Page 1 of 2

Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:02 pm
by MrHague
Hi all,

I am a primary school teacher and would love to offer some kind of club for the kids, perhaps involving using Raspberry Pis.

I have one at home and generally just fumble around with it and magpie bits from here and there. I've had it run XBMC, Chameleon Pi and other stuff whilst at home. I would love to use it to teach myself some basics of coding but more importantly I'd like to use it in school.

However, my problem is, as enthusiastic as I am, I'm unsure of why should I use a Raspberry Pi with the kids instead of the school laptops.
I feel a bit of a fool for asking.

Thanks.

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:33 pm
by redhawk
I personally don't buy the argument that a Pi is a good for teaching computer languages therefore every school needs one, any desktop PC with software is just as capable (anyone remember the RM Nimbus??).

However, the Pi with it's GPIO interface does offer something more hands on and interesting than aimlessly tapping on the screen of an iPad or laptop mouse pad.
So you could connect switches, LEDs, LCDs, sensors, get the kids to write simple games etc I'm sure there are plenty of things you could do with a Pi.

Richard S.

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:50 pm
by jamesh
Well worth checking out the various comments in here and the other educational sub-forums. Lots of teachers posting, especially those who have just been to the Pi academy.

Also here...http://www.raspberrypi.org/community/

and here ...http://www.raspberrypi.org/resources/teach/

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:55 pm
by liz
Are you a teacher, Richard?

The GPIO offers a very powerful way to get kids interested in computing: flashing a pixel on and off isn't very interesting for a lot of kids: flashing an LED on and off is. A lot of resources are available, down to whole schemes of work (which we are always adding to), here on this website to help teachers make the most of the Pi too. You'll notice that a lot of them involve physical computing.

The portability and customisability of the Pi is important to kids; in schools where schemes can be set up so children own their Raspberry Pis we find that a lot of projects get done at home too. If you're in a position to give kids a sense of ownership over their equipment, it can work very well to get them emotionally invested in the subject.

It's worth looking at the Picademy discussions elsewhere on this forum; and at the blog, where we sometimes discuss what people are doing in schools.

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:00 pm
by MrHague
Wow. Very quick replies and very insightful. I will have a look through the other threads. Thank you for the links.
I am very excited to use them in school but now just need some direction.
Thanks again :)

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:17 pm
by MattHawkinsUK
You could also consider Python + Minecraft. A near perfect combination if you want kids to dabble in programming and have fun without getting too serious.

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri May 02, 2014 5:53 pm
by FirstTenor
I am not a teacher - but an IT consultant. I was asked this same question recently by a group of teachers ... My answer was 'To get the kids interested in more than 'consuming' programs that someone else has sold them'... Show them how they can solve real problems - like:

You have a Mars rover and you can program it to go from A to B .... You can't communicate with it continually and the messages take a few minutes to go in either direction ... How can it avoid rocks? ... Or

How can you record (I.e. Photograph) all the birds visiting a bird table?

There are lots of fascinating projects in these forums - and we will need all the motivated computer programmers, designers and problems solvers that we can get.

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:05 am
by morphy_richards
Cost and convenience.
School managed service providers (network managers) frequently unwilling to permit students under the hood of the school network,or to run their own compiled programs.
For some it's not an issue but for many it is.
Solution is to build a network with your students and allow them to use it.

Buying a classroom set of knackered old reconditioned laptops and or desktops for this is (usually) more expensive than buying raspberry pis (unless you are very lucky).

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:33 pm
by riklaunim
RPi should not replace existing real PCs and laptops. Instead it should be used for things they can't do - like make a robot or something like that - something that will move, flash or display something with optional control from the laptop. Programming seems more fun if your code can move something ;)

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:45 pm
by Tzarls
There´s also the added benefit of having to learn a new environment. The GUI, they´ll find it a little different from Windows´ but similar enough to find their ways easily. The command line? They´ll feel like hackers!

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:42 pm
by morphy_richards
To encourage students to think out of the box. A computer is not just a box that does office stuff and uses a sizeable fraction of the power of an oven .

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:54 pm
by fruitoftheloom
Apart from everything that has been stated, children can see what it is and get the idea that a PC is not a "beige" enclosed box, tangible ?

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:54 pm
by simplesi
RPi should not replace existing real PCs and laptops. Instead it should be used for things they can't do - like make a robot or something like that - something that will move, flash or display something with optional control from the laptop. Programming seems more fun if your code can move something
Exactly :)

Simon

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:30 pm
by r3d4
RPi should not replace existing real PCs and laptops.
Ah! but how to decide what is real ?

Say i want to know if i have a 'real' PC , or make shore mine is not a 'fake' one .

Who or what defines 'real' hear , realy ;) is not all that clear.

For along time (relativly) computers were slower than 700-900 mhz and alot more expensive .

are computers real only if ...

- They are realy expensive ? :P

- We dont realy understand them ?

...

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:58 am
by DougieLawson
Simple rule: Don't trust a computer you can lift.

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:18 am
by mahjongg
Dougie, I know you are a mainframe guy, but you should know that the real "famous quote" is:
Don't trust a computer you can't lift.
:lol:

proof: http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?st ... hangin.txt

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:42 am
by DougieLawson
mahjongg wrote:Dougie, I know you are a mainframe guy, but you should know that the real "famous quote" is:
Don't trust a computer you can't lift.
:lol:

proof: http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?st ... hangin.txt
And who's to say that we could ever trust any of Mr Jobs' products. Since I've not used anything made by Apple since an Apple ][e I'm not sure I'm qualified to comment.

Computers should weigh more than 25Kg and should fill a room the size of two football fields.

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 12:31 pm
by Ravenous
Simple rule: Don't trust a computer you can lift.
Computers should weigh more than 25Kg and should fill a room the size of two football fields.
And should require air conditioning and a fire extinguisher system. And should have wiring on the front AND the back. And be delivered by forklift.

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:13 pm
by DougieLawson
Ravenous wrote:
Simple rule: Don't trust a computer you can lift.
Computers should weigh more than 25Kg and should fill a room the size of two football fields.
And should require air conditioning and a fire extinguisher system. And should have wiring on the front AND the back. And be delivered by forklift.
They also need blinking lights and switches/dials so you can program them from the front panel.
Image

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:32 pm
by piglet
For those of you looking at that picture and seeing him sitting at a computer keyboard....it's probably not that at all. It's almost certainly a punch-card machine. You can see three punch cards sitting to the front of the unit.

Thankfully when I started we had nice clunky green-on-black dumb terminals and line printers.
For data handling versatility, the Model 125 can read and punch both traditional 80-column cards or the newer 96-column cards used with the IBM System/3. For 80-column cards, the new IBM 3504 card reader attaches directly to the Model 125 to offer read speeds of either 800 or 1,200 cards-a-minute and an optional optical mark reading capability. The IBM 3525 card punch can be added to provide punching speeds of either 100, 200 or 300 cards per minute. Optional features provide multiple line printing

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:39 pm
by Ravenous
piglet wrote:For those of you looking at that picture and seeing him sitting at a computer keyboard....it's probably not that at all. It's almost certainly a punch-card machine.
I used something like that once (on a school visit - 1980-82ish perhaps.) I think I remember the cards had one corner clipped for easy sorting though - maybe he's just reading note cards or something?

You know sometimes I feel nostalgic, but most of the time I'm just glad to have the stuff we have now! :lol:

Though we should have jumpers like that again! Jumpers on the programmers, not the boards...

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:55 pm
by mahjongg
DougieLawson wrote: Computers should weigh more than 25Kg and should fill a room the size of two football fields.
yeah, I did say I knew you are a mainframe guy. LOL. :lol:

Multi tasking multi user eh. how much would three million PI's weigh, and could you cover two football fields with them? :mrgreen:

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:26 pm
by Ravenous
mahjongg wrote:how much would three million PI's weigh, and could you cover two football fields with them? :mrgreen:
By my figures, around 135 tonnes and if laid out flat (1732x1732), around 150 m by 97 m. But I guess we'd rack them up.

So, football field sized!

Don't ask me how many flops that would be, or the current or power requirements...

But it would definitely break the magic 1GB RAM barrier at last!

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 5:09 pm
by W. H. Heydt
piglet wrote:For those of you looking at that picture and seeing him sitting at a computer keyboard....it's probably not that at all. It's almost certainly a punch-card machine. You can see three punch cards sitting to the front of the unit.

Thankfully when I started we had nice clunky green-on-black dumb terminals and line printers.
That's certainly not a card punch for the classic 80 col. cards. The keypunch from that style was the IBM 129. Could be a 96 column "minicard" punch, I suppose. Never dealt with those, though I've seen the cards.

Re: Why use a RPi at school?

Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 5:41 pm
by rpdom
DougieLawson wrote: Computers should weigh more than 25Kg and should fill a room the size of two football fields.
25Kg isn't much. My first Unix system at home weighed about 120Kg and was the size of a small fridge. :)

Some of that weight was the banks of SLA batteries in the UPSs, some of it was the fact that I'd grabbed all the spares for it that I could find and packed it full of full-height 5.25" disks and upgraded the memory cards to 240MB out of a theoretical maximum of 160MB (for a single CPU system).

It made a great room heater too :lol: