Programming in the Classroom

Wolfram Kahl kahl at cas.mcmaster.ca
Wed Jul 13 18:41:30 EDT 2011


I just found the following in the ACM TechNews (http://technews.acm.org):

 | Raspberry Pi: Rise of the $25 Computer
 | Christian Science Monitor (07/11/11) Chris Gaylord
 | 
 | Raspberry Pi developers have created a computer designed to inspire
 | a new generation of computer programmers but inexpensive enough to
 | enable schools to give them to students for free.  The prototype could
 | lead to $25 computers designed specifically for students.  The system
 | comes with a powerful processor, a memory card reader with 32
 | gigabytes of storage, a screen connector ready for HD graphics, and up
 | to three USB ports for a keyboard and other accessories.  The system
 | also comes with open source software that can handle common Internet
 | tasks, while providing tools for users to create programs and share
 | their developments.  The developers were able to remove all of the
 | more expensive parts of typical computing systems, such as the screen
 | and keyboard, because these parts are usually already owned by users,
 | according to Raspberry Pi's David Braben.  He says the company
 | estimates that the new devices could be given to every student in
 | Britain in a particular grade for $24 million.  The group hopes to
 | partner with a corporation or nonprofit to fund the manufacturing,
 | which would keep the computers free for the students.
 |
 | http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Responsible-Tech/2011/0712/Raspberry-Pi-Rise-of-the-25-computer

That article mentions open-source software,
but does not talk about hardware licensing.

However, they are targetting a niche
part of which could also be targetted by Nanonotes:
inexpensive machines on which you can actually program.

A Ben costs about as much as a typical textbook in North America ---
for an OS class, I would think about that seriously.
(For my logics classes, I am thinking about it, too,
 but with a longer horizon.)

AtBen/AtUSB may not have the reach to get from podium
directly to the last row in a large classroom,
but it might cover the classroom in a mesh network,
and teaching might make use of that by having students
``see'' in some way what is happening around them.
Does anybody know any existing work in that direction?
Does anybody see any potential roadblocks
to implementing something in that direction on Ben?


Wolfram




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