So how would you and your school implement a Computer Science course below A-level?
If your answer is that you would never implement such a course, then the RaspPi is obviously surplus to requirements. However if you do intend to implement such a course I would be interested to hear what hardware you were intending to use.
We are implementing a Computing course next year for years 10-11. They get one GCSE from it. The whole course can be covered using free programming software from the Internet such as Scratch and Kodu - which we already have installed on our machines. Also, they use the Microsoft Office software that is already installed and the Serif graphics/web software that again is already installed. There is no need for the R-Pi at such a low level.
Something else is that kids need to be controlled to keep them productive - unless you are working with a small focus group. I have classes of 25-30. We use software called LANSchool to restrict their access to games, apps they don't need and the Internet. if we didn't do this: whenever our backs are turned they would be off-task playing a game or looking up what Justin Beiber is currently upto! We wouldn't be able to do something like this with the R-Pi. Also, we couldn't safely join them to our Windows Server 2008 domain as the technicians wouldn't be able to restrict the R-Pis enough. Especially when all the kids have to do is bring in an SD-card from home with a different OS on and use that to hack the network or play Quake 2!
So I believe the R-Pi is good for small groups managed very closely at secondary level, or for Computing/computer science specialists at A-level or above. Or for kids to hack around with at home. One of ours has ordered one. But when I asked him what he was going to use for a case he just gave me a blank look so his will probably short out in a week and he'll go back to playing Minecraft in his free time!
Just a FYI,
Scratch works fine on a Raspi.
Office style apps also work fine (LibreOffice is a bit heavyweight but there are alternatives)
Don't want games? Don't install then.
Don't want Justin Beiber (why???), don't install a webbrowser. Same with general internet access.
Raspi is a Linux system - network security is all there, it's just needs to be set up. More secure than Windows....
Minus Points :
Yes, they could bring in their own SD card. (or tie wrap the base one in?). Although I would say that if your network can be hacked just by adding a machine to it, then your network isn't secure enough.
It's not a CPU powerhouse, so some things are a bit slow.
So, if all you need to buy is a monitor, this £22+vat device could save you a lot of money in PC's. Note, all the software above is free.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
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