Search giant, Google is to fund the deployment of the Cambridge designed low-cost computer, Raspberry Pi in schools across England as part of a new partnership designed to improve the teaching of computer science.
Speaking at an event at London’s Science Museum on Wednesday evening, Google chairman, Eric Schmidt said that his company would fund a programme run by education charity Teach First to train up more than 100 “exceptional graduates” over the next three years and then send them into schools to provide top quality teaching - mainly in computer science.
Part of Google’s donation will be used to fund bursaries so that the crack team of teachers can buy "teaching aids, such as Raspberry Pi's or Arduino starter kits," Schmidt said.
"The success of the BBC Micro in the 1980s shows what's possible. There's no reason why Raspberry Pi shouldn't have the same impact, with the right support," the BBC reports Schmidt as saying.
The programme will initially target disadvantaged communities in seven regions in England.
Schmidt’s withering critique of STEM teaching in the UK at last summer’s Edinburgh international TV festival prompted education secretary, Michael Gove to re-engineer the syllabus in that area, with the focus on fundamental technical skills rather than the proficient use of software, as had been the case.
Raspberry Pi, the $25 Linux based pocket-sized computer designed and developed by a team from Cambridge went on general sale in February, selling its available allocation within minutes of launch.
The aim of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the charity set up to promote its use is: “to further the advancement of education of adults and children, particularly in the field of computers, computer science and related subjects.”
In February, Google’s head of external relations, Peter Barron spoke at a Cambridge Network event - also addressed by Raspberry Pi co-founder, Robert Mullins - highlighting the importance of good STEM education in the UK. In our report on the event, George Osborn highlighted Teach First as one possible avenue that Google could explore to increase its own engagement in the teaching of computer science.
Meanwhile, the Cambridge Science Centre, a social enterprise planning to create a permanent hands-on science discovery centre in Cambridge blogged today it was also ‘adding Raspberry Pi,’ using them in the first instance, to add an extra layer of interactivity to its microscope exhibit.
Cambridge Science Centre is planning a ‘hack day’, this summer with the aim of “bringing together Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, researchers and exhibit builders to create some really creative ideas.”blog comments powered by Disqus