Raspberry PI: The World’s Smallest, Cheapest ComputerGadgets & Gizmos
Raspberry PI: The World’s Smallest, Cheapest Computer
With today’s technology, computers do not have to be big, expensive gadgets. In 2006, a team of UK computer scientists and a select group of Cambridge faculty members joined forces to prove just that. Together the UK and Cambridge scientists formed the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to providing more computers to more children. Raspberry Pi Foundation’s goal is simple: to create programmable, low-cost devices that meet a price point per unit of just $25, which is approximately the cost of a single textbook.
History of the Raspberry PI
The Raspberry founders were concerned with the decline in the skill levels and the number of A-grade computer science students across the globe. The team noticed that something had shifted the way children were interacting with computers. Some problems that were identified include:
- The colonization of ICT curricula with lessons on using Excel, Word, or writing web pages
- The end of the dot com boom
- Internet access issues
- The rise of game consoles and home PC’s replacing earlier generation machines
The Raspberry Pi Foundation recognized that a small group of individuals could not address larger issues like inadequate school curriculum, but they knew that they could do something about developing a more affordable and accessible computer. In 2012, six years after Raspberry Pi become a foundation, the team finally rolled out a credit card-sized computer that is a programmable, fully functional, low-cost computer that retails for $25 or $35 depending on the model.
Because of the price and size of present day computers, many parents and teachers are reluctant to let their children have complete computer privileges. Raspberry Pi’s low price will displace concerns about children ruining the classroom or household prized possession and open doors for more active engagement on computers. The foundation believes that children will, in turn, become more comfortable using computers and test out deeper interest in the inner functions such as coding at a young age.
The Raspberry Pi Features
The Raspberry Pi comes in two forms, Model A and Model B. Despite the size of the computer, it is quite powerful and does not drain battery life too quickly. Both models measure in at 3.4×2.1 inches. The more expensive Model B differs in that it includes an Ethernet port and an additional USB port. The miniscule computer runs on Linux OS because it requires the least amount of memory to be stored on a built-in storage. Linux also has a reputation for being one of the best learning computer science platforms. When you lift the hood of the Raspberry Pi you will find:
- SD Card Slot
- USB Port
- RCA Socket
- Audio Out
- HDMI Port
- Ethernet Port – Model B only
- Micro USB
- ARM CPU/GPU
Certain specifications are compromised when you are working with a computer that is smaller than a deck of cards. The Raspberry Pi does not have an audio jack or Wi-Fi connection (both can be added through the USB connection). In order to operate the Raspberry Pi you will need, at minimum, a monitor or TV, mouse and keyboard, the SD card, and connection cables.
One of the other issues Raspberry Pi founders ran into, was the lack of internet access for some high school students in rural areas. With the help of the recovery act and companies like Exceed internet, many students are now receiving assistance with their internet access. The recovery act allows students and families the ability to greatly lower the costs of high speed internet.
All things considered the Raspberry Pi Model A and B are a successful means of engaging children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, in becoming more actively engaged in computer science. Just because you don’t have the best computer, doesn’t mean you can’t pursue a computer based education and that’s great for millions of children that could be impacted in the future. If you’d like to learn more about Raspberry Pi and their products, you can visit their website.
Jessica is an internet for education advocate who works for companies like Exceed Internet and computer companies to bring internet to underprivileged homes and communities.