, editing source, building, reading compiler messages, executing, setting up a project (or using a command line), etc. That's the easy stuff and its already a complex process for a kid.

It wasn't always like that. I started programming in Basic when I was 5 on a Commodore Vic-20. I remember making programs that drew ascii pictures and debugging problems when it didn't look right. It wasn't because I was some kind of prodigy; It was because it was simple to use. If a kid can read, then they can program. It's as simple as that. Logo was another good example of this.

But since then, the development process has only gotten more complex even for the "easy" systems. Also, the first things that kids want to do isn't the easy stuff, the first question is how do I draw something on the screen, move it around, and play sounds. You need an environment where they can get to those things in their very first sitting before they lose interest. If I wanted to teach a kid to program today, I'm not sure the options have gotten any better in the last 30 years.

My goal is to change that. I think that the "love" engine based using lua is a great place to start and I'd like to get it ported to the Pi. It's already in the low-teen-friendly area but I'd like to polish it a bit more and make it into something that could be tackled by an 7-8 year old.

I'd love to see a programming environment targeted at kids in the out-of-the-box distribution.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:15 am

It would be simple to have a SD card with a Linux version that booted straight into a striped down UI with a BASIC or PYTHON interpreter available.

Another thing that would help is a series of simple expansion cards, that would give general I/O capabilities. Like turn on LEDs, Relays, take temperature readings etc. with some extended BASIC instructions or PYTHON module to access these.

I think a I2C or SPI interface would be good for the communication to the expansion boards. It would be simple and cheap to manufacture these.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Fri Jul 29, 2011 6:56 pm

In my opinion it would be an interesting you offered some buying options like:
- SD with Android
- SD with Ubuntu (it has lots of documentation, a large community, 5Gb cloud storage) with a lightweight WM, some games, some game programming examples, documentation and a lightweigh IDE. The nicest of this option could be you ship a videogames SDK toolkit like SDL.
- SD with Ubuntu with a web browser, an email client, and office applications.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:07 pm

It would also be nice if you could download a basic image on-line (possibly via torrents). That way you would have the option of quickly changing the OS on the SD card or restoring things to a factory default setting without having to waste space on the SD card for a "Restore Partition"
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:23 pm

Or perhaps just have 2 SD cards? Or however many SD cards you need for all your different OS's. Just keep one unchanged so you can always revert to as new condition.

There's no flash on board, so all the required OS data is on the SD card.
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:20 am

Regarding the original post, I'm willing to bet that most the people commenting on this forum have been in the position of providing tech support either as part of their job or to family and friends at some point in our lives. Even if all this does is provide an environment for children to get a little larger grasp of computers (I.E. the basic way it works, how networks hook up, anything to get them beyond "this is how you check e-mail and facebook) would be a major improvement.

Additionally, for each device that can make its way into the hands of a child in a developing country improves the likelihood of that child getting a better life in their own country or in a "developed" country
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:10 pm

By offering very little, but enough, the R-Pi does lower the buy into to computers if you use a TV but you still need keyboard/mouse and network access.

There are Android tablets for under $50 which include touch screen, WLan, camera and a wide arrange of applications. These make the unboxed $35 R-Pi - needing monitor, keyboard/mouse and WLan added - expensive.

The tablet is virtually sealed so repackaging it into a different form wouldn't work, e.g. for controlling robots, connecting to sensors etc. But the aim of the R-Pi is to improve the uptake of computing and I don't see that the route to that is any better via the R-Pi than these cheap Android Tablets - it all down to software and support/materials for training using a given platform.

In developing countries power and available screens and keyboards makes supplying a $50 tablet a more interesting alternative.

I see schools setting work from the network needing pupils to have access to a computer even if that is via the computer suite outside of school hours yet most classroom aren't fitted out for computer access. A $25 computer isn't the end of the cost. It needs network access, keyboard and screen. Wlan might seem a way forward but schools don't seem to like it as some kind of security risk. Even packaged into some protective case that every student carries it still lacks screen and keyboard. A $50 tablet scores better.

What like is that the R-Pi give the option of working in the best environment - 1080p screens with a wide range of development tools. It can be built to control and program sensors and motors and built into the device where as a sealed Android tablet wouldn't be suitable. It can make a good and cheaper web browser, media player for TVs that don't have a smart interface although I don't see how I could get 5+1 audio out of it for home theatre, not without replacing my 5 channel power amplifier - cheaper to get a standard fanless pc for under £200. It's low cost and low power means I would use it on the back of my monitor and TV just to leave on to pick up e-mail and browse the internet so I don't have to wait for the desktop to boot up or have to bother with batteries for a tablet. But these uses are not what the designers claim they were aiming at - encouraging programming in students.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:19 pm

Schools have long been able to install Linux and open source software to reduce the cost and support of the computers and networks. Instead they have PCs with 17" screens, Microsoft Windows, Office, Adobe Photoshop and Flash and the token Macbook in the art department.

ICT is word processor and spreadsheets, not even VBA. Powerpoint is used and across subjects but even when appropriate to use the subject needing it is in a classroom with out computer access. So schools who are "giving" a computer to each pupil is handling out pocket PCs, netbooks or tablets. I presume they are using Wlan as the cost of Ethernet 30 to every classroom is too high. I don't know how they cope with half the pupils not having their device with enough battery life to get to the end of the lesson!

A netbook or tablet is less than the cost of the replacement of books that would be allocated to every pupil.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:43 pm

You mean the Akash, the Indian tablet, don't you, when you talk about a sub-$50 tablet? We really hope that it works and will take off (one of the reasons we're doing this is to move the pricing paradigm for productivity machines to somewhere where everyone can own one), but the signs so far haven't been good.
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:06 pm

Not particularly the Akash
http://www.ahappydeal.com/st1-.....page1.html
provides a list of choices at $50 and a general search turns up many more below $80 - even Amazon are offering sub-£70 tablets in the UK. Adding keyboard, mouse, screen, Wlan and webcamera to R-Pi would be a lot more. I realise they are not the same and not aimed at the same markets but in terms of providing software development tools either platform is as good as the other although I would want 1080 screens to develop on not a 800x480 low res one.

In schools I don't see then being able to use a R-Pi in every classroom even if every child was given one - no network access (blocked WLan by the building) and no available monitor and keyboard and certainly not 40 sockets except in science labs and computer suites.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:16 pm

We've said before when people have raised objections like yours that we can set schools and other bodies willing to buy in (reasonably small) bulk up directly with manufacturers so that all the necessary peripherals, power supply and cabling will come in well under $10 per Raspberry Pi, besides the television we expect most of our target customers to at least have access to, even if they don't have one at home. We will also be setting up a scheme whereby peripherals can be donated, to be given to kids who can't afford them.

The 1080p video is very helpful to us because it makes the device desirable as a media centre. We want to see kids having these in the house, perhaps in that capacity, because it means that a small proportion of them will be encouraged to hack on the device as well as use it to play video.

Wireless lan and webcams are nice to have, but they're not essential. This is primarily supposed to be a programming platform. It's great to see those tablets, but as you say, they're aimed at a very different market from ours. If you haven't watched any of the videos on the blog where Eben explains the goals and philosophy of the project, I'd recommend them; they should help explain why we believe the space that we're making this device for is sensible.
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:54 pm

Quote from subminiature on November 3, 2011, 14:06
Not particularly the Akash
http://www.ahappydeal.com/st1-.....page1.html
provides a list of choices at $50 and a general search turns up many more below $80 - even Amazon are offering sub-£70 tablets in the UK. Adding keyboard, mouse, screen, Wlan and webcamera to R-Pi would be a lot more. I realise they are not the same and not aimed at the same markets but in terms of providing software development tools either platform is as good as the other although I would want 1080 screens to develop on not a 800x480 low res one.

In schools I don't see then being able to use a R-Pi in every classroom even if every child was given one - no network access (blocked WLan by the building) and no available monitor and keyboard and certainly not 40 sockets except in science labs and computer suites.

I would think that the Android tablets you describe are not at all suitable for development. You will still want a keyboard and mouse (no, you cannot type very well on a resistive tablet), and probably a decent screen as well - 7" really isn't good enough for a code editor. Also, running Android you are limited to what you can develop - can you run a C compiler, or any other the other languages mentioned in other threads? Not easily. I'm not even sure you can develop Android apps on a Android device, and if you can it won't be easy.

They are intended for a consumer user, rather than a producer user, which is the Raspi's aim.

I see no problem with sticking in a decent router/switch in to a class room and 40 ethernet points. Not expensive. £200 gets you the switches and cables for 32 at least. Monitors is the expensive bit. You might be able to time slice displays with HDMI switches, which would save quite a bit of cash. (£14 buys a 4-1 HDMI switch). Children can have their Pi's running, and just switch between them on the monitors.
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:59 pm

I have never seen a screen that comes in for under $10 even a keyboard retail is most of that. Fitting a classroom with 40 sockets does not come in cheap and donated CRT TV are terrible for programming on even in the days of the BBC Model B and 80 character screens. They have low quality resolution and power hungry. Even expensive LCD TVs are not up to computer LCD screens. 1080p isn't then useful to most of the target users you claim with only access to a TV.

As a media player I agree but not so easy to connect 6 channels of audio from it then making other far more expensive devices in fact cheaper.

Webcamera is nice but not essential - put a lack of audio input needs something as a recording device for which I see it would be very suitable.

Stop frame animation with this and a camera and software available already. Also cheap filming that then can be used interactivity with programming control of the flow and logic in training, games and even interactive movies. My point however is that the tablet has a camera built in as well as mic and line input.

How would new software and applications be installed and backed up without a network? How would a classroom and 30 to 40 other classroom get updates, assignments - assuming every child in a school had one even if for no more than "programming"?

Schools have had the opportunity to have cheaper more universal access to computers but only a few have tried this route and now go for netbooks and tablets at the sub-$100.

Even media players have RJ45 and Wlan.

The SD card with OS and tools on it does not leave enough room to add a 2 hour HD 1080p movie on it and are painfully slow to transfer media to as I have found with 16 an 32Gb cards. Networked no problem and better performing than most of the VESA mount small pcs that might be used for the same purpose.

I see many places where the R-Pi fits in nicely but not that programming is it's killer app or that its uptake in schools makes any sense when they will not be able to support the infrastructure and are tied into the Wintel ICT.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:27 pm

Quote from jamesh on November 3, 2011, 14:54

I would think that the Android tablets you describe are not at all suitable for development. You will still want a keyboard and mouse (no, you cannot type very well on a resistive tablet), and probably a decent screen as well - 7" really isn't good enough for a code editor.


Agreed but a TV is even worse and there are netbooks running Linux for under $100 with keyboard but yes screens that are too small. However what was the resolution of the Archimedes and Macs before 21 inch screens came along? Even in Windows 3.1 days most programmers had 640x480 screens so 800x480 is better.

Quality screens and keyboards are still very much more expensive.

Also, running Android you are limited to what you can develop
But there is no reason that the same hardware can't run something different. Python is available for some other tablets e,g, the Nokia N800. It is only software ...

They are intended for a consumer user, rather than a producer user, which is the Raspi's aim.

Agreed but the Raspi is pushing into those areas where the need for battery power and included touch screen become more overwhelming.

I see no problem with sticking in a decent router/switch in to a class room and 40 ethernet points. Not expensive. £200 gets you the switches and cables for 32 at least. Monitors is the expensive bit. You might be able to time slice displays with HDMI switches, which would save quite a bit of cash. (£14 buys a 4-1 HDMI switch). Children can have their Pi's running, and just switch between them on the monitors.

Of course you then need the model B or a USB Wlan or USB Ethernet dongle. Adding 40 mains sockets would be more. Even a correctly fitted trunking for mains comes in at a heavy price per metre.
HDMI switching? I don't see a classroom of kids on a computer happy to have their view of their work switched away from them.

And HDMI cables are ridiculously expensive. The cheaper monitors are not even 1024x768 and lack HDMI inputs - add an adapter or conversion cable. This is changing but the bargain monitor often isn't one really.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:48 pm

The point about HDMI switchers is that they could allow all Raspi to be powered up, and you just use the monitor when it's your turn. A good stop gap until the school can afford enough monitors. Some schools have to share books.....

HDMI leads are £1.99 if you know where to look, still expensive for what they are, but not going to break the bank, and much cheaper when bought in bulk.

The resolution of 7" screens isn'`t the issue , its the overall size. The smallest monitors started at 12", and increased to 14" pretty quickly. That's 3-4 times the size.

Here's a decent'ish DVI monitor for a sensible price.
http://www.ebuyer.com/246954-h.....rs-hh221dp
And a HDMI one
http://www.ebuyer.com/260586-s.....2a350hs-en
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:13 pm

Quote from jamesh on November 3, 2011, 15:48
The point about HDMI switchers is that they could allow all Raspi to be powered up, and you just use the monitor when it's your turn. A good stop gap until the school can afford enough monitors. Some schools have to share books.....

But they don't share books by closing them to one "pair" of students to pass to another pair! And the cost or replacing books is why schools are seeing a Kindle type book reader as a cheaper alternative. But there is still the management of powering those devices all day and every day as well as connecting them to the school's network.

Without it's own power supply the Raspi would not be used at home connected to a TV.

HDMI leads are £1.99 if you know where to look, still expensive for what they are, but not going to break the bank, and much cheaper when bought in bulk.
The cheapest I found was £4.99 and only 1metre but like most things computer related the costs drops. Yet the shops are still selling £60 leads.

The resolution of 7" screens isn't the issue , its the overall size. The smallest monitors started at 12", and increased to 14" pretty quickly. That's 3-4 times the size.

8" and 800x480 are the cheapest. Lots cheaper when 1024x768 or wide screen at a lot below the 1920x1080. But these are hugely different than attempting to work a debugger on a TV via composite video.

Here's a decent'ish DVI monitor for a sensible price.
http://www.ebuyer.com/246954-h.....rs-hh221dp
And a HDMI one
http://www.ebuyer.com/260586-s.....2a350hs-en

But you are not fitting a classroom out on the £500 quote elsewhere.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:10 pm

I can see where people are coming from here, but I also see it the other way. I mean, even in the US, if I can settle for used components then I can outfit my Ras-Pi for under $10. Maybe a bit more for WLAN (which I don't even care for in my fancy developed country). The point is, once you open someone's eyes about the inner workings of the computer, I think the ones that "get it" will be the ones more likely to procure their own equipment if it's not provided. Sure, there's gonna be some who don't care. They're prolly gonna do little more than the required tasks. And then I'm sure some kid in Algeria will code something up that puts the hackers/makers to shame.
Also, I could be wrong, but with the GPIO couldn't someone just get two wires off a microphone and then have a mic?

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:18 pm

Or you could use a USB mic.

I know it's only one commenter, but I really don't understand the *effort* made to be so negative here. If we took that sort of attitude, we'd never have even started on this project.
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:34 pm

USB microphone! - I look at the potential for recording music as Linux tools for editing it are first rate. There are lots of cheap and high quality microphones in schools already and used with other equipment. USB microphones are too new and then would be something like these http://www.sweetwater.com/c981.....icrophones. Composite video for old TVs but no mic input just strikes me as the wrong way around.

Negativity because I have seen it all before - great ideas that ended up nowhere because no one ironed out the various issues and assumed that the way they thought it ought to be is the way everyone else would see it and of course they didn't get anywhere. There have been some really great ideas coming out of Cambridge and didn't get where they ought to have done.

You can't just produce a bit of hardware and assume that everyone see how it fits in and can be used the way it was first thought up - like thinking schools don't need network connectivity as it is only to be used for programming. I am not even sure secondary schools can be persuaded to take up computer science over ICT and would need other champions to support the cause. Don't cut off avenues because it is not what you thought of initially. The potential buyers will assume that it isn't any good except for the "stated aim" which is so far from the truth.

We had a project of a computer suite in Mozambique using Z80 computers to control cassette recorders to teach Swedish spoken English to Mozambique technicians via their second language of Portuguese. It worked but never got to the next stage or continued onto newer hardware. That was using Cambridge Z80 computers.

I have run and maintained classroom of computers and every year they talk about one computer per pupil but it is the cost of infrastructure that kills that idea, not the device or technology. The designers of the ARM and Archimedes thought schools would install and run RiscIX but never involved the target audience with the work they dreamt up and many more very interesting computer platforms never got the killer application that make then a must have to get or even if they did someone else came along and did it differently but got the sales.

The BBC recently re-ran the support for people who don't use computers (give an hour with the clocks going back). A correctly boxed Raspi would be a contender. Clip onto to a modern HDMI screen and a wireless keyboard with a pad is as small an outlay that I can think off. Smart TVs are going that way but they are still top end and very expensive.

As others have pointed out if schools/pupils wanted to get into programming they already have the access to computers to allow that to happen - they don't. So what is needed to turn that around - I don't see Python on Fedora install on an SD card running on Raspi as being the obvious solution to that. But if and if and that ... but that should have been thought out a long time ago.

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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:45 pm

Seriously. It *is* a little strange. :p

But hey, I like humoring people and it's fun to take a look at the issues. So let's look at this from the school's side. In this situation let's assume you need to outfit a school in general with computers. I'll use the example of an elementary school I worked at to provide me with the numbers, it was a school in an area that was on the low end of middle class (which is to say that had some tech budget, but not a lot of a tech budget). One thing they opted for, as many schools are is getting a computer on wheels (CoW) setup which would equal 30 laptops in a cabinet that can be wheeled from class to class and had a wireless router slapped on the side to provide limited access for the laptops. Usually though, you'd have more than one class at at a time that needs to use it so let's say you get 3 CoWs (which is what my school did). Now obviously, you're still going to want to have 1 regular computer lab (though mine had two) so let's say you put another 30 computers in there.

Now each laptop has the advantage of being a complete unit. It had a monitor, mouse, and keyboard all while having enough battery power to run for a class period without the need to plug it in at the student's desk. Still, even for an educator these things cost around $1,500 per laptop, but let's say, for the sake of argument, they were only $1000 USD. That means they had to spend 30,000 dollars just for one CoW unit

Math time. There were 6 classes per grade level and 6 grades (grades 1-6) Plus 3 Kindergarten classes.

6x6+3 = 39 classes. They spent $90,000 just to allow 1/13 of the children at the school to have the chance to use the laptop under strictly monitored conditions! $90,000 for 1 in 13 kids to be able to access technology at any given time.

A traditional desktop, on the other hand, has all the problems the r-pi faces (power cord, need for monitor, mouse, and keyboard) plus a starting cost of $1,000. Which means for each desktop they buy, they could have the exact same arrangement for 40 raspberry pi.

So more math time.

R-pi - $25 (I'm listing the model A as most classrooms didn't even plug in the router, they don't want children surfing the web, they want them using the programs)
Keyboard / mouse - $20 (I actually got them much more cheaply when I worked at the school, but I'm trying to over exaggerate the price for argument's sake, also the keyboard has a usb port)
PSU - $5
Monitor - $75 (No HDMI, but DVI)
HDMI->DVI passive cable - $5

Grand Total - $130. So for the price of one laptop I could buy 9 r-pis, for the price of on CoW I could purchase 270 R-pis and for the price of all three CoWs, I could purchase 810 r-pi, that's enough r-pis to 27 classrooms, or 69.2% of the school in my example! 1 in 13 (7.7%) children having access to a computer becomes every 3 in 5 children having access! That's an astounding 800% increase!

Now, it is, of course, less mobile. While it is certainly an option to leave the monitors behind and let the students travel to and from school with the r-pi and PSU, the setup at the school is unarguably less mobile as each station needs an outlet or at the least desks need to be arranged to facilitate power strips.

One final number here. When considering technology purchases, schools look long term. What is the cost of replacing the unit? With a laptop the cost of replacement is the entire cost of the laptop ($1000), the cost to upgrade it is again the entire cost of the laptop. Which is all to say replacement/upgrade = 100%

With the r-pi however, the cost of replacement or upgrading is only the $25 of the r-pi itself. Or mathematically. Replacement/upgrade = 19.2% (conversely the cost of replacing a desktop runs more in the 90% range). This is a very attractive concept to a budget!

I'm not saying the set up isn't without it's flaws, but I do think that the numbers, even if one or all the items fluctuated slightly higher or lower, clearly show that the r-pi is quiet the contender for providing a cs tool for the masses. Especially in the education field, which for the record, I say as one with experience dealing with the fiscal responsibilities of an IT department in education. In fact, I would say the hardest issue the r-pi will face with getting into schools is not the cost of the unit, nor the cost of peripherals, nor even the cost of getting power to the things, but rather getting on the approved vendor list! Ach, that was a pain to deal with! "Oh hey, we can use newegg and save 50%" "Nope, we'd have to fill out a form, we'll just pay full price from dell"
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:10 pm

Now each laptop has the advantage of being a complete unit. It had a monitor, mouse, and keyboard all while having enough battery power to run for a class period without the need to plug it in at the student's desk.I'm a bit unsure what you mean by "a class period" but if that's 5-7- hours I seriously doubt the battery will last this a long. At least not when 6+ months old.

In my university we had a similar setup wheeling out laptops and it was a nightmare to administer. Only to make things worse they ran XP so a high percentage (15-25% or so) were constantly unavailable due to reimaging. It was also expensive to administer as someone had to deliver and collect the laptops and reimage them on a regular basis. And then the new professor needed a new program so the image had to be scraped and all unit reimaged.

Oh, and then the PSUs disappeared/got mislaid (at that time $80-100 each) and quite a few laptops simply got stolen.

Absolute nightmare to administer and very expensive. The R-PI solution is so much simpler to administer and it is so much cheaper to setup.

subminiature
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:16 pm

Quote from abishur on November 3, 2011, 20:45
Math time.

Maths time indeed. Laptops are $300 and netbooks $100 - even in the UK . Even Dells and IBM lenovo, as used in the secondary school, are a lot lower cost that you suggest - they do buy the lowest denominator lacking RAM, GHz and storage - although that isn't really needed on the network.

And for the reasons you gave a local primary school had laptops in every classroom needing each teacher to remember to charge up the battery and even when offered 50 business computers responded (spec unseen or checked) that they were not powerful enough to run the software the school needed to run.

Ignoring the fact that they have gone Wintel because the software they want/have to use is Windows they could save a lot of money installing Linux and Open Office on the existing suite of PCs and not buy into the endless update and maintenance they are forced to do. They don't do that - well most of them don't.

Microsoft's tablet PCs where to solve all of the issues - if flopped. Maybe next time around they will do better - Windows 8 etc.

Networked Raspi would be a very sensible replacement for the use power hungry laptops and desktops are being used for as ICT and booked by other subjects. But that is not one Raspi per pupil to hang onto and use at home. We are again stopping short of taking it over to the next stage and enabling the use of the computer that they can afford to carry with them but then restricted to not being able to connect it up except in the computer lab when doing ICT and programming or booked for the class to use ...

You also hit it on the head about preferred vendor supplier list.

subminiature
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:26 pm

Quote from kme on November 3, 2011, 21:10
"a class period" but if that's 5-7- hours I seriously doubt the battery will last this a long. At least not when 6+ months old..

A period is a lesson with a class - 45 - 50 minutes and a double at 90 minutes. But setting everyone up on a 25 or 35 minute period to do any form of programing was pointless - but we were told to do it.

I Nokia N800 I got for my daughter has a battery two years old and still give over 6 hours usage. So the tablets and netbooks should have fairly good battery usage but laptops - I have had battery problems with each one fairly quickly and the 8 hour power packs are expensive.

There are low energy monitors, 12v but the screens are too small for a lot of programing work. They would offer the same kind of connection as Raspi can without the need for mains voltage electric supply to each user - taking 5/12v to the computer and monitor. Might reduce the install cost and safety issues.

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abishur
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Re: Raspberry pi, computer science tool for the masses?

Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:18 am

Quote from subminiature on November 3, 2011, 21:16
Quote from abishur on November 3, 2011, 20:45
Math time.

Maths time indeed. Laptops are $300 and netbooks $100 - even in the UK . Even Dells and IBM lenovo, as used in the secondary school, are a lot lower cost that you suggest - they do buy the lowest denominator lacking RAM, GHz and storage - although that isn't really needed on the network.


Yes, you can get a consumer laptop on the cheap, but I've never seen them do so. Remember I actually came from a background of purchasing IT equipment for a school. I never saw any laptop purchased for less than 1000 dollars, and I used a low ball number just for the sake of argument.
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