The £23 Raspberry Pi computer, which is known for its form factor and price, has gone on general sale this week, but I am a massive sceptic. Sure, this machine is the size of a credit card, but will it really do what it is supposed to, and encourage children to code?
I absolutely couldn’t agree more, that IT lessons, for children of all ages should involve programming. The world of technology is growing, so why shouldn’t kids be taught how to be involved in this change. Making software is like speaking a foreign language. Once you’re fluent, you can experiment in all different ways, and put the knowledge to fantastic use. So surely this machine would be perfect. In reality, it isn’t.
Most families have at least one computer in their house, and most schools have plenty available for use. Surely if programming is to be taught to children, then they could use the machines they already own, instead of investing in a computer which, yes, is cheap, but is underpowered and otherwise useless. The ‘scratch’ children’s programming software the developers of Raspberry Pi have been demoing, is available for free on Windows and Mac computers anyway.
In reality, it is very likely that these developers have made a product, they know is an experiment, and will probably make them more fame than money, and made an educated guess at a market which could be interested. They are far too optimistic about what they’re going to achieve. Raspberry Pi will be good for everyone, but not as a tool, for productivity or for games, but just to stare in awe at, and think ‘It would be better if it was edible’.