The RaspberryPi is a worthy successor to systems such as the BBC Micro and the Sinclair ZXSpectrum, the Amstrad CPC and the Comomodore 64 which inspired a generation of programmers and inventors in the 1980's. RaspberryPi systems are much more powerful than their predecessors. The latest version of the RaspberryPi sports multiple 64 bit CPU cores, for example.
The unique features of the RaspberryPi are
- Its very low price - of the order of 30 UK Pounds
- The fact that it can run a full blown embedded Linux system
- It supports high resolution graphics and also audio via the Broadcom GPU and audio hardware on the chip
- The is supported by a loyal and enthusiastic community of teachers, researchers, hobbyists and developers
- The has at its heart an underlying ethos of aiming to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and inventors
Unlike the machines of yore which were very much seat of the pants systems the RaspberryPi (Raspi for short) is a full embedded Linux system. To get the most from it is necessary to understand the various aspects of embedded Linux installation, configuration and programming. Undoubtedly gifted youngsters, and those privileged enough to go to top public schools or to highly selective grammar schools, with their well qualified teaching staff, will be inducted into the "mysterious arts of linux programming". The same will apply to teachers with maths or science degrees, in non-selective schools, who still have the energy and enthusiasm after a hard day of teaching and all the bureaucratic administrative work that is the lot of a modern schoolteacher to devote time to picking up the necessary knowledge and then developing suitable teaching materials.
In the USA support and training courses for teachers regarding the STEM curriculum is far better organised and funded than is the case in the UK. Two outstanding initiatives are those at CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) and those at MIT. I am not aware of any initiatives of similar quality in the UK. FTT has developed several courses oriented towards bringing school teachers and college lecturers up to speed with this new technology and the opportunities it offers. These courses are professional courses. However, in order to facilitate their uptake they will be priced at a significantly lower price than FTT's regular training courses. These courses will be scheduled on demand. The model we propose to adopt is that used on the continent, where, an organisation or company organising a specialised training course informs local and central government agencies and they advertise it to other interested parties. This results in more attendees and a concomitant reduction in the cost per attendee. Often the training venue is a local training centre or college. If you can get together a group of interested students then contact us, to discuss prices and suggest a suitable venue.
A lot of the material for these courses is based on the various embedded Linux and embedded Microchip, ARM and AVR courses FTT has been running over the last 20 years. Many of these courses have been adapted to the needs of teachers, experimenters and computing science at school course developers.
- RPI101 Introduction to the RaspberryPi (4 days)
- RPI102 RaspberryPi - Introduction to Linux command line tools and utilities and shell programming (3 days)
- RPI103 Introduction to C programming on the RaspberryPi (5 days)
- RPI104 Advanced C programming for the RaspberryPi (5 days)
- RPI105 Introduction to Python programming on the RaspberryPi (5 days)