The low-cost computer, Raspberry Pi, has just gone on sale for £22.
Whilst it isn’t a full-featured computer, it is designed to be a low cost tool in aiding and assisting in the classroom. Running on open-source Linux and coming complete with slots to attach a monitor, keyboard and an ethernet port for high-speed internet, it is hoped this will become an attractive proposition for schools to teach new computer skills, like programming.
It is so bare-bones that the unit doesn’t come with a case – just the circuit boards. There is also hope that users of the unit will come up with software and uses for the unit that show off its capabilities.
However, there are warnings that this not-for-profit endeavour is still prone to hiccups. The unit itself still needs refinement, and the move from a budget rustled up by the six people who created it to a more professional operation may end up seeing the unit become bloated by commercial attractions.
It is, however, impressive to have a low-cost Linux system available for such a low cost. The problem is, with Windows having essentially made programming a lost art and a generation of kids who still think that tinkering under the hood of a computer is for the nerdy, it may still be a hard sell to get young people really interested in the meaty underbelly of how a computer works.
Time will tell. It’s fantastic that it exists. I just hope it’s a gamble that pays off.