Google Giving Raspberry Pi To School Kids

The Raspberry Pi project has noble aims. It's intended to inspire a new generation of school-age coders and hackers to build exciting new things from a very cheap computer base. There's just one problem; everyone else is snapping up Pi units as fast as they can be built. Enter Google. This is one of those heartwarming stories that reminds you that it is possible for big companies to, indeed, "do no evil". The BBC reports that Google's funding 100 science teachers through UK schools to enhance the teaching of science, but beyond that, it's also funding those teachers to buy Raspberry Pi units to help with the teaching. Something tells me that when you're Google, you probably do get to skip to the front of the queue -- and at least this time it's for a good cause.

You know what? I reckon we need something like this -- exactly like this -- in Australia. What say you, big Aussie IT companies (or multinationals)? Anyone willing to step up and invest in the future and some very positive karma? [BBC]


    Hardly something to get excited about. If you asked every parent of those schools to pay an extra one time sum of a single dollar, they'd get those RP's themselves no bogus publicity required. Surely Google can do better than that...

      On what POSSIBLE basis do you make that statement? I'm sick of hearing grand claims made on zero knowledge in Giz comments.

        Agreed. By Jacques' calculations, with a class of approximately 42 students contributing a dollar each, you'd get one RPi to share. Oh, and that's assuming you then find a free micro usb charger, SD card, keyboard and mouse.

        Sign me up for that science class.

          And yes, I did ignore the necessity for a mouse etc. That doesn't change the fact that very minimal funding is required. My overall point was that a billion dollar corporation could do a lot more to help schools and the future of science/IT than such a small contribution. In fact a few million dollars here or there wont hurt the company, but it will help the kids. Not only that, but they would be investing in future employees.

          BTW, your assumption is that only 1/2 classes are paying for the RPi. Given that IT classes are standard curriculum these days, pretty much every class of every year level will be using them. Therefore its fair to say they can all contribute.

        It's called mathematics. You should look it up sometime, it makes for a pretty good basis for a statement. 25 Raspberry Pi's cost roughly $850. That's a dollar for 850 students, which for a high school is pretty much an average attendance. Sure, smaller schools may need more funding, but still barely equates to more than 2 to 3 dollars per students, hardly a dint in your wallet.
        Oh and by the way, I'm an IT tech working at several schools. Part of my job is to provide my opinion towards computer and other IT related purchases. There's your "claims made on zero knowledge". Perhaps YOU should do some research yourself before making yourself look like a tool.

          Bad maths again. 25 RPis @$35 is $875, and doesn't include delivery. But let's say they chuck that in for free.

          You'd still only have 25 RPi's with no monitors, mice, keyboards or power. So, you'd have roughly 1 non working RPi for every student in a class, assuming only 1 class was doing science at any one time.

          But I note that you are now at 2 to 3 dollars per student, which still gives you a pretty sucky computer lab with no monitors (but we can afford mice, keyboards and power now), no tech support and no teacher training.

          Yeah, maybe you missed the bit about Google also providing training for 100 science teachers over a three year period, and that the program is targeted a disadvantaged schools in the UK.

          I also think you missed the point that your original post was clearly rubbish. A one time payment of 1 dollar per student does not give you a computer class with usable RPis and a competent teacher. Changing your argument does not change that fact. Here endeth the lesson.

            Lesson not over. My argument never changed. You'll notice I closed off my first statement with "Surely Google can do better than that…" and further re-iterated in later comments that a billion dollar company can do a lot more to contribute to under privileged schools, which is the actual point of my comments in the first place. Also, I never actually said anything about fully functional RPi units, all I spoke about was the units themselves (which I also mentioned in later comments as not accounted for), which were completely accounted for in the maths, which btw isn't the overall point as previously stated, but a means to show the insignificant monetary contribution they're making. But I'm wasting my breath anyway, anyone who closes off a statement claiming to have ended the debate in victory before awaiting a rebuttal is clearly too unwilling to accept any counter-argument.

              "A billion dollar company can do a lot more to contribute to under privileged schools"
              "My overall point was that a billion dollar corporation could do a lot more to help schools and the future of science/IT than such a small contribution."

              That's very true. They're also in no way obligated to do that.
              How many charities do you donate to? If you make more than $30K a year in your job, you should be able to afford to donate $100 a week to those in need. Do you do that?

              Jacques, I know I'm coming at this two months after the fact, but are you seriously criticizing Google for doing something positive? Why the hate towards Google and not the hundreds of other big Tech companies that are doing nothing at all. Granted Google could do more but at least they are doing something. I'm not going to challenge you on your statement about working at schools, but I too work at a school in IT and to be frank I'd be grateful for anything companies could do, we have such a small budget that something like Google is offering would be the cause for celebration and thanks rather than bile and mathematical retorts.

    Especially with the current talk about our science/math system needing more money, and needing more students.
    When I was in high school we got all sorts of funding for things that didn't deserve a dollar, instead of spending money on woeful programs in our schools, spend it on these!
    Or get rid of all home economics classes which are a complete waste of time and use the money to bring Raspberry Pi to the masses!

      Home economy isn't useless! Free lunch and snack!!

      Wo neds 2 cewk wen u can jus get macas.

      Life skills are not worthless. Obviously you still live with your mummy.

    AS great as i think the RasPi is, there is now the APC 8750 creeping on its territory.
    If it wasn't for the APC only running android, i'd take it for its slightly better specs/features and only $14 more. I'm not the person that the RasPi is aimed at, and upgrading to satisfy my whims won't happen, so i'm hoping the APC can be made to run Linux.

    If you go look on YouTube at the interview Steve jobs did in 1995 with the Smithsonian Institute he recounts how Apple gave away an Apple IIe computer to every high school in California and would have done the same nationally if a bill they got put before Congress had passed. The bill was in regards to a tax break as they wanted to donate hundreds of machines that were like $2000-3000, not $40.

    The law allowed a tax break if you donated stuff to universities for their teaching and research. Apple proposed a bill to extend the tax break to donations to high schools. I think it failed to pass only because Newt Gingrich was taking up time with something else unrelated.

    It was a great move by Apple regardless. They really worked hard to get this bill before Congress and when it failed California stepped in and said they would make the same law for their state if Apple wanted to donate computers. So they did. Heart warming story.

    It's hilarious watching these little Google and Apple cult sheep swoon over their silicone god logos XD.

    I've been waiting a while now to buy one, what's needed is not someone to fund them (they are already cheap enough), but someone to start a 'decent' production run.
    Oh, didn't Google just buy Motorola mobility - manbe they should get them on the job.

    In other news, UK government notices schools don't need as much funding anymore from the government, education budgets slashed.

    Kogan is doing more or less the same thing: providing cheap ARM-based Android devices like the HDMI plugin variety. Whilst $99 is more expensive than those direct from obscure Chinese providers and more expensive than the Pi, the Pi is not really $35. In Australia it's $38, plus the cost of an HDMI cable, sacrificing your mobile phone charger or buying another one ($30) and then the cost of a USB hub because the two Pi ports are needed for mouse.keyboard. Throw in the cost of an SD card and essentially the Pi is no different from the similar sub-$100 offerings available elsewhere such as Kogan and the many devices reviewed on liliputing. Pi also has significant limitations: it can't boot from a USB stick; you can't run Ubuntu on it (since Ubuntu dropped support for ARM6) and it's multi-tasking is limited by it's small amount of RAM which is not expandable. Any education project should be really careful not to force useful-as-brick hardware en masse onto school kiddies. Inevitably such macro-scale programs tend to do this in large part because politics is slow-moving and IT is hyper-fast moving. By the time a new school semester starts, hardware chosen for the curriculum of that semester as recently as the previous semester can be dated and even completely outdated. Ideas like this are great but they should not be centrally managed by a school board of big company. Most teachers on the ground level are innovative and intelligent and more in-touch with what is needed than any macro organisation or campaign can hope to be. Let the teachers decide through grant applications. Don't force probably dated 'solutions' on them.

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