Towards a Commonwealth-wide Raspberry Pi initiative…


Me and Raspberry PiRaspberry Pi is transforming the ways in which young (and old!) people learn about computing, and provides a powerful, value for money means through which students across the world can gain skills relevant to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curricula.  It is not only relevant to secondary education, but is also being used by undergraduates to develop their programming skills.  As yet, Raspberry Pis are not widely used in many of the poorer countries of the Commonwealth, but given their power and value for money they offer real potential for STEM education.  I had a great discussion earlier this week with Lance Howarth (CEO Raspberry Pi Foundation) during which I shared some of my ideas about how a multi-stakeholder partnership could be developed to help organisations in Commonwealth countries access and use Raspberry Pis effectively within their education systems.  Much would need to be done to implement such an initiative, but if enough interested parties could be brought together, we could make a real difference in helping to build relevant skills among young people across the Commonwealth.  Key things that would need to be put in place would include:

  • National champions willing to help take forward the initiative in initial countries;
  • Careful integration with relevant curricula at school and university level;
  • Establishing whether  current distribution channels enable easy access to hardware;
  • Appropriate support for teachers/lecturers (see details of the Picademy);
  • Funding support for enabling purchase of hardware

At this stage, it is important to gauge the level of interest that there might be in taking these ideas forward. If anyone is interested in helping to craft such an initiative, do please get in touch with me, and we can begin to build a coalition of the willing!  I think this is potentially very exciting, and it would be great to work with like-minded people to make it happen!  Do please respond in the comments below or on the ICT4D Facebook Group page.  Let’s make this happen!

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24 Comments

Filed under Commonwealth, ICT4D

24 responses to “Towards a Commonwealth-wide Raspberry Pi initiative…

  1. As you intimate in your post the real challenge lies in how this might serve interests in the economically poorest countries of the Commonwealth – where Pis and Arduinos are not currently widely used. At the school level it is extremely hard to achieve practical capacity beyond a few of the already relatively priviledged urban schools. It might be worth pulling together some of the people already experimenting with Pis and Arduinos in example countries and workshopping them others ‘battle hardened’ with practical experience of the challenges of ‘rolling out’ other ict4e initiatives in the past?

  2. Hi Tim,
    This sounds like a really great initiative and I will be interested in discussing some ideas around Hackathons and competition driven events. I work with a small group who organises Hackathons in Africa, Europe, and America. And I have learned that one of the best ways to educate, encourage and nurture talents can be through Hackathons and innovation events. I will be interested in sharing ideas on how we can collaborate on an initiative that is looking at Hackathons that will expose independent developer communities to the possibilities and opportunities Pi offers them for innovation and education. I have entered my email details below.. Lets make it happen!

    • unwin

      Thanks so much – definitely agree about value of hackathons.

    • Though not in the Commonwealth, I work with low income urban community college students in New York City. Very interested in simultaneous or consecutive global Raspberry Pi student hackathons. How can we be a part of your efforts and help make this happen?

      • unwin

        Much depends on whether or not we actually get this up off the ground. If we do, then ALL interested parties will be encouraged to be engaged – even those in the US who have chosen not to be part of the Commonwealth! Thanks so much for the interest!

  3. Gaurav Mishra

    Dear Tim,

    I would be interested in the project.

    Gaurav Mishra
    DA-IICT, India.

  4. Tanvir Ahmad

    Hi Tim,
    I am really interested in joining you. This could be a very nice initiative in my country.

  5. Mike Braum

    I think this is a brilliant initiative. I have just recently heard of Raspberry Pi, I am an Arduino Uno user, in Johannesburg. I am interested more in young adult education rather than school children, but would be interested to see if I could adapt a curriculum of yours to extend to this class room.

  6. Petronilla Muriithi

    Dear Tim,
    I am interested in this project.

    Petronilla Muriithi
    JKUAT, Kenya.

  7. This is a great initiative and could be very useful in Namibia. I am interested.

  8. Joseph

    Great staff, i know it will certainly attract a lot of interest here in zimbabwe and am interested..

  9. Awesome. I would so love to lead this course in Ghana. 🙂

  10. Noorah Kazi

    Dear Tim,
    I am from India currently doing my Masters in comp sci. in UK and am interested to work in the project.

  11. Hi there – I’ve spent some time working on the issue of how to make hardware available, and have put together a prototype system that will run off mains electricity or 12v power fro a car battery or similar – see http://openbastion.blogspot.com/2014/03/ready-and-waiting.html for a writeup.

    I’d be very interested in joining this initiative. Although I am currently expatriate in the USA I shall be spending much more time in the UK in the future.

    • unwin

      Thanks – will see how many other interested parties there are, and will discuss with colleagues a Raspberry Pi – we will then discuss how we might take this forward.

  12. Tim – goes without saying that Aptivate would be interested in supporting this initiative in some way… Look forward to discussing how this might make sense.

    • unwin

      Matt – am actually in Cambridge this evening for meetings! We are going to assess levels of interest in this idea, and will then be following up with those who have expressed willingness to be involved. Great that you are interested…. Hope all goes well with you and with Aptivate. Best wishes, Tim

  13. Mwangi Macharia

    Tim,
    This would be a noble initiative that I would wish to contribute to. I am in Kenya.

  14. Hi Tim,
    I’m South African studying towards a PhD in CS at Cambridge. I run a non-profit organization called SciExplo that promotes STEM education in South African schools. I’m definitely interested in joining this initiative. Please fill me in. Thanks.

    • unwin

      Thanks for getting in touch – we are still in discussion with the Raspberry Pi Foundation as to how we might take this forward. Will certainly let yon know if we make progress!

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