I teach high school sciences and technology in Port-de-Paix, Haiti. This year we replaced our aging Windows-centric computer lab environment with new monitors, keyboards, mice and Raspberry Pi model 3 computers. We're using PiNet to make it all happen and its really going well. We're teaching skills, not products.
The only technical issues that we have experienced are, I believe, tied to PiNet (which I still love). Minecraft has a couple of quirks when using PiNet and any program written that assumes a username of 'pi' won't setup icons correctly. Where I am looking for ideas is in the area of software mostly.
In Haiti, outside of the capital, most folks don't have electricity. Computers are rare and mostly used to watch movies. Typing and using a mouse or trackpad are truly uncommon skills. Due to our resources, our students start computer classes in 11th grade. I'm trying to push that down and get kids computing at lower grades. Most of my students will get to high school having never touched a keyboard or mouse. We teach typing. I don't know if everyone else in the world still teaches typing, but we do. So, back on topic:
My wishlist for teaching computing in a developing country:
- A typing software package that tracks all the usual typing stats (Master Key is a great commercial product, but Windows and MacOS only)
- A kid-friendly paint program that includes the ability to save work (looking at TuxPaint right now) In the past I used MSPaint to help students develop some hand-eye coordination.
- Minecraft. Most of my students have never seen it before. A couple have said 'what about this feature or that'. Will Minecraft ever move forward with some of the features it has on other platforms?
- Database projects - please. Is there a tiny SQL out there that runs on the Pi? We need some great tutorials that start a the beginning. Does anyone make a fairly light-weight DB app with a GUI for Raspbian?
- More ways to use BT. Beacons, sensor data collection, etc.
- Projects that get kids and Pi's outside.
- Tips on what to do if the micro-USB power connector is getting worn out or damaged. Is there a tutorial for how to power the Pi without the micro-USB connector?
- A power switch. Third-party solutions exist, but they add another cost/asset to manage.
- For the RPF to explore ways to support PiNet in a more official capacity. (I don't know exactly what I mean by that, but I've put all my eggs in the PiNet basket and would love it if 'new' at the foundation equaled 'new' in PiNet. I guess official support would reduce the lag between PiNet supported Raspian versions and make me worry less that Andrew is going to get burnt out).
- For there to be an organized software listing of up-to-date (currently maintained) packages that work great on Pi hardware, are noted as being multi-user environment (PiNet) friendly or not.
It's all wishlist stuff. Maybe some of this already exists. Point me toward it and I'll be thrilled. Being where electricity and internet are scarce and unreliable maybe makes things a bit more challenging. If anyone else is using the Pi in remote areas, chime in with your challenges. If you're teaching in the first world and you need a software package, let's hear about it. Maybe a person who is more developer, perhaps less teacher will take up the challenge.