Google to Put Arduino, Raspberry Pi Computers in U.K. Classrooms
While at the London Science Museum, Google chairman Eric Schmidt announced that Google would help pay for 100 new science teachers and equip classrooms with Arduino kits and Raspberry Pi microcomputers. Those are some lucky, lucky kids.
Though no exact monetary figure was mentioned, Google will be donating a sum to a charity called Teach First. The organization takes recent college graduates, runs them through an intensive six-week training course, and then installs them at the head of classrooms for two years. Google’s donation would apparently pay for 100 new science teachers, most of them in the area of computer science.
In addition to new teachers, the donation would also go toward putting new teaching aids like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino controller into the hands of students. Both of the devices, long darlings of the modding and DIY community, are powerful, low-cost platforms perfect for tinkering. That kind of in-depth control was at the heart of Schmidt’s criticism of U.K. computer science education, which he says teaches kids how to use software but not make it themselves.
“The success of the BBC Micro in the 1980s shows what’s possible. There’s no reason why Raspberry Pi shouldn’t have the same impact, with the right support,” Mr Schmidt said.
Yesterday’s announcement came a year after Schmidt had accused the U.K. of “throwing away its computing heritage” with its poor science education curriculum. The criticism seems to have struck home, as education secretary Michael Gove reportedly scrapped the entire curriculum and is starting from scratch. Google’s new investment will no doubt play a fundamental part in the new direction for the program.
With such powerful — and cool — devices as the Arduino and Raspberry Pi involved, the students will hopefully learn a lot more than how to open Microsoft Office. American computer classes should probably take note of what’s forming in the U.K..