This is a bit depressing - the blog of an ex-ICT teacher who has found a lot of reasons to dislike Raspberry Pi.
Interesting. What follows is a rather long point-by-point rebuttal of various points made in that article.
Point #1 (the UK has enough programmers) would have been more compelling if Mr Pitcher had also shown the number of students that actually manage to graduate from each subject. As I understand it, one of the main motivations of setting up Raspberry Pi wasn't necessarily that there aren't enough undergraduates applying for computer science, but rather that the skillset of the applicants is poor (lots that know how to write basic HTML, few that can write a device driver).
Point #2 is really two points
(a) A distribution is needed which combines a graphical OS with a nice, easy introduction to programming through an accessible programming language.
(b) School Network Managers won't specify and buy R.Pi.
I agree with point 2a. One of the things I really liked about RISC OS was the way you could press F12 while in the GUI and you would get a command prompt. Type BASIC from there and you were into the BASIC intepretter. Type exit and hit return twice and you were back in the GUI. The message on the screen even told you what to type to get back to the GUI.
I understand that the RISC OS Open people are one of the teams hoping to get their OS up and running on R.Pi. In any event, there will be a couple of months between November and when the devices go on sale to Education so hopefully the R.Pi team and the community will be able to come up with an initial offering that minimally meets the needs.
I don't agree with point 2b. I know a couple of teachers responsible for teaching ICT in schools. Both would dearly love to educate children in ICT rather than train them as they do now, but there are a number of key problems that currently prevent them from doing so. The two biggest are the cost of appropriate equipment and the time and cost of maintaining it in working order. R.Pi solves both of these problems. Watch Eben's video from the Educating Programmers Summit for more thoughts on this.
I also can't agree with point 3 (children would hate programming, its tedious). As the tail end of Peter Price's BBC Click segment shows, children - particularly young children - love creating things and solving problems. As Fred Brooks commented in his essay The Tar Pit, "The programmer works... only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff". I take particular delight in seeing children choosing to forego their break time so that they can continue
Pitcher makes some additional points towards the end of his third section:
b) We don't have enough teachers to deliver it.
Pitcher should be all too aware that one does not have to be a subject matter expert in order to teach it. The reality is that schools are not like Jamie Oliver's Dream School - they aren't kitted out with Olympic medallists teaching PE, Poet Laureates teaching English Literature and Noble Prize winners teaching the sciences. Schools already have ICT teachers, but those teachers don't currently have access the appropriate resources (see point 2b above).
You simply need great, really enthusiastic teachers with access to good quality teaching materials. I get the strong impression that the R.Pi team are developing partnerships with other organisations with the specific aim of making sure that teachers will have access to appropriate teaching materials.
c) You can't expect teachers to light the spark [of imagination and interest]
Huh? I absolutely do expect teachers to do exactly that. In my opinion, that is one of the most noble parts of a teacher's role.
I can absolutely identify which individuals in my early life identified potential interests in each of woodwork, electronics and programming within me, nurtured them and encouraged me to investigate further and hone my skills. They were teachers, my parents and grandparents, and a couple of close family friends. The teachers played a pivotal role.
d) Children don't need to learn programming at school - they can teach themselves in the privacy of their own home.
This argument point also surprises me. The wonderful thing about school is that it provides a structured environment for covering a curriculum. Unstructured learning is a good way to reinforce existing or newly acquired skills and knowledge - it isn't a particularly effective way to ensure a good grounding across a varied skillset. University admissions staff and ICT employers will both tell you that the existing 'bedroom learning' approach simply isn't generating enough candidates with the skills developed to the level that that those bodies are demainding.