Classroom Setup

Drop in for a chat and a cup of tea

65 posts   Page 1 of 3   1, 2, 3
by eric.frederich » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:25 pm
I'm curious about how these things are envisioned to be used. Below are some thoughts and unorganized rambling questions. These devices aren't out yet, but I'm sure people already have pictures in their heads on how some of these things will play out.

Each student have their own so that they can take it home and use on a TV or a monitor with HDMI?

Even if it is possible to get one for each student in a classroom, surly having 25 to 30 monitors / keyboards in a classroom would be impracticable. So, would you have a small center, perhaps a table with say 4-10 monitors each with an always on, fixed RP device? In that case each student has their own SD card rather than their own device?

Networked storage for home directories of students? How would that work when students need to finish work at home (without them becoming an expert in rsync)?

If its not an entire school that wants to embrace RP, but just a single teacher, how could they handle funding? An underpaid teacher might be able to afford 4 of these for their classroom and ask for donations from parents for additional ones. Have parents buy their own kid one and at the end of the year keep it or donate it back to the classroom for the following year?

Thanks,
~Eric
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:53 am
by liz » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:05 pm
Well, these points aren't really for the foundation, but for schools and politicians. We do hope to see lots of kids using them at home as well as at school - and yes our aim is absolutely that children should have their own Raspberry Pi so they aren't limited to using it in a classroom setting. I remember a room full of BBC Micros in my school, which was large enough for everyone in the class to sit two to a machine; I'd expect that sort of ratio to still persist. The whole reason for keeping the price as low as it is is to ensure that kids have their own Raspberry Pi, and do not have to share a class device.

We've worked out that a single philanthropist (who could be a parent, a governor, a local business owner or…anybody, let alone a teacher) could equip a whole classroom for £500 with Gift Aid in the UK. I believe there are similar tax rebate schemes for charitable donations in other countries. An enterprising school should definitely be able to raise the necessary money from the community (and enterprising schools already tap local businesses in this way for equipment) - the sums are so small that you could fund a class via something as simple as a bake sale; we definitely do not envisage kids having to give their Raspberry Pi back at the end of the year (what sensible school would only teach programming for one year anyway?) and wouldn't encourage the idea. Some parents, of course, will, we hope, be buying them for their kids anyway. There are lots and lots of routes in here.
--
Head of Comms, Raspberry Pi Foundation
User avatar
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Posts: 4084
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:22 pm
by riffraff » Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:02 am
I live in the Atlanta, GA, US area and did a quick lookup of local prices on Wal-Mart's web site - a Coby 15.6" 720P LCD TV with HDMI inputs - $89US, a Microsoft wireless keyboard/mouse combo with USB transceiver - $19US. A whole set of stations for 30 students - $3500US. Quit whining, bake some cookies and sell some dang candy bars. =) The real problem, of course, is getting someone in a classroom that understands programming and can stir the imagination of young minds. The added benefit is what they'll be using is NOT a finished product. No fancy steel and plastic cases. !ZOMG! NAKED electronics! We might actually corrupt their impressionable little minds and ignite a LUST for HARDWARE HACKING! GET thee BEHIND me SATAN! =)
User avatar
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:17 am
Location: Newnan, Georgia, US
by Warringer » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:50 pm
Quote from riffraff on October 30, 2011, 08:02
The real problem, of course, is getting someone in a classroom that understands programming and can stir the imagination of young minds. The added benefit is what they'll be using is NOT a finished product. No fancy steel and plastic cases. !ZOMG! NAKED electronics! We might actually corrupt their impressionable little minds and ignite a LUST for HARDWARE HACKING! GET thee BEHIND me SATAN! =)

You say that as if that was a bad thing... :p
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:04 pm
by gbl08ma » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:38 pm
Quote from Warringer on October 31, 2011, 16:50
You say that as if that was a bad thing... :p


And for many IT-related companies, it is a bad thing. Look at Apple, if almost everybody knew how and wanted to dismantle iPods, iPhones and the like to see how they are inside and hack them... :)

(BTW, if you look at Oranges, it's the same thing, only the fruit on the back changes. And no patented rounded corners.)
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:54 pm
by Skygod » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:43 am
Quote from riffraff on October 30, 2011, 08:02
Coby 15.6" 720P LCD TV with HDMI inputs - $89US
Microsoft wireless keyboard/mouse combo with USB transceiver - $19US.
A whole set of stations for 30 students - $3500US.


30 x ($89 + $19 + $25 [Model A]) = $3990

I do agree though that the biggest problem is going to be the cost of a display, so I'm looking out for old x86 systems with CRT monitors from companies here that I can get for zero / low cost. These would then be used to VNC into the Raspberry Pi.

For home, every family has access to a TV nowadays, so a simple composite hookup should at least be possible.
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:22 am
by kme » Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:03 am
I do agree though that the biggest problem is going to be the cost of a display, so I'm looking out for old x86 systems with CRT monitors from companies here that I can get for zero / low cost. These would then be used to VNC into the Raspberry Pi.
Most likely the second hand x86 units you can get are at least as powerful as i.e. P-III that went out of production eight years ago (unless you really need h.264). The R-PI is powerwise as a 700 MHz P-III. Hooking one of these up against a R-PI makes little sense. And VNC is completely old-school. You need to look at thin client OSs as LTSP or Thinstation and connect to a decent server over RDP or NX. VNC is hopeless with many users.

But a R-PI uses a LOT less energy, is much smaller and is sexier, if that counts.
Posts: 448
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:37 am
by Vindicator » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:14 am
I agree with Riffraff the problem is not hardware, students and qualified teacher with a desire to break from the school systems curriculum and delve into uncharted territories of Linux, ARM and NON MS products that they may have limited or no experience with.
(Without any teaching certifications I am sure any number of organizations would be at my heals for this alone, especially in the state of California.)

The next hurdle would be a place to hold court with the utilities and net access. The woman of the house would certainly object to 30 or so intruders in our home with computers and TVs stuffed into every conceivable corner in the house.

I'm Not well to do by any measure but could credit card 4000 in little or no time at all. For the equipment. (And again a very unhappy life partner in tow).
If you are more worried about ,spelling, punctuation or grammar you have probably already missed the point so please just move on.
User avatar
Posts: 314
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:10 pm
Location: Susanville Ca USA
by Skygod » Tue Nov 01, 2011 5:32 am
Quote from kme on November 1, 2011, 04:03
Most likely the second hand x86 units you can get are at least as powerful as i.e. P-III that went out of production eight years ago (unless you really need h.264). The R-PI is powerwise as a 700 MHz P-III. Hooking one of these up against a R-PI makes little sense. And VNC is completely old-school. You need to look at thin client OSs as LTSP or Thinstation and connect to a decent server over RDP or NX. VNC is hopeless with many users.

But a R-PI uses a LOT less energy, is much smaller and is sexier, if that counts.


Without a budget to purchase HDMI / DVI monitors and with no simple way to connect VGA monitors, the only way I can see to have several users access their own Raspberry Pi machines at the same time is via x86 hardware.

At the end of the 'class', they simply take their Raspberry Pi home and use it connected to their own TV.

I was simply using VNC as an example for making a connection to enable viewing the ouput from the Raspberry Pi on a VGA monitor.

What I'd really like to able to do is to have a DSI to LVDS bridge add on for the Raspberry Pi and have the 'desks' equipped with just an LCD panel which would then allow up to WXGA resolution and considerably lower power requirements.

(Often the same sources for old desktops have old laptops that have 'died' and are beyond economic repair, but screens are okay. The biggest problem here would be getting cables to connect from the LVDS transmitter to the panels )
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:22 am
by Lob0426 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:58 pm
The display issue is going to be the single largest outlay of cash for a school. But this is still much cheaper than buying even netbooks for a class room. At home the family TV will work just fine.
512MB version 2.0 as WordPress Server
Motorola Lapdock with 512MB
Modded Rev 1.0 with pin headers at USB

http://rich1.dyndns.tv/
(RS)Allied ships old stock to reward its Customers for long wait!
User avatar
Posts: 1912
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:30 pm
Location: Susanville CA.
by Bacan » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:09 pm
Does HDMI/DVI have a "Same As" mode that matches an old fashion conventional TV display?

Thinking about the student designing using HDMI at school, then runs it at home on a salvaged TV.
Two different environments in screen size at the least. Software designers, are back to the lowest common level of available resources, issue. Build for the old TV or 1080p.

It could be an item that might handicap or at the least frustrate a new computer programmer/learner.
Posts: 347
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:03 pm
by riffraff » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:02 am
Quote from Vindicator on November 1, 2011, 05:14
I agree with Riffraff the problem is not hardware, students and qualified teacher with a desire to break from the school systems curriculum and delve into uncharted territories of Linux, ARM and NON MS products that they may have limited or no experience with.
(Without any teaching certifications I am sure any number of organizations would be at my heals for this alone, especially in the state of California.)

The next hurdle would be a place to hold court with the utilities and net access. The woman of the house would certainly object to 30 or so intruders in our home with computers and TVs stuffed into every conceivable corner in the house.

I'm Not well to do by any measure but could credit card 4000 in little or no time at all. For the equipment. (And again a very unhappy life partner in tow).


I have hopes for the charter and private schools, the educational system here in Georgia is certainly nothing like it was when I was of that age. There's so much state and federal involvement it's created a tremendous fear of challenging the status quo these days. When Radio Shack came out with the Color Computers, I joined an Atlanta area users group, they congregated monthly at a local middle school and we'd all mob a chem lab or something.

Though the tech was more primative, the accoutrement was similar: computers, disk drives and portable televisions and MANY power strips. Some others, like me, repackaged for convenience. My rig was a CoCo II, dual disks (pirate-time!), portable color TV and detachable keyboard built Osborne-like into a .50 Cal. ammo case. Though the net didn't exist then, they allowed us access to the phone lines so we could hook up modems for such things as demonstrating a new BBS or showing off something on a CIS SIG.

The advantage we have now is that these kind of gatherings can go virtual. You don't have to cram so many individuals in a room, you can video chat with other clusters and sharing open-source stuff isn't piracy! =). Sharing info on such groups may become a critical function of the foundation. I think the real work is going "underground".
User avatar
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:17 am
Location: Newnan, Georgia, US
by riffraff » Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:13 am
Quote from Skygod on November 1, 2011, 03:43
Quote from riffraff on October 30, 2011, 08:02
Coby 15.6" 720P LCD TV with HDMI inputs - $89US
Microsoft wireless keyboard/mouse combo with USB transceiver - $19US.
A whole set of stations for 30 students - $3500US.


30 x ($89 + $19 + $25 [Model A]) = $3990

I do agree though that the biggest problem is going to be the cost of a display, so I'm looking out for old x86 systems with CRT monitors from companies here that I can get for zero / low cost. These would then be used to VNC into the Raspberry Pi.

For home, every family has access to a TV nowadays, so a simple composite hookup should at least be possible.


My assumption was that the lab is just an LZ for classes and the burden of purchasing a pi (pref Mod. B) would be on the student. Certainly parents can give up one carton or Marlboros or one case of Bud to buy a computer for their kid. ;)
User avatar
Posts: 305
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:17 am
Location: Newnan, Georgia, US
by subminiature » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:52 pm
$100 netbook running Ubuntu works out cheaper but small screen 800x480.

The big outlay is the wiring of 40 (double) sockets in each class room needed to use the computer the pupil has with them. Mains trunking is expensive. Even the Ethernet cabling is expensive as are HDMI cables. TVs or old CRT with composite video were a poor choice in the days of the 80 character 25 line model B and not up to 1080p and all that the tiny Raspi can do.
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:27 pm
by Skygod » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:35 pm
Okay, my full situation is that I'm building a house in Northen Thailand. I've got 800 sqm of land, so a covered shelter as a classroom is no big issue as the villagers have told me that they will build it to assist their childrens learning. In return, I'm expected to enhance their English language skills and introduce them to IT.

If everything goes well, the 'headman' of the village has indicate that he will approve some budget from the village to buy some Pi devices for the local school.

I will be responsible for teaching basic 'intro to computing' and making something of benefit to the community, so building a community website will probably be the initial 'goal'.

I will be paying from my own pocket for a decent broadband connection ( 16Mb ) and have been promised 10 secondhand Linksys WRT54G routers by a company in Pattaya for free. These will be acting as wireless bridge repeaters and many villagers have stated that they will pay the electric cost to run these routers 24hours per day from their homes, so we should get good village coverage.

It's ambitious, but we were talking about the concept before I found the Raspberry Pi initiative.

This is the excitement level that this device is generating!

If you suddenly find a number of applicants for jobs from Si Patoom / Loei Province / Thailand, you'll know that we succeeded :-)
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:22 am
by liz » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:41 pm
That's superb news - you've no *idea* how good it makes us feel to read about projects like yours. I hope you'll be keeping us updated.
--
Head of Comms, Raspberry Pi Foundation
User avatar
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Posts: 4084
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:22 pm
by Skygod » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:06 pm
But can you truly envisage the scenario of turning up to class?

There will be kids arriving with their Pi along with the family TV and it'll all be delivered with mom / dad / sisters / brothers all sat on a 110cc motorbike.

Unless you've experienced Thai 'logistics', you'd never belive it.. (BUT THEY WILL DO IT!)

As I've stated in other threads, this initiative really excites me, but my biggest concern is the logistics of displays in a class environment.

My longer term goal is to attempt to get a local producer ( 'Acer' or 'Asus' ) to buy into the idea and provide a full DSI interface to panel display at low cost. ( Again it's ambtious, but you have to set the bar high or else what's the point?)
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:22 am
by liz » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:14 pm
Well, I've experienced Malaysian 'logistics' (I'm only half-English)…so I can quite imagine the issues you're facing! The entire-family-plus-pets-and-furniture on a little scooter scenario is horribly familiar.
--
Head of Comms, Raspberry Pi Foundation
User avatar
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Foundation Employee & Forum Moderator
Posts: 4084
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:22 pm
by Burngate » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:23 pm
This is exactly what I was hoping could happen!
Also I would hope things like this are where the buy-one-give-one donations are going.
Only being one of the congregation, I have no idea how that would be sorted - how someone would qualify to recieve a GO-from-a-BO - but this seems like it ought to be somewhere near the top.
Wyszkowski's Second Law: Anything can be made to work if you fiddle with it long enough.
Brain surgery is easier than psychoanalysis
User avatar
Posts: 2764
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 4:34 pm
Location: Berkshire UK
by Bacan » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:29 pm
SkyGod: Please share your thoughts on what you will be needing in the way of software applications.
Assume I know very little about Thailand and your location.

* Are classes taught in multiple languages? (Thai, English and/or ??? )
* Will students need to understand English, before learning "Computer" ?
* Should "Computer" be translated into Thai ?
* Will cultural preservation classes, using the computer, be useful?
Or has modern civilization not yet destroyed the village's culture?

So many areas for asking questions about what your going to do.

Personally, I would want the R-Pi to enhance the best of the existing lifestyle, not replace, what exists with the Rot and Desease of what some call Modern Civilization. In many cases, it is hard to know, What is Best, until 20/20 hindsight is applied. Most of the time after it is too late to save what was Best in the first place.

You will do wonderful work!
Let us know how to help.
Posts: 347
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:03 pm
by subminiature » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:30 pm
Quote from Skygod on November 3, 2011, 17:06
As I've stated in other threads, this initiative really excites me, but my biggest concern is the logistics of displays in a class environment.


And here even the 10 a week free cycle CRT monitors are not picked up and the local landfill/recycle centre always has 20 or so ready for crushing.
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:27 pm
by jamesh » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:41 pm
Quote from liz on November 3, 2011, 17:14
Well, I've experienced Malaysian 'logistics' (I'm only half-English)…so I can quite imagine the issues you're facing! The entire-family-plus-pets-and-furniture on a little scooter scenario is horribly familiar.


I cannot be the only person here wondering which half.

Surely?

Ok, maybe I am then.

I'll get my coat.
Unemployed software engineer currently specialising in camera drivers and frameworks, but can put mind to most embedded tasks. Got a job in N.Cambridge or surroundings? I'm interested!
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 11677
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by jamesh » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:51 pm
[b]The big outlay is the wiring of 40 (double) sockets in each class room needed to use the computer the pupil has with them. Mains trunking is expensive. Even the Ethernet cabling is expensive as are HDMI cables. TVs or old CRT with composite video were a poor choice in the days of the 80 character 25 line model B and not up to 1080p and all that the tiny Raspi can do.


Well, not sure where the big expense comes from. Depending on your location, mains wiring you can do yourself relatively cheaply. Although I would probably go for a big power supply feeding out lots of 5v cables. Custom made perhaps, but cheaper and less intrusive than mains. You could run >100 Pi's off one 13A socket here in the UK.

Ethernet cables are cheap (2m = $1 retail), as are HDMI if you know where to look.

Monitors as others have said are the only expensive item. Most TV's in the UK now have HDMI in, it's the schools that lag behind.
Unemployed software engineer currently specialising in camera drivers and frameworks, but can put mind to most embedded tasks. Got a job in N.Cambridge or surroundings? I'm interested!
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 11677
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by subminiature » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:12 pm
You can't have cables across the floor. The lab/room has to be correctly laid out. Trunking is £80 for a couple of metres. You can't do the cabling "yourself" anything going wrong and you are liable. I saw the issues with classrooms of BBC Model B back in 1988.

Even if you can run a hundred Raspi off a 13 am socket it is still a cable from the mains to the computer and you need a separate plug for each monitor.

Hence primary schools with laptops uncluttered by cables.

Other countries have different rules.
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:27 pm
by abishur » Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:42 pm
It's been a long time since I was in a primary or secondary school, but my teacher's/it team always got around this by either getting lucky and the school having built extra sockets right into the floor of the room (fairly popular in my school district even as far back as 20 years ago), or blocking off one side of the room with outlets so that there was only one aisle for walking down and then multiple rows coming off that one aisle.
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)
User avatar
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 4263
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:10 am
Location: USA