Shut down or restart?

Just found this report from The Royal Society: Shut down or restart? The way forward for computing in UK schools. Looks relevant.

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Getting to know the Raspberry Pi

While I appreciate the elegance of good hardware design, I’m a software guy at heart, a programmer. Programming is a way of thinking that combines tinkering with a problem and exploring its constraints to arrive at a solution that meets those constraints as best you can.

Nevertheless, I’ve just ordered the device from Farnell, showing 54 days for delivery.

So meanwhile, software. Programs. Algorithms even. I installed installed the Rapsberry PI emulator from here and have a working image. It’s a nice, minimal Linux but it it is clear that there would be a lot to do before it could be considered a suitable working environment for kids like the Xadros Linux on the Asus eeePc I bought a few years ago.


“The New Latin”

Back to Michael Gove for a bit:

While many teachers detest him, he’s getting a sympathetic press from the IT sector. Joshua Lachkovic says Michael Gove knows computers are critical.

I think the New Latin idea has misfired, and misses the key point: If you can’t program, then you’re forced to rely on those that can.

And finally, thanks, Verity!


Hello world – time for a revolution!

Is there really a revolution in ICT for schools in the offing? Maybe, maybe not. Lets look at some of the evidence.

Given that the new online world is being transformed by creative technology companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and video games companies, it seems incredible that there is an absence of computer programming in schools.

– Ian Livingstone OBE, Life President of Eidos and one of the UK’s founding fathers of interactive entertainment.

In July 2010, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey asked Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope (Managing Director and Co-founder of Double Negative Ltd, the UK’s largest film-only VFX company) to review the skills needs of the UK’s video games and visual effects industries and to make practical recommendations for how these needs can be met. They published their report in February 2011.

More recently the media scrum round the launch of the minimal computer called the Raspberry Pi seems to add to the feeling that the there might be a change in the way ICT is taught in our schools.

The launch of this single-board computer has the potential to trigger a renaissance in home programming by children. With a price-point of just £22, it is an affordable way to give the coding bug to a generation that are typically seen as hard to prise from their gadgets, but who often have little or no knowledge of what makes those gadgets tick

Even the government has noticed. In Februray 2012, Michael Gove (love him or loathe him). said

“Imagine the dramatic change which could be possible in just a few years, once we remove the roadblock of the existing ICT curriculum. Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations using an MIT tool called Scratch.”

Third times a charm, they say. I say it’s time for a change – less Powerpoint, more programming.