The Raspberry Pi is a tiny and affordable computer that you can use to learn programming through fun, practical projects. These single-board computers were developed in the United Kingdom by the RaspberryPi Foundation® to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries.
All models feature a Broadcom® system on a chip (SoC), which includes an an ARM compatible central processing unit (CPU) and an on chip graphics processing unit (GPU, a VideoCore IV). CPU speed ranges from 700 MHz to 1.2 GHz for the Pi 3 and on board memory range from 256 MB to 1 GB RAM.
The little computer has controlled robots, reached the upper atmosphere in a weather balloon and become the building block for almost any gadget the mind could dream up.
The Foundation provides Raspbian, a Debian based linux distribution for download, as well as third party Ubuntu, Windows 10 IOT Core, RISC OS, and specialised media center distributions. It promotes Python and Scratch as the main programming language, with support for many other languages
The 3rd generation Raspberry Pi® comes with:
- A 1.2GHZ 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
- 11n Wireless LAN
- Bluetooth 4.1
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
- 1GB RAM
- 4 USB ports
- 40 GPIO pins
- Full HDMI port
- Ethernet port
- Combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video
- Camera interface (CSI)
- Display interface (DSI)
- Micro SD card slot
- VideoCore IV 3D graphics core
This is an ideal computer for use in schools to teach students the basics of coding in a fun way.
I have played around with the Sonic Pi® which can be used to create music using simple commands.
Here is a screenshot of Frere Jacques played on the SonicPi®. Students can play around with the settings and tinker with the code until they are familiar enough to create the music for their own songs.
Scratch is also a very interesting program to understand coding. Students can use the drag and drop interface to perform various actions using Scratch or create their own games, demos, stories or music. Here are some examples of programs created by Scratch users.
Besides these, students can learn Python programming, and also use coding to learn about science and mathematics in a fun way by creating their own demos, games and stories.
The 40-pin GPIO interface is a great learning platform for IoT . From turning an LED on and off to controlling temperature, humidity sensors, RF modules, GPS, and other sensors students can experiment and learn a great deal.
Here is a simple example of a LED circuit and the Scratch program to configure the GPIO pins (courtesy: RaspberryPi.org)
You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us SKILLED.
I have observed how children learn the most through play. Structured, organised clasroom settings defeat the purpose of learning. A natural, outdoor setting is the best for learning. Why do we have to show pictures of snails, flowers, the sun and the moon when we can let them see them, touch them and feel all these things outdoors?.
Colours and imagery also attract children the most. So exposure to images to emphasize and add to the knowledge gained through interaction with nature is good. Language is an important component of learning and communication is one of the important pre-requisites of growing up with confidence. But the way in which language is taught is paramount. Literature, poetry and appreciation of language
and works of great writers like Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats etc is important and still relevant. Just learning english to understand grammar and answer exams is boring.
Reading is another important habit that can be inculcated. A love for good books like Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton can be inculcated from a young age through setting an example. This will divert the attention of children from the scores of gadgets and videos that dissipate their enthusiasm and energy.
It is high time we revamp the age-old curricula and experiment with a new paradigm. Provide the right environment and exposure and watch the childs natural curiosity and wonder grow by leaps and bounds.
On teaching of other subjects like mathematics. Basic knowledge of such subjects is essential for our daily life. However, many of the advanced concepts of maths are learnt only for examinations and then because we never apply these concepts in daily life, we forget them altogether.
Schools must become a place where a child wants to go to .. a second home and not a four-walled prison. The fear of exams is one reason why a child does not want to attend school. Another fear is the fear of excess homework that burdens a child. Studying becomes more of a chore than a joyful, learning experience.
The school of tomorrow must along with studies focus on overall development of a child. A child should also be taught to be street-smart, speak with confidence, make bold decisions, have global knowledge, and learn the skills to be an entrepreneur. The jobs of tomorrow will require an entirely new skill set and our schools will have to start early to hone a new set of skills. Our children of tomorrow should grow up with their unique nature confident of creating, discovering , experimenting, failing and enjoying life to the fullest!
Other interesting posts in this category:
When did the first world war occur?
What was Constantinople formerly known as?
When was the battle of Plassey fought?
We have such an obsession with facts that it puts our memory to the test. Our examinations in subjects like history and geography like to encourage rote learning and reproduction. Students who are good at cramming find it easy to vomit it all on the answer paper. Memory is important but it should not form the basis of our education .
Is this real education? Or should our children be tested on their understanding of the subject, thinking skills, teamwork, speech and drama, elocution and other skills that may come more useful in life.
In some schools, teachers are given an answer sheet to mark and sometimes answers that are different but correct are marked as wrong for the only reason that they do not match the answer sheet. Students are taught from a tender age to follow standard procedures, and even told to reproduce exactly from the book.
All this talk of developing creativity is just an eyewash. In true fact, few schools are taking the lead in inculcating and developing students who can think on their feet and out of the box.
Sometimes in life it helps to unlearn all the things that we have learnt, so that we do not hold preconceived notions in our mind when we are faced with problems. We can then think in our own unique way and find our own solution to problems.
Even in our everyday lives we have to remember so many things:
- Your wifes birthday (better not forget that unless you want to be ostracised)
- Your anniversary
- Your grocery list (don’t forget this either unless you like to do a second round of shopping)
- Your passwords (nowadays there are so many email accounts, online banking that there are so many passwords to remember)
- Appointments, schedules, meetings
Today there are so many gadgets that there is no need to exercise our memory. Our smartphones can manage all this information and we can retrieve all these at the tap of a finger.
Here is an interesting TED talk on how “Rote learning fragments the world”” by Sanjoy Mahajan:
A leader lives a life of purpose
Working from dawn to dusk
Serving the community
Living steadfast to ideals
Empowering the populace
Bringing education to them
A leader awakens the masses to
Truth, courage and love
A leader serves the needy
Cares for the orphan
Feeds the hungry and
Clothes the destitute
Breaking bonds of slavery
Ending years of servitude,
A leader frees society from
Fear,poverty and illusion
A leader leaves a legacy
By bringing lasting change
Knowledge breaks caged walls
A nation wakes up to freedom
© copyright skm, 6th July, 2011
Every time I see a child, I am amazed at their sense of wonder, curiosity and their insatiable thirst for knowledge. Leave a child alone with a toy and he/whe will have a great time…they are so immersed in the moment that nothing else matters. And if you snatch that toy from them, they will scream. Children live with so much energy and vigour that by the end of the day they have a sound sleep.
I think the schools of today make education a boring experience. The rote, bookish knowledge that we gain in schools cannot substitute for life-skills. What use is an education in the classroom if it does not teach us to respect one another, if it cannot teach us basic courtesies, if it does not teach us empathy? What use is such an education if it does not inculcate in us the need to help one another. If all our education is just to get a job and earn a living then I think it does not serve its purpose.
Our education has not found a way of creating a fun environment wherein learning can become an enriching experience. Our classrooms like places of work make it mandatory for children to sit on desks and tables in a classroom. Wouldn’t a colourful place with lot of games, pictures make learning more enriching for children?
Today’s teenagers show total lack of basic courtesies – like offering seats to the elderly or pregnant women. They get involved in gangs and exhibit uncontrollable anger. This can be attributed to the lack of a well-rounded education. Our education has to instill the right values from early childhood. These values have to be reinforced at home too so that it becomes a part and parcel of growing up. If we have not learnt to wish our neighbour, to exchange pleasantries and enjoy living with people of different backgrounds then our education has not served its purpose.
In my view, our education should bring out the leadership quality in us. It should give us
.. the strength to act in accordance with your own values amidst obstacles
.. the sense of what is right
.. confidence and enthusiasm
True education should bring about social cohesion, communal harmony and entrepreneurship spirit. It should help us to unite for a common cause – like the alleviation of poverty, removing corruption and other social ills like gambling and addiction.
Ken Robinson on TED talks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY