Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Funds Raspberry Pi And CS Teachers For UK Schools

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the google-a-better-grade dept.

Education 165

nk497 writes "Last year, Eric Schmidt slammed British computer science teaching, saying the UK was wasting its computing heritage — since then, the Government has agreed to re-examine how the subject is taught. 'Rebooting computer science education is not straightforward,' Schmidt said. 'Scrapping the existing curriculum was a good first step — the equivalent of pulling the plug out of the wall. The question is now how to power up.' To help, Schmidt has now promised funding from Google to train 100 teachers as well as give classrooms Raspberry Pis, via charity Teach First."

cancel ×

165 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The simpsons say hello (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098777)

"...Welcome to maths. If I have three Pepsi and drink one how refreshed would I be?"

Re:The simpsons say hello (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098893)

Google don't need to slap their brand all over this. They gain in two quantifiable ways:

1. Good will. Google are the good guys here.
2. A better trained workforce. They'll need engineers in ten years time, after all.

Re:The simpsons say hello (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099181)

Google don't need to slap their brand all over this.

Sure, they don't NEED to. But they WILL.

Re:The simpsons say hello (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099279)

And they should.

Why should they play the game of some government clown's memeview of propriety?

I hope this Pi thing will run Excel and Pac Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098783)

Filter error: I can type more than that for my comment.

If only... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098791)

If only I could buy one.

Re:If only... (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099713)

Google's recent acquisition may be able to help with that. I understand they know how to get stuff manufactured at scale.

Re:If only... (2)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100271)

Just got my "Purchase Code" from RS on tuesday; I signed up minutes after they went on sale back in febuary. Be patient, you'll get one eventually.

to train 100 teachers (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098803)

Hmm, with over 3,900 secondary schools [cilt.org.uk] and over 21,000 primary schools [cilt.org.uk] in the UK that should go far.

Re: to train 100 teachers (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098871)

What, are you suggesting Google should be responsible for the entire UK education system?

Presumably this is a pilot project, and if it goes well, more teachers will be trained and more hardware purchased. At least that's how I'd expect this to work in a sane world.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098995)

Training 100 teachers probably means a 2 hour lecture on plugging the thing in. Google is just after cheap publicity & karma.

Re: to train 100 teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099129)

You're right. They shouldn't do this at all.

Re: to train 100 teachers (4, Informative)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099659)

Training 100 teachers probably means a 2 hour lecture on plugging the thing in. Google is just after cheap publicity & karma.

Or if you RTFA:

Schmidt said the funding would be handed to the charity Teach First, to put 100 recent graduates through a six-week training course and give them equipment - including the Raspberry Pi - before sending them into schools to teach.

Re: to train 100 teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099273)

What I don't understand is, why not give them real computers? Surely Google has some old desktop & server systems that are being retired that could be donated, or hell, write a check and buy a couple Linux servers, install Android SDK and relevant tools, and send some of your engineers in for intensive "here's how to hack your phone" training with the teachers. Probably wouldn't cost that much, and would probably have far more "real world" application than these ridiculously overhyped RPis.

I simply don't understand the fascination with "cheap underpowered crap" as an educational tool. It's the same thing as with the OLPC: "Here, we used our nice fancy computers to make you a piece of crap. But it's cheap, so you can buy LOTS of them." Fucking donate some older-but-still-serviceable computers from your data center and some old-but-still-serviceable desktops from your engineers. Then send interested engineers into the school systems to offer training to the teachers. Wouldn't cost that much, and would ACTUALLY have a long-term impact in the quality of education.

Re: to train 100 teachers (5, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099379)

What I don't understand is, why not give them real computers? Surely Google has some old desktop & server systems that are being retired that could be donated, or hell, write a check and buy a couple Linux servers, install Android SDK and relevant tools, and send some of your engineers in for intensive "here's how to hack your phone" training with the teachers. Probably wouldn't cost that much, and would probably have far more "real world" application than these ridiculously overhyped RPis.

Did you notice how the subject being taught is "Computer Science", not "IT"? There's a reason the names are different.

Re: to train 100 teachers (3, Insightful)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100317)

Did you notice how the subject being taught is "Computer Science", not "IT"? There's a reason the names are different.

I really wish people would stop making this mistake...to the point that I think we should come up with a name for CS that doesn't have the word "Computer" in it.

"Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes, biology is about microscopes or chemistry is about beakers and test tubes."

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100529)

Maybe Computation Science? Then we don't even need to change the acronym.

Re: to train 100 teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100487)

If all you're going to teach them is algorithms, discrete maths, and other "computer science" stuff, rather than "IT," then why have computers at all?

Please tell me how having a Raspberry Pi contributes to the teaching of Computer Science in any way that a standard, full-powered computer couldn't also?

And if you think "Raspberry Pi" == "Computer Science," do you also think "Telescopes" == "Astrophysics" and "Tunneling Electron Microscopes" == "Biology"?

The point is these are needlessly low-powered computers for teaching Computer Science. The point is, Google could have provided more *educational benefit* by donating a dozen servers and a couple hundred unlocked Nexus phones for kids to hack on - lean on a carrier in the UK to allow those phones to be activated for data so that kids can write actually usable, functional Android apps.

If you want to interest kids in computers, then you need to show them that it's both relevant and interesting. The only kids who will be "interested" because of a Raspberry Pi are the ones who already know what a RPi is, and probably have one. "Look kids, a SMALL COMPUTER!" "Sorry, playing Angry Birds on my phone, teach. Fuck off."

Re: to train 100 teachers (3, Interesting)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099391)

Loads of older, substandard computers will have their own problems -- they won't be a monoculture, so they'll be harder to administer and maintain, especially at a school where IT is often the typing teacher and his smartest student. They'll be on their way to failure and will need to constantly have parts replaced, probably at great cost because, as a government entity, the school will probably have a preferred vendor where they'll buy $100 250 GB drives and $20 case fans. They'll cost more to ship. The Pi costs $7 to ship. A 30 lb. computer would cost closer to $25 or more.

I understand if you think the Pi is underpowered for Excel, but it's perfectly adequate for its purpose: To teach basic computer science skills. Can it run Python? Yes. Can it compile C? Yes. Can it hook up to a keyboard, mouse and TV? Yes. (Note: It was an informed decision to choose TV over composite or HDMI over VGA. Yes, I own VGA monitors. Yes, they can be found cheap. Everyone with a TV has a composite input though and more people have a TV than have a monitor.)

Just because you don't want some small charity to successfully disseminate cheap computers and just because you're butthurt you can't get one for yourself right now (*wah, I want it /nooowwwwwwwwwww/*) doesn't mean it is of no value.

The OLPC failed because they couldn't hit their price point, not because it's underpowered.

Re: to train 100 teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100379)

Everyone with a TV has a composite input though and more people have a TV than have a monitor.

How many TV sets do you think a school has? At most, one per 30-place class.

Queue up to plug-in your Pi!

Re: to train 100 teachers (3, Interesting)

Vrekais (1889284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099421)

The Raspberry Pi as a tool for teaching Computer Science is definitely high up there on value. Teaching it in the closed system of Windows while still completely possible can lead to some things having to be missed, due to closed administration policies and such. If you're using the Windows machines to store important work and run software used by other subjects then you can't simply have a class of Computing students come in and start re-writing the Operating System (not that they could in windows of course).

The Raspberry Pi however you can do what you like to the OS, you can show the actual way the system handles memory and processor cycles in a much more in depth way and if a student breaks it, you simply format and stick a back up on it which takes minutes rather than the hours that a Windows PC might require. A few decades ago the Computing in Schools was taught on BBC Micros, which had almost no abstraction from what was actually going on (there was some obviously but it wasn't hard to remove that as well), you could even write programs to run from the BIOS chip.

The current state of ICT education is a very MS Office dominated course of how to use a word processor and create excel spreadsheets. Something that perhaps might be best taught in other subjects, I'm not sure. I can see an argument for teaching that stuff, but at the moment it overly dominates the curriculum and it's pretty much what ends up being taught when all you have are common office desktops.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099573)

Half of k12 schools are elementry schools. Kernel internal commands are not appropriate at that level. Even in the highschool level, student need to learn Office and spreadsheet tasks and photoshop work for graphic art classes.

I am not a troll here, but I do wonder if these things have the ram to run LibroOffice or OpenOffice? What about the Gimp? 256 megs is not a lot. A simple import of 250 megs of pics off a student SMMC card can KILL these things easily!

Now if they had a 2nd CPU and maybe 1 gig of ram they could run more software. Is there even an ARM port of LibraOffice or OO available? It runs Java, so I doubt it as no JRE of ARM are available for Linux that are not the crippled micro edition.

These things are useful for very simple websurfing and that is counter productive for students. The little ones use flash intranet and internet sites and that is another thing these machines can't do.

These are cheap and that is the only reason they are talked about. Maybe a $199 netbook program would be more ideal with Windows Starter edition or Ubuntu. A middle school in Alaska uses these with Ubuntu (Dell 9 mini) and they have 1 gig of ram, decent video, and the ones that boot Windows 7 Starter can run flash apps and Office. These would be more appropriate for those who swear by Linux.

Re: to train 100 teachers (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099615)

Half of k12 schools are elementry schools. Kernel internal commands are not appropriate at that level. Even in the highschool level, student need to learn Office and spreadsheet tasks and photoshop work for graphic art classes.

I am not a troll here, but I do wonder if these things have the ram to run LibroOffice or OpenOffice? What about the Gimp? 256 megs is not a lot. A simple import of 250 megs of pics off a student SMMC card can KILL these things easily!

Now if they had a 2nd CPU and maybe 1 gig of ram they could run more software. Is there even an ARM port of LibraOffice or OO available? It runs Java, so I doubt it as no JRE of ARM are available for Linux that are not the crippled micro edition.

These things are useful for very simple websurfing and that is counter productive for students. The little ones use flash intranet and internet sites and that is another thing these machines can't do.

These are cheap and that is the only reason they are talked about. Maybe a $199 netbook program would be more ideal with Windows Starter edition or Ubuntu. A middle school in Alaska uses these with Ubuntu (Dell 9 mini) and they have 1 gig of ram, decent video, and the ones that boot Windows 7 Starter can run flash apps and Office. These would be more appropriate for those who swear by Linux.

I think your missing the point. The schools will still have macs and PCs for teaching office skills, these are there to teach computer science. The y allow the kids to have access to a whole system, that they can bootstrap, hack, interface to devices, etc. Your question is a bit like asking whether the Bunsen burners in the science labs will be adequate for the cookery classes - of course they are not they are for something completely different.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099697)

I can see administrators looking to pinch pennies promote these as a replacements. I hope your right. CS work is the only good thing with these as they are limited hardware wise and of course its price.

If the PIE had a 2nd processor and 1 gig of ram these could be awesome systems but would probably cost closer to $99 or $129. Andriod could then run on them as well as Gnu/Linux. Just my wishlist though.

Re: to train 100 teachers (4, Insightful)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099721)

These do Python and C as well as GPIO. Those are far more valuable in a Computer Science course than an office suite would be. We don't want to train kids to be secretaries, we want to train them to be engineers.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099741)

There are probably more secretary jobs than engineering jobs. Besides engineers use Excel as much as other software as Office is universal across most Office jobs. But these can be great if they are just used for CS.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099997)

You can learn what you need for Excel in a week of basic classes and maybe a week of specialty instruction. Actually, all of it can be learned online if the student is motivated.

This is teaching the basics of CS. HOW and WHY a computer and software work, not can I calculate and graph the equitable division of the lunch check.

While the latter may be useful, the skill sets are not mutually exclusive.

Think of it as the computer educational equivalent of survival and inquiry, not sophistication. [Bonus geek points if you get the reference.]

Re: to train 100 teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099969)

you are definitely missing the point here.....these are aimed at students for teaching computer 'SCIENCE', not engineering, not programming, and definitely not management ie. MIS, iie. excel and word jockying....

you know SCIENCE that thing that they teach in school, that employs the SCIENTIFIC METHOD:
scientific method ;noun
a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from these data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested.

this isn't aimed at teaching kids about large scale servers or even writing/using full scale operating systems. Its about teaching them how a simple computer works, the pieces involved in creating a computer, but most of all...building things! This isn't for teaching PC skills, rather its for teaching COMPUTER SCIENCE skills.

Re: to train 100 teachers (2)

balor (205103) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099007)

It should go reasonably far. Each of the 21,000 primary schools (of which I know more about than secondary) are within an administrative area. Generally, the people who head ICT training in these administrative areas are not developers. Furthermore, in the UK primary sector, there exist quite advanced mechanisms for transferring "best practice" from one school to the next. The UK gov't spends real money on this and gets real results in turn. If you train 100 teachers in the current pedagogical best practice for teaching software development, this will (at some level) feed into more than just their school. Ideally, you will see the head ICT trainers in an area being drawn from this initial pool of 100. Or, at the very least, advised by them.

I think this approach, even given the small numbers invovled, is better than previous approaches from the private sector. Previous approaches have involved throwing software and/or hardware over a wall and expecting teachers to know how to integrate it into the curriculum. I'm cautiously optomistic.

Re: to train 100 teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099079)

After teaching ICT AND computer science for 4 years I'm not convinced. I've never seen a regional trainer and most of the ICT teachers I've come across in schools and on PGCE have little compsci background (in my experience only about 20%) and run a mile at the thought of programming in any depth. We concocted a short compsci test (e.g. what is an operating system?) and had pretty disappointing results.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

Vrekais (1889284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099453)

Tbh I think it's almost criminal how the PGCE currently operates. That you can teach a subject with out even a related degree just seems wrong. I hope it changes by the time I start my PGCE but I doubt it. I'm a comp sci student planning to go onto teach at a Secondary Level but I didn't realise how few teachers had actual comp sci backgrounds or even experience until I started doing placements in schools. Hearing a Head of ICT say he hates programming really was a shocking thing to hear.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099695)

I don't have an Engineering degree and I know more about computing than someone who just finished their Master's degree in CS straight out of undergrad. It's called 20 years of practical experience. Degrees are good and all, but let's not get hung up on them.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

Vrekais (1889284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099809)

I can totally agree that you probably do know more than a fresh CS grad, but my point was that if you don't have experience in the field that a CS degree should be the minimum requirement for a ICT based PGCE surely.

P.S. I also can't be expected to have 20 years of practical experience when I'm not even 21 yet.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

VVrath (542962) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100161)

Tbh I think it's almost criminal how the PGCE currently operates. That you can teach a subject with out even a related degree just seems wrong.

I am afraid you are mistaken: to begin a PGCE you need to demonstrate suitable subject knowledge - the easiest way to do so is having a degree in a related subject. If your degree is not relevant , there exist two-year conversion courses where the first year is spent at university learning the requisite subject knowledge. If you don't have a degree you can't become a teacher in the UK.

Of course, once you are a qualified teacher you can transfer to teach other subjects at the discretion of your school - If an otherwise skilful teacher wants/needs to change to a subject where they lack the necessary knowledge it is not unknown for schools to send them on a conversion course.

I'm a comp sci student planning to go onto teach at a Secondary Level but I didn't realise how few teachers had actual comp sci backgrounds or even experience until I started doing placements in schools. Hearing a Head of ICT say he hates programming really was a shocking thing to hear.

Comp Sci graduates teaching ICT are in the minority in the UK, but there are valid reasons for that. I have a MEng in Software Engineering, and my Sixth-Formers frequently ask why I'm "wasting" my time in teaching - even they are aware that I could double my salary if I worked in industry. Of course teaching has non-financial rewards, but it's completely understandable that the vast majority of Comp Sci graduates would rather work elsewhere.

The Head of ICT you quoted almost certainly doesn't need to teach programming at the moment, so I suppose it doesn't much matter if he hates it. Be thankful that people like this exist, however; in a few year's time (once the curriculum fully changes to Computing instead of ICT), you'll be replacing them!

Re: to train 100 teachers (3)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099559)

"Furthermore, in the UK primary sector, there exist quite advanced mechanisms for transferring "best practice" from one school to the next. The UK gov't spends real money on this and gets real results in turn."

Does it? I spent a number of years supporting "Advisory Teachers" who exist outside any one school for precisely the purpose of teaching teachers how to teach and the level of ineptitude was frankly astounding.

In fact, it was from an IT Advisory Teacher that I got my dumbest, most ridiculous ever technical support call once - "Hi, there's no paper in the printer, and an orange light on it and it wont print, can you come and have a look at it?"

Yes that's right, it wouldn't print BECAUSE IT HAD NO FUCKING PAPER IN IT. Her colleague wasn't any better, phoning up almost on a weekly basis to point out that she couldn't get sound on the training suite computer - oddly enough because she hadn't turned the fucking speakers on.

Honestly, Advisory Teachers are a prime example of a non-job, it's a high paid role (£40k - £60k p/a) and it's where teachers who were shit at teaching basically go to die.

It's these people those 100 slots Google is promoting should replace. I cannot describe how inexplicably terrible advisory teachers are. I even made the mistake of engaging in discussion with a maths one once, thinking we may have shared a common interest in maths, but no, her maths qualifications seem to just about extend to counting to 10 and nothing more.

Still it's been some years, maybe things have changed, maybe there are other mechanisms that bypass advisory teachers or something so perhaps you're right. But my experience was that local governments tended to throw literally millions of pounds a year down the drain on these people who - and I say this literally, not figuratively - weren't even fit to pass some of the most basic computing courses out there, which cover things such as doing a mail merge with Word. Bad just isn't a powerful enough word to describe how awful these people were at their jobs.

It sounds like I'm ranting, it sounds like I'm going over the top in my critique of the situation, but it really is quite unbeleivable how much of a train wreck advisory services were in the UK at least some years back - I'd be amazed if they've had a complete turn around since.

Re: to train 100 teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099015)

Hmm, with over 3,900 secondary schools [cilt.org.uk] and over 21,000 primary schools [cilt.org.uk] in the UK that should go far.

You have obviously underestimated the educational POWER of 100 Raspberry Pis!

Re: to train 100 teachers (3, Informative)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099111)

For heaven's sake, it's a start, and a start is better than a slap in the face with a wet fish.

Sadly, I think it's England only. Those of you outside the United Kingdom think we're all one country, but we aren't - we're an international union just like the EU. There is no 'UK' educational system. However, we should all of us be supporting initiatives like this where ever we are.

Re: to train 100 teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099177)

It's more than you've done.

Re: to train 100 teachers (1)

ninjacheeseburger (1330559) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099509)

Only one school in my area out of six taught A-level computing (not ICT) I think only about 10 of us actually completed the A2. Unless there is a massive increase in demand for the subject, 100 teachers could cover a big area.

Re: to train 100 teachers (2)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099569)

Notice that they're not working with the government, they're working with Teach First [teachfirst.org.uk] . Teach First is a charity (working specifically within the English education sector, not the UK) which places graduates into schools for a two year on-the-job qualification (as opposed to the standard one-year university-based course that has a significant teaching practice component).

Teach First took on 770 new teachers for the 2011-2012 academic year, and a large percentage of them would have been going into secondary subject teaching where computers wouldn't be considered "core" to their job. I reckon 100 is about the number of candidates they'll be placing in suitable roles anyway.

It's also worth noting that Teach First specialises in schools in deprived areas, which generally have difficulty in attracting good teachers and aren't generally well-enough funded to get a decent IT suite on-site.

So yes, it's a small project, but it's a worthy one. And if it works well, the government will have a hard time not following up on it.

100 Teachers (0)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098811)

100 teachers - 4364 secondary schools .... Maths is obviously not his strong point ...

Re:100 Teachers (2)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098827)

If he paid for 4364 teachers, it still would not be his strong point.

The idea is that he has put his money where his mouth is, now the government should do the same.

Re:100 Teachers (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098829)

Well, you can only train so many teachers at a time, and there are only so many positions available though.

Re:100 Teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098841)

Yeah, sure, this is google's role to train every computing teacher in the UK...
We all know that teachers are trained by private companies, and that the governments have no saying in it.

Re:100 Teachers (1)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098889)

The way this lot are going - that's exactly how they'd have everything done (so they can get a lovely directorship once the electorate have turfed them out)

Re:100 Teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098861)

If only teachers were suitably skilled to pass on their training. Perhaps by giving lessons.

Re:100 Teachers (1)

deroby (568773) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098887)

Ah, you're missing the big picture : thanks to the power of google's MapReduce algorithms those 100 teachers can easily spread the (home) work over those 4000-ish schools !

(I know, I know...)

Re:100 Teachers (3, Insightful)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099211)

100 teachers, each training another 100, who in turn train another 100. Perspicacity is obviously not your strong point. But I guess if you can't do anything else, at least you can bitch.

It's a start (4, Funny)

jholyhead (2505574) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098849)

That would bring the total number of specialist Computer Science teachers in the UK to...100.

Re:It's a start (2)

Xiaran (836924) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099189)

When I was doing Computing in High School the guy teaching us was a first year CompSci student part time. I quickly learnt that all of his homework assignments were in fact his homework and assignments for basically Programming 101. I was not sure if this guy was evil or a genius.

Re:It's a start (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099405)

I was not sure if this guy was evil or a genius.

"Or"???

Re:It's a start (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099903)

I was not sure if this guy was evil or a genius.

"Or"???

"Not"???

Re:It's a start (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100369)

"OR" in the logical sense, as opposed to "XOR"

Re:It's a start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099489)

Don't remember where I found it, but the number of people who completed the UK teaching qualification (PGCE) last year, having studied Computer Science at undergraduate level is... 1!

Re:It's a start (2)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099919)

That would bring the total number of specialist Computer Science teachers in the UK to...100.

Yeah and of course those Google bastards use the binary system. So they get credit for one hundred teachers, but only deliver four.

Qualified staff numbers stay at zero (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100193)

That would bring the total number of specialist Computer Science teachers in the UK to...100.

No, it would leave it at zero. As soon as the teachers become qualified in an IT topic that's in demand they'll be off into a "proper" job (you know: desk, phone, work-colleagues they can chat to, coffee when they please, unlimited surfing and a spot of working, too) that doesn't involve being in a room with a bunch of angry/hostile/bored/demotivated/sociopathic children - and the kids in the classes are even worse that the ones in the staff room.

Funding schmunding (4, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098883)

From all the gripes I see the problem is finding the little buggers.

Has anyone here actually held one in his sweaty hand?

Re:Funding schmunding (2)

Quince alPillan (677281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098903)

They're currently highly backordered (to the point that they're limiting how many people can order and in what quantities at one time). I just ordered mine today, and I was on the waiting list since the official launch. The delivery time said ~3 weeks.

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098937)

I now wonder if you were talking about Raspberry Pi's, at first I thought you were backordering CS teachers, and finding the little buggers has been difficult.

Re:Funding schmunding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099909)

I thought he meant school kids interested in CS.

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099625)

I'm on a waiting list to join the waiting list :(

I might have to start looking for one of the alternatives [reghardware.com] .

Re:Funding schmunding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098907)

Joint the Priesthood, they come to you and you get paid....oh you mean raspberry pis?

Re:Funding schmunding (5, Funny)

deroby (568773) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098929)

Man, I read your first line as 'the little buggers' = the school-children ... as apparently the UK has a bit of a problem with pupils skipping school.
That made reading the second line kind of weird !

Re:Funding schmunding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40098989)

I thought he meant teachers :-)

Re:Funding schmunding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099229)

I DUB YOU "TRIES TOO HARD!"

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

mrbill1234 (715607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098955)

Hmm, yes.

http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/1366/raspi.jpg [imageshack.us]

I managed to get an order in on launch day, but not for one of the first 200 units, the 1st batch which I got about 3 weeks ago.

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099017)

I dunno I registered interest on both sites (farnell and RS) from two different email accounts - and I already have 2 of them and have 2 more on the way in the next week or so (already shipped)

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099115)

I have one sitting on my desk right now. Although I ordered it on the morning of release, and it only arrive last week.

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099427)

I've actually been invited into the queue twice so far, but haven't bit. I'm getting ready to move house so I don't want to be getting packages that'll get lost in the move. I'm also seriously considering waiting for the A model anyway.

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099603)

You realise that when a big company like Google promises to buy a couple of crates, that guarantees the next batch and helps build economies of scale, right? Also, Google will be buying them with prebuilt cases, which is something that was left out of the first run for reasons of cost. Set up case construction to fulfill this order, and then the additional unit cost of cases for other buyers is negligible.

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

Elegor (866572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099837)

Mine arrived last Friday (18th May) from RS Components. I guess I must have been in the first 10,000 orders, which made getting up at 6am worthwhile!

I've been enjoying watching my 7-year old son playing with Scratch, and have also enjoyed trying out OpenElec XBMC and Raspbmc. The latter two can be a bit slow on navigating around the menus (and seem to get slower as time goes on) but they both play streamed videos (e.g. YouTube and IPlayer) pretty much flawlessly, even at HD. I'm sure they will both speed up with a bit of optimisation - these are the very first releases after all.

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

CrazyBusError (530694) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100249)

Yep, I got mine 3 weeks ago. Typically, I haven't had time to do any more than write the basic Debian install to an SD card and make sure it boots.

Sorry.

Re:Funding schmunding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100259)

Yeah, I got mine about 2 weeks ago. I was number ~3400 to get one. I put a 16G class 10 SD card in it and it's running Debian. Quite frankly I was disappointed in the speed of the RasPi. For a browser it came with Midori that was unbelievably slow so downloaded Chromium which was much better. I haven't gotten videos to play (e.g. youtube) on either Chromium or Midori. I also had some issues with the sound on it but I haven't had a chance to work on it as I have been traveling for work. Over all I would say it will work ok for teaching programming but not much more.

Re:Funding schmunding (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100497)

Yes, a few people [ryanteck.org.uk] .

I'm PReDiToR @ YO2, York, England.

I can't guarantee any degree of accuracy with that map, nor can the owner of the page (thanks Ryan) because there is no verification.

Nothing better than something? (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098911)

Scrapping the existing curriculum was a good first step

Why not continue the existing program until you develop a replacement? I'm pretty sure even a flawed program is better than none at all.

Re:Nothing better than something? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099023)

There wasn't a previous curriculum. ICT was a Microsoft designed qualification in Office "skills". For one small assignment for my A-Levels I had to use every feature of Microsoft word in a single document. Yep, I had to use word art to get marks. It was unbearable documenting office software button by button and I gave up, turned it in half done. I got pathetic C in ICT... however I am now lead graphics programmer at an award winning games developers.

The current curriculum's in ICT and computing, had to be scrapped immediately before they put off another generation from learning the skills they need.

Re:Nothing better than something? (1)

WillerZ (814133) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099781)

I did a similar exam in, I guess, 1999; you could get an A+ in about 20 seconds without looking at the screen. The last sentence advised you to compare what you had done to sample.doc, so I typed:

Ctrl+O sample.doc Enter Alt+F A .doc Enter.

I then went through the paper to verify that there weren't any hidden extras or obvious flaws in the sample (there weren't) and delete any metadata (there was none).

Re:Nothing better than something? (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099119)

Scrapping the existing curriculum was a good first step

Why not continue the existing program until you develop a replacement? I'm pretty sure even a flawed program is better than none at all.

Because the 'existing program', in England, literally was worse than nothing. It was teaching children to use obsolete versions of Microsoft Office.

Re:Nothing better than something? (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099437)

Maybe because it drives you to action sooner

Re:Nothing better than something? (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099755)

I addition to other points, it could be valuable to scrap the current program, even if it's positive, if its cost to benefit ratio is bad enough. Think of it like this: If you have a used car and it costs $500 a month to keep it repaired but you don't have the $3000 for a down payment on a new car it could be worth it to take the bus for four or five months over the late spring through early autumn while you save up for a new car. Instead of a constant $500 a month and being late to work because it's never running right you endure the pain of public transit for a little while so that at the end you'll be on more secure footing for a more reliable and beneficial result.

Same thing. Instead of pouring resources into a failing program scrap it, research a good replacement, reassign saved resources to that program.

Re:Nothing better than something? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100073)

Not really, the existing programmes put people off of computing for life, which was far worse than just giving them a bad education in it.

DO NOT WANT (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098985)

"give classrooms Raspberry Pis"

Uhm.. no thanks.

Re:DO NOT WANT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099253)

As opposed to giving them costly 4xCore intel chips?

Re:DO NOT WANT (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099665)

"give classrooms Raspberry Pis"

Uhm.. no thanks.

Better than frosty...

Meanwhile (3, Insightful)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 2 years ago | (#40098987)

Microsoft has given engineers a new directive to get Windows running on the Raspberry Pi platform.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099611)

With 256MB RAM?

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40100023)

With 256MB RAM?

That's enough for Windows 3.14.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100281)

That's enough for Windows XP, actually. Maybe not with the later service packs installed (SP2 added a LOT of stuff), but I've run a usable XP machine on less.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

cgt (1976654) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100309)

Or Windows Vista

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099963)

Steve: "Ladies and gentleman I give you Windows 3.14159265"

WOOT! (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099029)

WOOT!

Why? (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099221)

It can't run most educational software nor children's oriented flash websites. I do not see the value in these.

Until HTML 5 takes over they wont be that usefull and the article is looking at these as Mac and PC replacements for outdated equipment.

Re:Why? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099679)

It can't run most educational software nor children's oriented flash websites. I do not see the value in these.

Until HTML 5 takes over they wont be that usefull and the article is looking at these as Mac and PC replacements for outdated equipment.

The schools have computers that do that, and so do most of the kids. These are for teaching computer science, not web browsing 101.

Re:Why? (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099725)

Desktop computing is not an all-or-nothing affair. The Raspberry Pi is definitely powerful enough to run a terminal front-end.

The last project I worked on before leaving corporate IT was to get a mixed-mode environment up and running -- some users on Wyse terminals, some on desktop PCs. The project I was on before that was maintaining a desktop suite that was backed up by specialist software on Citrix in the datacentre. The main motivation for this was so that the client didn't have to buy top-spec machines for every desk when most users would only be emailing and writing Word .docs. The same principle applies in schools.

In fact, I would argue that it's in the interests of educational software suppliers to move to a thin-client model. The current heterogenity of the PC market makes software support a real headache. If they were to start supplying their software preinstalled on a small server, and only install VNC on the desktops, then it wouldn't matter what software and hardware the PCs were running, the actual execution environment would be identical.

Re:Why? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100059)

That works for specialized tasks.

You can't import a gig of photos from an SD card for the school Yearbook club on a Pi running VNC to a server. It would choke and the gimp would kill the graphics hardware on the server if it had to support 300 users running it.

Schools still use Macs because they are cheaper to support and have a lower TCO than PC headaches for many schools. Anchorage is one school district that is still Mac based and for this reason support costs are lowered. The secretaries at the schools use Parrels for their Windows 2003 server software for school attendance from their iMacs running terminal server. Its always having problems during exam time as so many teachers log into the same servers to upgrade grades that it crashes as single point of failure.

These things are as useful as Lego Mindstorms used by some highschool courses but that is about it. I just do not want to see them replace macs and pcs because of some idiot cost accountant looking to get his bonus.

Re:Why? (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40099763)

Because "educational software" and "children's oriented flash websites" are not the target. The target is to get kids using Python and C. You know, computer science, not computer consumerism.

Re:Why? (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100079)

It can't run most educational software nor children's oriented flash websites. I do not see the value in these.

I agree, I see no value in flash websites either.

(quote> the article is looking at these as Mac and PC replacements for outdated equipment.

Did you read the same article as me? I saw an article talking about using them to teach computer science. While HTML5/flash is part of computer science everything you need to know to get the principles of computer science could have been learnt on an Amiga or Zx Spectrum. The platform does not matter as long as it is hackable* and interesting**.
*i.e. you have access to the low level bits and when you break them they're easy to fix.
** i.e. it has the capabilities of a low-mid range smart phone, which it does.

Re:Why? (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 2 years ago | (#40100483)

The Raspberry Pi people have made it clear that they want the initial batches of the boards in the hands of developers first and foremost.
Guess what ? thats where 90% (i imagine!) of them are ending up at the moment. I have hopes that sort of saturation there will be a substantial amount
of software appearing in the coming months. I also imagine that there is a ton of open source education software out there that will not be too much
trouble to compile for ARM. There are also distro's like Edubuntu which are prime candidates for porting !

I have a much more optimistic view about things and i really hope this turns out to be a success!

As with any new computer or games console - no point in putting them in the hands of consumers until there is a good software library to boot!

N ...

Well it HAD to happen! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40099371)

ICT was always a load of crap, good riddance to bad trash.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>