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Forrrge
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Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:16 am

Has the RPi outgrown its intended purpose as an educational tool ?

Often I see replies to questions where the response is, why would you want to do that, the RPI was intended as an educational tool ! or those features are not needed as the Pi is intended for education!

I think the Pi has developed and grown way past what was originally envisioned for it and that we need to think of it as a fully functioning multiple use computer. We need to stop berating people for wanting to do something that is outside of education.

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RaTTuS
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:20 am

no it's not just an educational tool
but it's not a complete tool to replace everything you have on your desk
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Forrrge
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:29 am

Agreed, I should have replaced fully functioning with versatile.

ktb
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:30 am

While I do not agree that Raspberry Pi's have outgrown their intended purpose as an educational tool, I do agree that some forum members might use that fact in their responses too often and sometimes inappropriately. It's just their opinion, I wouldn't let it bother you. You'll even find direct posts from Raspberry Pi engineers that will admit that the RPF/RPT sees value in meeting the needs of customers outside of the education realm. I still think the primary intended purpose of Raspberry Pi's is to be an educational tool.

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PeterO
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:30 am

Forrrge wrote:Has the RPi outgrown its intended purpose as an educational tool ?

Often I see replies to questions where the response is, why would you want to do that, the RPI was intended as an educational tool ! or those features are not needed as the Pi is intended for education!

I think the Pi has developed and grown way past what was originally envisioned for it and that we need to think of it as a fully functioning multiple use computer. We need to stop berating people for wanting to do something that is outside of education.
Below is a quote from the Raspberry Pi Foundations Annual Review 2016
RPF Review wrote: Our mission
Our mission is to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world.

We think this is essential so that people are:

Capable of understanding and shaping an increasingly digital world
Able to solve the problems that matter to them, both as makers and entrepreneurs
Equipped for the jobs of the future

We pursue our mission through three main activities:
We provide low-cost, high‐performance computers that people use to learn, to solve problems, and have fun
We make computing and digital making more relevant and accessible to more people through outreach and educational programmes
We help people to learn about computing and how to make things with computers through resources and training
I think you will see they are already taking a wider view of the role of the Pi.

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Forrrge
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:39 am

Perfect, there it is in black and white :)

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bensimmo
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:41 am

That statement is education, education is not just british school at primary or secondary level. But anyone who wants to learn. Even if it comes to 'both as makers and entrepreneurs' learning still goes on there.
Of course the first thing to say not just education is NEC, CM's and industry. While NEC probably know full well what computers and a nice processor can give, it bring in money, industry may not know what it can do for them, yet.

Anyway, yes if you just read the web and see how many Kodi, RetroPie boxes, as example, are out there that could have been done on other setups, like a humble PC, a FireTV stick. Then you see they have moved into not quite so educational (albeit some may have gained some knowledge along the way).

But heyho, whatever brings some money in to keep them going and doing what they are aiming for.
In the UK the Pi in Education isn't as big as people may think, it's there and I'm sure some use them. But I personally could see more use in targeting the already installed PC base and enhancing their Code Club side using whatever a person can get their hands on.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:33 am

It's taught me a lot, and been a lot of fun getting there. Having never used Linux before there was some head bashing but no harm done. I have a think skull lol.

IMHO its gone past the original intended role. It's creeping into things where you would have used an Arduino or other micro controller. A lot easier to switch roles and functions too. Just swap SD cards. I think just about everybody that buys one learns something, and then has that what next moment? The what next is where the fun starts if they follow through and get hands on.

MarkTF
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:44 pm

The RPi is clearly not just an educational tool.

Even so, the RP Foundation views education as it's principle mission and will rightly base product planning and investment biased toward that mission. Thus the Foundation is unlikely to tack on features that which fail a cost/benefit analysis viewed through that lens.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:15 pm

Forrrge wrote:Has the RPi outgrown its intended purpose as an educational tool ?

Often I see replies to questions where the response is, why would you want to do that, the RPI was intended as an educational tool ! or those features are not needed as the Pi is intended for education!

I think the Pi has developed and grown way past what was originally envisioned for it and that we need to think of it as a fully functioning multiple use computer. We need to stop berating people for wanting to do something that is outside of education.
viewtopic.php?f=63&t=177836
Retired disgracefully.....

Heater
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:39 pm

Forrrge,
Has the RPi outgrown its intended purpose as an educational tool ?
I though it did that years ago.

I know people who have used early model Pi in commercial applications.

Then there are those who only want to use it as a media server so they can "watch telly".
We need to stop berating people for wanting to do something that is outside of education.
Perhaps.

On the other hand there have been many coming here expecting to use the Pi in industrial settings. I think they need to be reminded that providing commercial enterprises with a cheap computer is not the primary focus of the Pi Foundation.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:45 pm

I disagree. The Pi is still produced as an educational tool, even though it's also being used commercially (we're not talking about the compute module which is designed for commercial use, just the ordinary Pi)
Those who are doing so are taking a risk that it may not be quite up to the job, but whether that risk is worth taking is for them to decide.

If or when the Foundation decide to change the Pi, we may be told that it is now ,eg, suitable for controlling self-drive cars, moon landers, what-have-you.
Until then, it's only an educational tool

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:59 pm

I have no trouble with the RPF's educational focus. As a result, when I look at the Pi for a non-education project, I consider what it's limitations are and work within that (though I'll grant that my--very short--"wish list" going forward might look otherwise). As the Pis grow over time, I expand the use of them into areas they couldn't handle previously.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:28 pm

It is worth noting that the RPF is a charity, who sole purpose, according to its charter, is education. That means that is clearly its primary focus!

HOWEVER, selling huge numbers of devices to industry means that educational aim can be paid for, and very well indeed.

So to hit the primary target, you need to hit industry as well, if not more. Because money is what make the educational side work. And money comes from selling as many Pi's as possible, to whomever wants them.
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:38 pm

Forrrge wrote:Has the RPi outgrown its intended purpose as an educational tool ?
Outgrow, verb
grow too big for (something)
• leave behind as one matures
• grow faster or taller than

Outgrown? No. It was intended as an educational tool, and it continues to serve that purpose admirably. It has not "grown too big for education", nor is education something the Pi should "leave behind as it matures". Moreover, the Foundation's mission depends on using it for education - they can't decide to target some other market instead of education.

That is entirely separate from the point that many (including me) have found the Pi immensely useful for other purposes. And us buying this educational tool by the millions has provided funds for the Foundation to continue its educational mission.
Forrrge wrote:Often I see replies to questions where the response is, why would you want to do that, the RPI was intended as an educational tool ! or those features are not needed as the Pi is intended for education!
I'm sensing something of a straw man here. I have not seen anyone express incredulity at someone's desire to use the Pi for any particular purpose. But many of us (myself included) have occasionally said that the Pi may not be suited to someone's desired application (either because they require features the Pi doesn't have and/or is unlikely to get soon, or because they express a need for, say, thousands of Zeroes, which the Foundation has shown no indications of offering).

And "those features are not needed as the Pi is intended for education" is mischaracterizing another frequently made point: many requested/demanded features are unlikely to be added as they would not serve the Foundation's educational goals, regardless of how much better it might make the Pi for media serving, gaming, or Windows emulation. We aren't insisting that "you can't have those features", we are observing that based on past behavior the Foundation is unlikely to provide those features.
Forrrge wrote:I think the Pi has developed and grown way past what was originally envisioned for it and that we need to think of it as a fully functioning multiple use computer. We need to stop berating people for wanting to do something that is outside of education.
I don't recall anyone berating anyone else for wanting to do something outside of education. I'm not sure whether you're seeing posts I am not, or are misreading the posts that have been made. What you have seen, most assuredly, are posts (by folks here who have merely watched the Foundation's actions for a while), who point out to people insisting that feature X or Y is urgently needed to maintain marketshare (or similar reasoning, usually boiling down to they want feature X), that said feature is unlikely to be added any time soon, because it doesn't appear that it would further the Foundation's goals.

The Pi was, indeed, designed for education. It is a fortunate accident that it is so marvelously suited to a wide variety of other tasks (and sales for such have help fund the education goals), but RPF/RPT can't simply leave education behind and pivot to being an entirely profit/marketshare-oriented small computer company (and I expect they wouldn't want to). There remain a nearly limitless number of interesting projects that can be done with the various Pi models precisely as they are right now. Better to focus one's energies on those projects than demanding the Foundation meet one's whims.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:58 pm

CarlRJ wrote: The Pi was, indeed, designed for education. It is a fortunate accident that it is so marvelously suited to a wide variety of other tasks (and sales for such have help fund the education goals)...
One might say that it has been a eucatastrophe.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:17 pm

Outgrow, verb
grow too big for (something)
• leave behind as one matures
• grow faster or taller than
As usual, people are getting their panties in a twist over the perceived implication that there is something less than 100% perfect about the Pi.

Let's look at the two definitions above. The first can be construed to have a negative connotation, but the second is completely value-neutral. I suggest that we go with the second definition. It is my view that that was the intended by the OP.

Note, also, that the focus of this forum is likely to be different than that of the Pi "out there"/"in the real world". The focus here is likely to be more technical and more "hackerish"/less "educational" than it is "out there".
If this post appears in the wrong forums category, my apologies.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:38 pm

Martin Frezman wrote: As usual, people are getting their panties in a twist over the perceived implication that there is something less than 100% perfect about the Pi.
Of course the Pi isn't "100% perfect". Nothing is. The Pi isn't the best tool for every job. One could easily argue that the Pi isn't the best SBC on market, and possibly even at its price point. However, the Pi is extremely popular as SBCs go. Far and away more Pis have been sold than any other SBC that I've ever heard of and I don't see that changing any time soon.Plus the Pi "broke the mould" for educational/hobbyist/maker/DIY SBCs by being brought to market at barely 1/3 the price of the previously most popular hobbyist/maker SBC. As a result, the Pi has driven this market. It has driven SBC capabilities up and it has driven prices down. At the very least, the mere existence of the Pi has been very educational for other SBC manufacturers. What is unclear is that those manufacturers have learned the correct lessons from the experience.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:52 am

Martin Frezman wrote:As usual, people are getting their panties in a twist over the perceived implication that there is something less than 100% perfect about the Pi.
And as usual, you either accidentally or willfully misunderstand the points being made, then take a patronizing tone and overstate other poster's positions so that you can try to portray yourself as the sole voice of reason on the forum. Sorry, you're not the only smart person, or the only experienced person, here, and your continuing "well, see, I'm the one who actually knows how things work" tone gets really tiresome.

My panties are not in a twist, to use your metaphor. I'll happily and freely admit the Pi has numerous flaws. And I don't imagine that any of the other folks in this thread believe - or would argue - that the Pi is "100% perfect". Much better computers are readily available - for more money. What the Pi has going for it is a very nice intersection of low-cost, low-power, hardware with enough capabilities to implement a useful subset of projects, and a surrounding large collection of both helpful technical information, and Pi-specific accessories. The support makes it more compelling than most other cheap computers, the price makes it more compelling than many other more expensive computers. I use the Pi because it meets my needs, not because it is "100% perfect".

And yet, when someone pops in, and as their (often) first post declares that the Pi must absolutely positively add feature X or Y, or it will lose marketshare to the competition, I will continue to point out to them that that is not quite how the RPF works, that new features will be added in the fullness of time, when the RPF is ready, and that one's time is more usefully spent finding interesting things the Pi can do than putting much energy into insisting that it must change in order to be useful.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:44 am

The OP of this wayward thread has already made an ""improvement"" idea, so just take this post as someone else who is unhappy with the RPT / RPT......

viewtopic.php?f=63&t=168334&p=1082547#p1082547
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Forrrge
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:10 am

fruitoftheloom wrote:The OP of this wayward thread has already made an ""improvement"" idea, so just take this post as someone else who is unhappy with the RPT / RPT......

viewtopic.php?f=63&t=168334&p=1082547#p1082547
I am not unhappy at all so lets not "take this post as someone else who is unhappy with the RPT / RPT......" !

I check this forum daily and sometimes the tone of responses from "experienced" posters especially around the "intended" use of the Pi are not great and can be off putting for new posters, that is why I started this thread to see how others felt.

ktb
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:38 am

Forrrge wrote:
fruitoftheloom wrote:The OP of this wayward thread has already made an ""improvement"" idea, so just take this post as someone else who is unhappy with the RPT / RPT......

viewtopic.php?f=63&t=168334&p=1082547#p1082547
I am not unhappy at all so lets not "take this post as someone else who is unhappy with the RPT / RPT......" !

I check this forum daily and sometimes the tone of responses from "experienced" posters especially around the "intended" use of the Pi are not great and can be off putting for new posters, that is why I started this thread to see how others felt.
I agree with you.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:47 am

Well I think that there's something true when people says "it's only an educationnal tool", it brings people into embedded systems world, and make them learn C, python, and so many things I can't count. It's true that it can also be used in an industrial environment and in many context.

The only true wrong thing people sometime think is that it can be a desktop computer, it's not build for, and that's the thing some people need to understand.

But appart from them, I think that a Pi is only what you do of it.

YCN-

Martin Frezman
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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:57 am

The funny thing is that I pretty much think it *has* achieved "desktop computer" status, provided you define that term appropriately. Or, to put it another way, it depends on what you mean by "desktop computer". If you mean, a fully up-to-date Wintel machine, running at 10000000Ghz and having 10000000 TB of memory, etc, etc, then, no, the Pi isn't it.

But if you define it as most users do, which is "a machine I can surf the web on", then I actually think that with the Rpi3 and the installed version of Chromium, we're there. We finally have enough CPU and a browser that actually works. Among other things, note that, as an "acid test", it plays YouTube videos "natively" (i.e., in the browser).
If this post appears in the wrong forums category, my apologies.

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Re: Is the RPi "just" an educational tool ?

Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:10 am

jamesh wrote:It is worth noting that the RPF is a charity, who sole purpose, according to its charter, is education. That means that is clearly its primary focus!

HOWEVER, selling huge numbers of devices to industry means that educational aim can be paid for, and very well indeed.

So to hit the primary target, you need to hit industry as well, if not more. Because money is what make the educational side work. And money comes from selling as many Pi's as possible, to whomever wants them.
Still I wonder If the RPF has not lost its educational focus a bit much; latest new hardware out is the CM3 - not exactly aimed a education. https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/compute-module-3/ There were 2 earlier versions of this industrial embedded stuff.

Any extra money made should be invested in better Raspberry education supporting Pi boards and OSes, not in sponsoring some (UK) schools / events - any club can do that. Once a good general education supporting set is out, the volume of world wide sales can dwarf the embedded and hobbyist sales by replacing the ocean of PCs in schools.
Last edited by AntonAV on Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:30 am, edited 3 times in total.

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