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My, my, Miss Raspberry Pi!

A computer costing £22, the size of a credit card, and tantalisingly called the Raspberry Pi has been designed by UK technology specialists to teach programming code to schoolchildren.

The Pi doesn’t even have a case, a keyboard or a monitor, and is being promoted to help reverse a lack of programming skills in the UK, says the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Its release was timed to coincide with the Department of Education’s decision to refocus computer teaching and learning in schools on programming. UK Education Secretary Michael Gove, lauding the arrival of the Pi, says: “Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word or Excel by [equally] bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations.”

Schools seemed to be just as excited by the arrival of the Pi. The BBC reports that massive demand for the mini-computer has caused one supplier’s website to crash due to the volume of online enquiries and orders.

JavaScript – the computer programming language dominant in developing web pages and mobile apps – may never be spoken but, say computer programming analysts and researchers, it may very well be the most important language children will ever learn. Says Doug Rushkoff, Cable News Network (CNN) columnist and author of Program or Be Programmed: “If you know how to code, you can likely get a high-paying job right now.”

Category: Winter 2012

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