Raspberry Pi computers have taken off like wildfire among the maker community. These tiny microcomputers only cost around $35 and can be used for a practically limitless number of projects. what you can do with them is up to how far you can stretch your imagination. And it is this creativity within computer programing that Google is hoping to promote among kids through a gift of 15,000 Raspberry Pi microcomputers to UK schools.
The BBC reports, "Funded by Google, the Raspberry Pi Foundation hopes the free devices will inspire children to take up coding... There are concerns current information and communications technology (ICT) teaching is inadequate preparation for the future jobs in technology... Over the past decade, the number of people studying computer science in the UK dropped by 23% at undergraduate level and by 34% at graduate level. To help ensure teachers and children get the best out of the devices, Google and Raspberry Pi are working with six educational partners, including Code Club, Computing at School, Generating Genius and Coderdojo. They will distribute the devices to schools around the UK."
Though some question the gift from Google, noting that the influence of big corporations should be kept out of the classroom, others note how important it is to get kids interested in computer science so that gains in the sector do not falter with the next generation. Indeed, the environmental movement itself is increasingly more dependent on technology, from advances in the smart grid to analyzing big data in the IT sector to using technology to understand and conserve ecosystems. If the gift of already-popular microcomputers can get students excited an involved, it seems like a strategy worth trying.