Raspberry Pi: A $35 Computer Enters the Education Scene

Raspberry Pi is not a sweet pastry crust filled with sugar and strawberries. Raspberry Pi is a tiny $35 computer, which could revolutionize the way students think about and learn with technology.

A Raspberry Pi computer can help students to learn about the basics of computers, to do what it takes to build a project with a set goal from start to finish, to problem-solve, to think critically, and to acquire knowledge through DOING. Raspberry Pi provides lessons and resources for teachers who wish to implement a solitary lesson or entire curriculum based on Raspberry Pi.

The first introductory lesson to Raspberry Pi can be found here.

One of the best features of the lessons is that learning targets are differentiated to let teachers know what all, most, and some students will be able to do, as seen below in the introductory lesson.

How does this technology encourage transformative knowledge-making?

In a traditional technology education class, students might be asked to build a bridge, but with Raspberry Pi as the base, students can dream up and build almost anything, and it doesn’t have to be for a tech ed class.

According to a blog post by Raspberry Pi social media editor Helen Lynn, high school English teacher Sarah Roman will be guiding a Raspberry Pi-based literature project:

“Our English class is going to be using the Raspberry Pi in order to build book-based video games, incorporating Scratch, Sonic Pi, and Python. The students are incredibly excited…”

Others have experimented with building robots, music players, a weather station, and a computer lab in South Africa. I would say the sky is the limit with Raspberry Pi computers, but who knows: tomorrow, students may very well work together to build a satellite that is sent into space.

In many examples I’ve read about, learning is mediated through the Raspberry Pi technology. The technology itself is not the learning goal, but rather it is the vehicle which drives the learning and knowledge-making process. I don’t know about you, but I’m itching to gather funds to experiment with Raspberry Pi at my northern Virginia middle school.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Do you think affordable computer bases like Raspberry Pi have the potential to revolutionize technology education or education in general? How?
  2. How might you envision utilizing Raspberry Pi in your school to help learners make knowledge, rather than just collect it?

Let me know how you intend to get a slice of Raspberry Pi!





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