Raspberry Pi, the credit card-sized computer designed for educational use, has been handed to a group of schoolchildren in Leeds, in the north of England. The children are, in fact, that the first group to get their hands on the models of the computer, which appear in a stripped-down form.
The computer is designed to help children learn programming basis and comes shortly after Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, conceded that the government had been slow to recognise the increasing importance of IT.
The concept has been hailed by education experts in the UK, most of who accept the device is an innovative, yet low-cost, way of sparking an interest in technology among young people. Indeed, the government has already stated its ambition of becoming the European hub of IT innovation. Raspberry Pi has already attracted an enormous amount of media interest and at one stage, the device was shipping at a rate of 700 per second.
Premier Farnell, which has offices in the city, sent the first batch of devices out on last week, shortly after the children were presented with their models by Eben Upton, the project co-ordinator. Dr Upton was on hand to host a programming masterclass to help the children find out what the machine is capable of.
However, it is not just school children who are in line to benefit from the new device. Indeed, reports have confirmed that interest in the machine has come from people in all areas of society, thus proving the thirst of interest in computer programming.
Premier Farnell explained that delivery of the machine, which is built using the Arm chip that is used in the vast majority of mobile phones, uses one version of the Linux operating system. It is also available in two versions – one with and one without a networking connector.