UK schools to receive 15,000 Raspberry Pi computers, thanks to Google grant

30 Jan 2013

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Raspberry Pi's Eben Upton and Google's Eric Schmidt (right) visit schoolchildren in Cambridge. Image via RaspberryPi.org

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Through a grant from Google Giving, the Raspberry Pi Foundation will be able to deliver 15,000 Raspberry Pi Model B computers to schoolchildren in the UK in an effort to spur coding in the classroom.

Google Giving is a charitable branch of the tech giant that supports disaster relief, university research and community projects. Eric Schmidt, executive chair of Google, visited a school in Cambridge with Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton to teach a class of local kids about coding on the morning of the announcement.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation will work with Google and six educational partners in the UK– OCR, Code Club, Computing at Schools, Generating Genius, Teach First and CoderDojo – to find the schoolchildren that will benefit most from the donated computers. OCR will also create free teaching and learning packs to package with the Model Bs.

“We’re absolutely made up over the news; this is a brilliant way for us to find kids all over the country whose aptitude for computing can now be explored properly,” wrote Liz Upton, Eben’s wife and dedicated Raspberry Pi volunteer. “We believe that access to tools is a fundamental necessity in finding out who you are and what you’re good at. We want those tools to be within everybody’s grasp, right from the start.”

In the wake of receiving the grant, Raspberry Pi has appointed long-time volunteer and former ICT and computing teacher Clive Beale as its director of educational development. Beale will be responsible for ensuring that the Raspberry Pi computers reach those kids that will benefit most from them. He will also engage with schools on changes to the curriculum that would embrace coding, and work on creating resources for students, teachers and parents.

Beale and the foundation intend to visit schools in the UK regularly, holding classes and workshops in classrooms and talking to teachers, as the charity continues in its efforts to get children interested in coding.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com