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Helping the poorest kids?

Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:03 pm

Hi all,

Could Raspberry Pi be the answer to help the poorest children access the internet? Maplin do a kit with the Pi and Pi software SD card (inc GUI internet), keyboard, mouse, USB hub, Wi-Fi dongle etc for £100/- Add a mobile Wi-Fi dongle on PAYG, a Pi case and the family TV with a composite video input (or the preffered HDMI input) and off they go. (alternately go second hand for keyboard etc).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20899109

Steve.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:56 am

Soo, whats stoping these kids from using pcs at school / a library for education,

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:19 am

or getting a full second-hand PC for 20 quid...
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:20 am

aaa801 wrote:Soo, whats stoping these kids from using pcs at school / a library for education,
Nothing. But if you are learning programming/computers (the aim of the Raspi), those machines are generally locked down so it's not possible.

Of course, that's assuming these children have access to schools and libraries.
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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:49 pm

jamesh wrote:
aaa801 wrote:Soo, whats stoping these kids from using pcs at school / a library for education,
Nothing. But if you are learning programming/computers (the aim of the Raspi), those machines are generally locked down so it's not possible.

Of course, that's assuming these children have access to schools and libraries.
Mhm yes but that article was more directed at for education, heck i didn't get my first pc until i was about 6, and no internet until i was 13
Dad hated anything tech related

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:15 pm

aaa801 wrote:... heck i didn't get my first pc until i was about 6, and no internet until i was 13
I was 36 when I got my first computer. And I had to wait for someone to invent the internet ...

And now they're shutting the libraries ...

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:33 pm

You are also assuming that programming is the best way to go about teaching someone how to use a computer. I use a car that doesn't mean i need to know how to build or fix internally the car to do so ( although it helps). The goal isn't to necessarily teach them how to become programmers even though thats nice. The goal is to teach them how to use these computers where they will encounter them the most, I know I'm in a linux loving forum but i gotta advocate pcs for poor kids. These kids need experience using windows which is used in the places they will more likely work at. Jumping poor kids into linux seems stupid when you really think about it. It's overkill and they need practice on apps that they will encounter (ms office) and an os they will need to use as well. This push to get young kids to h.s kids started on programming while nice is pretty damn unnecessary and seems like the latest educational flavor of the moment.

Poor kids would be better off serviced by getting them low end windows windows pcs. Yes i know you have to worry about licensing but trust me pay for the stupid licenses and get second rate pcs. Yes I realize the goal is to keep cost down but in this case you'd be sacrificing a os pretty much every single workplace uses in favor of one used by programmers and coders. I'd rather have the kids waste their time in front of the machine learning how to use programs employers actually require

Whether u love linux or hate it practically, advocating it for kids isn't practical when they should be jumping into an os they will actually encounter daily and that would be windows.

Basically regurgitating the same thing i posted in the other education thread :)

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:39 pm

mediakill wrote:You are also assuming that programming is the best way to go about teaching someone how to use a computer. I use a car that doesn't mean i need to know how to build or fix internally the car to do so ( although it helps). The goal isn't to necessarily teach them how to become programmers even though thats nice. The goal is to teach them how to use these computers where they will encounter them the most, I know I'm in a linux loving forum but i gotta advocate pcs for poor kids. These kids need experience using windows which is used in the places they will more likely work at. Jumping poor kids into linux seems stupid when you really think about it. It's overkill and they need practice on apps that they will encounter (ms office) and an os they will need to use as well. This push to get young kids to h.s kids started on programming while nice is pretty damn unnecessary and seems like the latest educational flavor of the moment.

Poor kids would be better off serviced by getting them low end windows windows pcs. Yes i know you have to worry about licensing but trust me pay for the stupid licenses and get second rate pcs. Yes I realize the goal is to keep cost down but in this case you'd be sacrificing a os pretty much every single workplace uses in favor of one used by programmers and coders. I'd rather have the kids waste their time in front of the machine learning how to use programs employers actually require

Whether u love linux or hate it practically, advocating it for kids isn't practical when they should be jumping into an os they will actually encounter daily and that would be windows.

Basically regurgitating the same thing i posted in the other education thread :)
For general IT studies, you are right (much as I wish it were different), however The Foundation's aims are not general IT but programming skills, they believe that there is a large and increasing gap there. In your car example, the RPi is aimed at a mechanics course, not driving lessons, they (hopefully) are already provided.
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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:49 am

mediakill wrote:You are also assuming that programming is the best way to go about teaching someone how to use a computer. I use a car that doesn't mean i need to know how to build or fix internally the car to do so ( although it helps). The goal isn't to necessarily teach them how to become programmers even though thats nice. The goal is to teach them how to use these computers where they will encounter them the most, I know I'm in a linux loving forum but i gotta advocate pcs for poor kids. These kids need experience using windows which is used in the places they will more likely work at. Jumping poor kids into linux seems stupid when you really think about it. It's overkill and they need practice on apps that they will encounter (ms office) and an os they will need to use as well. This push to get young kids to h.s kids started on programming while nice is pretty damn unnecessary and seems like the latest educational flavor of the moment.

Poor kids would be better off serviced by getting them low end windows windows pcs. Yes i know you have to worry about licensing but trust me pay for the stupid licenses and get second rate pcs. Yes I realize the goal is to keep cost down but in this case you'd be sacrificing a os pretty much every single workplace uses in favor of one used by programmers and coders. I'd rather have the kids waste their time in front of the machine learning how to use programs employers actually require

Whether u love linux or hate it practically, advocating it for kids isn't practical when they should be jumping into an os they will actually encounter daily and that would be windows.

Basically regurgitating the same thing i posted in the other education thread :)
I think advocating Linux for children is a great idea. At their age they can absorb information like a sponge. A decent Linux should be no problem, and whilst most people might find Linux knowledge doesn't benefit them at work, for a lot of people it will, even in non computer programming fields. It also moves then away from propriety software, and will save them a lot of money!
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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:50 pm

mediakill wrote:Poor kids would be better off serviced by getting them low end windows windows pcs. Yes i know you have to worry about licensing but trust me pay for the stupid licenses and get second rate pcs. Yes I realize the goal is to keep cost down but in this case you'd be sacrificing a os pretty much every single workplace uses in favor of one used by programmers and coders. I'd rather have the kids waste their time in front of the machine learning how to use programs employers actually require

Whether u love linux or hate it practically, advocating it for kids isn't practical when they should be jumping into an os they will actually encounter daily and that would be windows.

Basically regurgitating the same thing i posted in the other education thread :)
The long term trend for MS products is not looking good. This holiday season tablets and smart phones cleaned PC/Laptop clocks in sales. I know many parents who's kids wanted tablets more then a laptop/PC and those tablets were either Android or IOS based...not one asked for a tablet with MS OS on it. By the time kids enter the workforce I really wonder how much MS will still be integral in business...BYOD is already a problem in most work places today and it's only going to grow stronger. I think it's just as important to have Android OS on the pi as is Linux...MS OS, not so much. Don't think about today, for kids you need to think about tomorrow and MS doesn't figure in on that timeline if today's trends are any indication of the future.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:12 pm

I think the Pi is ideal for 'financially disadvantaged' kids including those in the developing world, although there are poor sections in every society. I wish there was some kind of intelligently targeted initiative to supply them.

Perhaps there is and I don't know about it? If so it maybe needs to raise its profile. I would be willing to help set one up with other interested people if there isn't - the hardest part would be the intelligently targeting bit.

Perhaps the first thing to do in that instance could be to approach other trusted organisations supplying disadvantaged kids to see if they would be interested in partnership working to do the distribution. In the UK the qualifying criteria could be their receipt of free school meals, although establishing genuine interest to use the Pi once provided might not be so easy. This might be better done on a local level by local groups as from my experience wrking in the 3rd sector, there are often established local groups in most localities.

I think there could well be an untapped donator base out there as the Pi has generated a lot of interest amoung people who share the aims of educating children.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:12 pm

mediakill wrote:You are also assuming that programming is the best way to go about teaching someone how to use a computer. I use a car that doesn't mean i need to know how to build or fix internally the car to do so ( although it helps). The goal isn't to necessarily teach them how to become programmers even though thats nice. [...] This push to get young kids to h.s kids started on programming while nice is pretty damn unnecessary and seems like the latest educational flavor of the moment.
The goal is to teach computer literacy beyond MS Office applications. Having some understanding of how computers work and how they are programmed is valuable even for those that won't become programmers. For example in linguistics or information science the computers are creeping in and computer literacy and even programming skills will be very important. This will probably be the same for many scientific fields were you can't expect that there is a already an application that does exactly what you want. Science and computer science will go hand in hand.

I just today read that with generic title of "office worker" there is no jobs to be found in Finland. So how useful is mastering MS Office for employment?
mediakill wrote:The goal is to teach them how to use these computers where they will encounter them the most, I know I'm in a linux loving forum but i gotta advocate pcs for poor kids. These kids need experience using windows which is used in the places they will more likely work at. Jumping poor kids into linux seems stupid when you really think about it. It's overkill and they need practice on apps that they will encounter (ms office) and an os they will need to use as well.
Windows is most popular but there is also workplaces that use Macs. I think that Google employees have to choose between Macintosh and Linux - no Windows option.
mediakill wrote: Poor kids would be better off serviced by getting them low end windows windows pcs. Yes i know you have to worry about licensing but trust me pay for the stupid licenses and get second rate pcs. Yes I realize the goal is to keep cost down but in this case you'd be sacrificing a os pretty much every single workplace uses in favor of one used by programmers and coders. I'd rather have the kids waste their time in front of the machine learning how to use programs employers actually require.
It would be too cruel to 4-12 year old children. And the programs will have changed by the time the kids are actually looking for jobs.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:26 pm

Sleep Mode zZ wrote:
mediakill wrote:The goal is to teach them how to use these computers where they will encounter them the most, I know I'm in a linux loving forum but i gotta advocate pcs for poor kids. These kids need experience using windows which is used in the places they will more likely work at. Jumping poor kids into linux seems stupid when you really think about it. It's overkill and they need practice on apps that they will encounter (ms office) and an os they will need to use as well.
Windows is most popular but there is also workplaces that use Macs. I think that Google employees have to choose between Macintosh and Linux - no Windows option.
Yep, Windows is by far in the minority at Google. I was at IBM 2007-2011, and even there I saw a huge increase in Macs in my last 2-3 years.

I wonder if my Dad debated teaching me on DOS, Apple IIe, Unix, or our Amiga based on what he thought I would be using 20 years later. :-) This isn't job training, it's teaching them general concepts and getting them interested in computers and technology.


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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:40 pm

This is just a high tech version of Mitra's Hole in the Wall experiments, the first of which was over a decade ago. Unsurprisingly, there are no details of the cost of this experiment - initial costs, maintenance, support etc.

Negropronte believes that you can hand out computers to kids and walk away. I don't.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:08 pm

It seems both experiments indicate it can be done:

http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_s ... elves.html

Anyhow, what people believe isn't interesting. Some even believe there's a flying spaghetti monster :lol:

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:32 pm

cyrano wrote:...Anyhow, what people believe isn't interesting.
Agreed. Which is why the best person to tell you that a social science "experiment" was a success isn't usually the person who carried it out. Or anyone for that matter.

Post hoc reasoning is easy -- real easy -- randomised controlled trials somewhat harder. Because as any Pastafarian will tell you, lack of pirates causes global warming. ;)

What I should have written in my post above is, "Negropronte believes that you can hand out computers to kids and walk away. He has not provided any evidence, however, to support this assertion -- merely anecdotes." My beliefs have no bearing on the matter whatsoever.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:21 pm

clive wrote:Which is why the best person to tell you that a social science "experiment" was a success isn't usually the person who carried it out. Or anyone for that matter.
Mitra seemed fairly unassuming about his experiments and presented them as a way to think differently about education. Seeing where the world is today, I think we have a great need for a different approach. Computers are cheap and easy to come by. Teachers, especially good teachers are not. Let's put a Raspberry in a well laid out box, with a battery and solar power, a screen, of course and construct a lot of holes in the wall. And let's stop pretending we understand what these poor kids in rural areas or in slum towns need. I have a couple of friends in Africa I would like to send such a kit and just see how it goes.

It's still better than buying Africa. That's what American universities have been doing. And moving some tens of thousands people from their homeland doesn't seem to bother them either. So I wouldn't want to leave the faith of education in their hands anyways.
Post hoc reasoning is easy -- real easy -- randomised controlled trials somewhat harder. Because as any Pastafarian will tell you, lack of pirates causes global warming. ;)
Hadn't heard that one :lol:
What I should have written in my post above is, "Negropronte believes that you can hand out computers to kids and walk away. He has not provided any evidence, however, to support this assertion -- merely anecdotes." My beliefs have no bearing on the matter whatsoever.
You could be right about Negroponte. All of the OLPC projects have failed in one way or another. But still, he tried and made some people in the west aware of the broadening gap between rich and poor. That's also an accomplishment.

And remember education wasn't really excited with Khan academy either. And that one is a huge succes.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:39 pm

cyrano wrote:... And let's stop pretending we understand what these poor kids in rural areas or in slum towns need.
I completely agree. It's a big problem and always has been. Here's a thought: their main need might not even be computers! ;)
And remember education wasn't really excited with Khan academy either. And that one is a huge succes.
I'm a teacher and I love Khan Academy (and MOOCs in general ). Not all of us are threatened by RoboTeachers :D

But yes - Mitra has some very interesting things to say. As does Negroponte if you can see past the PR.


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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:36 pm

mediakill wrote:...
Whether u love linux or hate it practically, advocating it for kids isn't practical when they should be jumping into an os they will actually encounter daily and that would be windows.
..
well
my sister works in London , for her job she must use osx ;)
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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:47 pm

Well yeah osx is also used but its numbers are far less than windows (and no I'm not trying to turn this into a thread on windows vs. mac. vs. linux ; trust me i'm sure no ones in that kinda mood) in the workplace numbers wise. If u saw my comments in other threads on this topic it pretty much is the same. While i adore raspberry pi and linux I'm seriously wondering where peoples heads are at for advocating raspberry pi and linux as some cure all for poor kids to start on pcs. RPi is not some kinda panacea its 35 bucks but the system is lacking in so many ways to make it a practical teaching computer ( no power switch, underpowered usb, etc etc.). Its not 35 bucks but more when you add on the hardware thats not included. Its a tinker toy not a teaching machine. How many h.s teachers u know are in place that can teach linux programming to get young kids interested. Factor in cost of hiring teachers for that. Factor in cost of extra hardware and infrastructure. Add it all up and its wishful thinking.

They have so little classroom time and you really imagine with their time in class they wanna be pimped on programming??? if programming was so much fun and so interesting everyone would be saying how fun it is and alot more would be doing it for a living. Better that they spend it on windows so when the time comes they can say yeah i know word powerpoint, excel, quickbooks hell anything else that they can put on their resume to be more competitive in the workplace. Thos apps and the windows os make them more competitive. Sadly not saying yes i am familiar with linux and can code python, c++, whatever unless they are applying for a programmer position specifically.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:12 am

hi all,

i spent some time travelling in Ghana (Accra) this summer and was really impressed by the ingenuity of the people there. that generally holds true for most 3rd world countries i have been to. they also have relatively cheap access to data services via a multitude of wireless providers.

been brainstorming ideas for an educational project there, and i have a decent network of contacts built up. after reading through this thread, i'd be excited to try setting up a small computer school.

say, a network of 5 to 10 Pis in a room, with a PC as a server connected to skype/ekiga. (or a hacked playstation3 just to be badass)

the data connectivity could be done via a 3g dongle, and pointed at a tower if need be. (there are lots of old antenna dishes to be found)

so... an appropriate building could be a standard "shop", which are about the size of 2 shipping containers side by side. those can be rented for approx. $1000 to $2000 for a 3 year lease.

so, voila, instant computer school. kids will become geniuses trying to figure out how to play games on the network.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:39 am

mediakill wrote:Well yeah osx is also used but its numbers are far less than windows (and no I'm not trying to turn this into a thread on windows vs. mac. vs. linux ; trust me i'm sure no ones in that kinda mood) in the workplace numbers wise. If u saw my comments in other threads on this topic it pretty much is the same. While i adore raspberry pi and linux I'm seriously wondering where peoples heads are at for advocating raspberry pi and linux as some cure all for poor kids to start on pcs. RPi is not some kinda panacea its 35 bucks but the system is lacking in so many ways to make it a practical teaching computer ( no power switch, underpowered usb, etc etc.). Its not 35 bucks but more when you add on the hardware thats not included. Its a tinker toy not a teaching machine. How many h.s teachers u know are in place that can teach linux programming to get young kids interested. Factor in cost of hiring teachers for that. Factor in cost of extra hardware and infrastructure. Add it all up and its wishful thinking.
The majority isn't necessarily right.
They have so little classroom time and you really imagine with their time in class they wanna be pimped on programming??? if programming was so much fun and so interesting everyone would be saying how fun it is and alot more would be doing it for a living. Better that they spend it on windows so when the time comes they can say yeah i know word powerpoint, excel, quickbooks hell anything else that they can put on their resume to be more competitive in the workplace. Thos apps and the windows os make them more competitive. Sadly not saying yes i am familiar with linux and can code python, c++, whatever unless they are applying for a programmer position specifically.
Simply having a computer would be a very big boon to education.

You start by stating that Windows is everywhere and because of that, education shouldn't offer anything else. In developing countries, Windows isn't to be found, simply because there are no computers in schools. So, there is no reason to start kids off with an expensive computer, just to adhere to an old, rich world which doesn't offer them anything besides dependence on a dying system.

You really underestimate the ingenuity of mankind. Give them something to work with. It doesn't matter what. They'll find a way to adapt the technology to some of their needs. After all, Africans make sandals from old car tires, don't they?

And their first need is communication. Landlines never could add anything to rural areas, because they are expensive, so there aren't any. Mobile phone networks changed all that, because mobile phones are cheap these days. The RPi will do the same because it is very affordable and uses very little power. Leave the rest up to them and they will be creative, even if only a minority takes to programming. That's a natural thing. Fortunately, not everyone can become a fisherman, farmer or programmer.

Before the Internet, there were other networks. In France, Minitel was a huge success, because France Telecom gave everyone a terminal for free. Minitel survived until about a year ago, despite being completely obsoleted by the Internet. Outside of France, Minitel never really existed for long.

It's all about critical mass. One user won't do a thing. Have half a village connected and the village will change. Have an entire country connected and things will change rapidly and from the lowest levels up. Not top-down, as with most new technology.

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Re: Helping the poorest kids?

Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:07 am

cyrano wrote:
Simply having a computer would be a very big boon to education.

You start by stating that Windows is everywhere and because of that, education shouldn't offer anything else. In developing countries, Windows isn't to be found, simply because there are no computers in schools. So, there is no reason to start kids off with an expensive computer, just to adhere to an old, rich world which doesn't offer them anything besides dependence on a dying system.

You really underestimate the ingenuity of mankind. Give them something to work with. It doesn't matter what. They'll find a way to adapt the technology to some of their needs. After all, Africans make sandals from old car tires, don't they?

And their first need is communication. Landlines never could add anything to rural areas, because they are expensive, so there aren't any. Mobile phone networks changed all that, because mobile phones are cheap these days. The RPi will do the same because it is very affordable and uses very little power. Leave the rest up to them and they will be creative, even if only a minority takes to programming. That's a natural thing. Fortunately, not everyone can become a fisherman, farmer or programmer.

Before the Internet, there were other networks. In France, Minitel was a huge success, because France Telecom gave everyone a terminal for free. Minitel survived until about a year ago, despite being completely obsoleted by the Internet. Outside of France, Minitel never really existed for long.

It's all about critical mass. One user won't do a thing. Have half a village connected and the village will change. Have an entire country connected and things will change rapidly and from the lowest levels up. Not top-down, as with most new technology.
i like this... there are a lot of really bright kids out there. and for most of them technology is out of reach. they really have a desire to grow but are not given the resources. so the RPi is a really great initiative, we shouldn't put limitations based on what we assume to be possible.

i think a team of skilled kids could have small communities within cities and towns communicating with each other, and that would be a great benefit. it would be amazing to have cross-cultural education and sharing going. it could enable tele-medicine and remote teaching as well as facilitate trade/barter without using scarce currency

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