Raspberry 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!