100 teachers over 3 years?
Honestly, google are getting a load of great press over this but that's 30 teachers a year compared to 24,000 schools. Drop in the ocean Eric.
Google is to indirectly equip 102 UK schools with Raspberry Pi devices. The ZX81 de nos jours - though Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who announced the scheme last night, likened the Pi to the more education-centric, posher BBC Micro - will come to schools through UK charity Teach First. Google and Teach First will …
It's a start. And it's better than nothing. Frankly, I'd rather have those 30 teachers a year teaching some useful programming and development that interests and excites the students, rather than 24,000 brain-dead morons teaching their bored and uncaring students the joys of MS Office.
Baby steps, and all that jazz.
Google have publicly criticised how we do things now, they are putting some money in to show how they think it should be done rather than just talking about it... That gets a big thumbs up from me, even if it won't solve the problem at least it might show if this is how the rest of them should be doing it.
How much training will each teacher get, 6 weeks during the summer holiday, 3 months "evening class"es.
Will it depend on schools being able to free their teachers for a period of time to attend the training - and so favour better-off schools closer to venues - or are we getting a true egalitarian access?
It's not that bad.. do the maths
average class size is about 30
4 years of comprehensive / academy learning
maximum potential (based on average class size) of 3600
OK so not everyone will do IT or be introduced to programming so that figure could be 50% less
In the first year alone that's an estimated 1800 new introductions to programming. Realistically only 10% or less will actually use the skills after schooling, so we are looking at a potential of 180 new programmers within 4 years from the initial sample of 30 schools.
Mine from the ramped up production run arrived this morning.
Chucked in a fresh SD card, samsung phone charger, gash keyboard and the TV and it's buzzing away happily. Nice work raspberry people!
Managed to step on my one and only wifi dongle so got to wait for a new one to arrive now :-/
How long until Computer Science is a lesson taught in every school? I think as a nation we've arrived at this foregone conclusion much later than we should have.
In the next few decades I imagine Computer Science will play a far larger role in our economy than current stalwarts. Granted it's a difficult subject, but so are the big three Sciences and learning a foreign language. How much do those subjects contribute to our competitiveness?
We should be giving these away for next to nothing to encourage future generations. With the funds massively wasted with Government IT systems; we could have given one RaspPi to every person in blighty.
"Granted it's a difficult subject, but so are the big three Sciences and learning a foreign language. How much do those subjects contribute to our competitiveness?"
Given that programming is a synonym for "translation", I'd say learning a foreign language or two would be a lot more useful than you seem to think.
First priority: Code and run your own Search Engine. The 3,1414 will allow you to run your own crawler all day long at about 5W energy consumption.
Those who can, Do!
Those who can't, Teach!
Those who can't teach, Teach PE!
Your average IT teacher has little to no real world programming experience. If you want to recapture the heyday of the 1980's with BBC M you'll need to develop a programming experience that is Basic, with lots of idiot (teacher) proof manuals.
Teachers may "want" this product, but they'll blame IT when they can't make it work.
You need to remember that teaching is still pretty much playing catch up with IT. I mean you still get travelling sales men selling software door to door round Schools, and teachers can't get enough of it. No forward thinking, or checking what other education establishments in their region are buying, they just hear 80% discount, and they can't get their financial codes out quick enough, with no consideration if they even have the infrastructure to use the "bargain" software.
If they manage to properly educate, hire and retain Math, Physics and Chemistry teachers, they could certainly do the same for Computer Science. But it seems that the "all the hackors are self-educated, anyway" meme is stuck in the minds of the government.
It is clearly a lack of seriousness on the side of government.. Write to your MP and demand proper Computer Science teachers. Don't accept "ITC".
Maths,Physics and Chemistry have limited career paths if you don't want to take it higher (msc,phd etc) or move slightly sidewise i.e maths/physics grads in IT. so there are plenty of undergrad level people with maths degrees prepared to go into teaching for a steady job (i know two personally) rather then endure the crippling debt of MSc/Phd or try to compete for the limited jobs out there.
Not the same with Comp Sci as most people can find work of some description, can train outside of academia (industry certs etc) and can be employed in the field without a degree (its possible but i am not trying to open the whole i don't need no degree in it debate). so there is a much smaller pool of people wanting to become educators (and chances are those that do go on to FE/uni then secondary school)
I would've loved a ZX81 that did a fraction of what my Pi is capable of - unless Uncle Clive sneaked loads of goodies (networking, HD video, etc.) into that tiny case three decades ago and never told anyone...
Seriously: I know El Reg has a reputation to uphold (shurely "down?" - Ed.), but why does a Raspberry Pi-related story bring out the snarky comments...?
"unless Uncle Clive sneaked loads of goodies (networking, HD video, etc.) into that tiny case three decades ago and never told anyone..."
To be fair, 31 years ago, nobody expected networking or HD video. Tellies didn't even have composite video inputs (for good reason: many of them employed live chassis, to save the cost of a mains transformer; and besides, nobody ever expected a TV set to be connected to anything other than an aerial in those days). Later, the Interface One would bring networking to the ZX Spectrum at very low cost (in theory, at least; I never knew anyone who actually had two of the things).
"but why does a Raspberry Pi-related story bring out the snarky comments...?"
Because the Raspberry Pi cannot run any version of Microsoft Windows. It is, therefore, quietly teaching people to become Evil Penguin Shagging Communists.
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