Charles25
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Re: What can be learned from all this launch energy?

Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:51 pm

Wow, there is a lot of emotional energy about the launch of the Rqaspbery Pi board. I think that is a good thing. What it says to me is that the Raspberry Pi board at the advertised price point has tapped into an unmet need for a lot of people around the world. It seems to me that for many people, it is an emotional need to save money, or to get the same thing as others but spend a lot less for it. Throughout my life, I have had the both the physical need and the emotional need to save money, so I can relate to that feeling.

I am wondering what can be learned from this very energetic launch experience and how it can be applied to the goals of the Raspberry Pi Foundation to have “a platform that, like those old home computers, could boot into a programming environment”  and be “desirable to kids who wouldn’t initially be interested in a purely programming-oriented device”.

I grew up with the microprocessor and programming computers to do stuff.  It was very motivating to me. It’s one of the things that drove me to get my degree in electrical engineering. My motivation was to be able to get functionality that I thought was really cool at a price that I could afford. The way to do that was by making it myself. I was really into the hardware side of it, but I’m sure a lot of folks who had the computers of the 1980’s had motivation to create the software for the same reasons and perhaps because the functionality was just not available.

I’m educated first as an engineer and then more recently, as an educator, so I am no psychologist, but I do have my own explanations for the motivation I experienced. I see it as the unmet needs provided motivation to get the needs met.

The question I see is, what is the “unmet need” of the target audience?  What do high school students need, but are not getting, that is enough to motivate them to master one or more of the possibilities of the RasPi to get them more prepared for doing
computer science in college?

The other element that I see is, will the payoff they get from the Raspberry Pi and its community be great enough and fast enough to keep them going for the months and years needed for mastery?

My concern is that kids today (including my own children) have so many other ways to get their emotional needs met, with much less effort and “relative” expense.  And the payoff is so much more constant and effective that it is really hard to compete.

This is based on this discussion.

http://www.kurzweilai.net/rasp.....-into-code

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clive
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Re: What can be learned from all this launch energy?

Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:03 pm

Charles25 said:


My concern is that kids today (including my own children) have so many other ways to get their emotional needs met, with much less effort and “relative” expense.  And the payoff is so much more constant and effective that it is really hard to compete.



Here's the problem. In the UK at least, the current education system insists that learning has be fun at all times. Kids should be entertained at all times. Of course learning can be brilliant fun. But sometimes learning is also hard. Sometimes it is challenging. Sometimes it takes effort and you have to think about really hard stuff when you would rather be texting your mate or shooting some stranger in his virtual face.

No answers really: maybe we could recreate Harlow's classic experiment, but with an iPad (cuddly monkey mother) and a Raspberry Pi (wire monkey mother) and with kids instead of baby monkeys.


charliedurrant
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Re: What can be learned from all this launch energy?

Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:27 pm

Charles,

I very mcuh agree with your closing comment. How to compete? For me it's the price point. The ability to get accessible technology that can be customised into more places is primarily about price. The low price will make the tech avilable to so many more (I slightly wish that a VGA port was present instead of HDMI but I expect a lot of research was carried out on that point).

Can the clocks be turned back and our kids will learn as we did? Well yes, I think so.

We accept that maths has to be learnt but computing in the UK anyway, is not taught anymore. I looked at a GCSE IT paper and my mum could do it - there were sections about Health and Safety and not having cables tangled up.

With this device and more so the idea and principles behind it more children will understand the basic concepts of programming which ultiumately is an extension of adding and subtracting. I hope that school versions will not boot to a gui but perhaps that is more of an irrational feeling.

Charlie

Charles25
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Re: What can be learned from all this launch energy?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:02 am

I think other contributors to this forum have come up with  an idea of how to effectively compete with all the other ways that the kids can  get their need for thrills met.

I read the postings under Pi in Space (http://www.raspberrypi.org/for.....i-in-space) and the idea flashed in my mind that it would really be quite a motivator for me to have “something” of mine in space, even if it was software.

I imagine if the Rasberry Pi Foundation created a platform that could be hoisted to the edge of space under a balloon, then they could have a Raspberry Pi Space Olympics contest for school-age programmers.

The platform would have a Raspberry Pi (obviously), a camera and GPS tracker. It would be housed in a floating container. I think it would be good to have screen that the camera could photograph, perhaps like a Kindle screen, that would not get washed out in sunlight. It might also be useful to interface some sensors for temperature, air pressure, GPS coordinates and etc.  Then every person who enters the contest and has software that meets minimum requirements, could have their software loaded onto the Pi, and it would be launched. When each person’s software ran, it would put up a screen of their design, execute their code, and move on to the next person's code. At the end of the flight, each participant would get a copy of the video file that showed their software running on the Raspberry Pi that went to space (the screen showing the software running in the forground and the curvature of the earth in the background)

I imagine that this would be a big day for both the students who’s software was on the Pi and for the folks that launched and recovered it. The foundation could even make the event a regular fund raiser, year after year.

As the programmers become more sophisticated, there could be several levels of software, for beginning, intermediate and advanced programmers.  Each launched on its own Pi in space.

And this is a contest that everyone can win.  Everyone that is, that completed their project and their project met the minimum requirements.  And that is the goal, to get the kids to learn programming skills.

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Gert van Loo
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Re: What can be learned from all this launch energy?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:52 am

I have something of mine in space. I helped the New Zealand radio buffs with the logic in their satellite** system. It is indeed nice to know that some of my 'work' is up there and may still when I am long gone.

**They got schematics from their American Colleagues, but then there was this nice new law passed in the USA that forbid anybody to share any knowledge whatsoever about space related technology. So I translated the schematics into Verilog code. Took some work as I did not understand some of what was happening. So after some time decided it was just not going to work. Indeed it turned out to be not the final schematics and there where some subtly race-conditions in it.

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