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.