A very great week for young programmers in the UK

Two important and wonderful things happened this week:

1. Google donated 15,000 Raspberry Pis to schools across the UK

2. Today it was announced that Computer Science will be included in the new English Baccalaureate (EBacc)

Much of this achievement is down to relentless campaigning and education by groups such as Computing at Schools, Next Gen Skills and a large number of dedicated individuals: too many to mention here. We should be proud of these things happening, but let’s not wipe our hands of this problem just yet.

We need to focus our attention on the junior school children, Year 8 is Too Late in my opinion and even with the impetus of the EBacc computer science course we need to introduce ‘computeracy’ in junior schools across the land: let the 7 year olds have fun, break stuff, play and enjoy exploring the potential of computers and the digital renaissance. Bring back the What if? questions, What would happen if I…?

I know that there is a while yet before the decision is taken as to which schools will get the donated RPis, but it would be really wonderful if they were only given to junior schools, bringing an excuse to the classroom to discover the potential and joy of computers, in the same way the BBC Micro gave all us oldies hours of code-y fun in the 80s. I suspect that this would see a far greater take-up of the EBacc as those children move into senior school.

All that aside, what a brilliant week for young people in the UK?

A version of this opinion piece is in the Education section of The Telegraph

4 responses

  1. Hi Emma! Thanks for the kind words; we’re over the moon about the Google grant too.

    A few details got lost in the press whirlwind after yesterday’s announcement: most importantly that these Pis aren’t destined for schools, but for individual kids (we’re working with CodeClub, Coder Dojo, Teach First, Generating Genius, OCR and CAS to find those kids). So it won’t be a case of classroom sets, but individual gifts to individual kids, who will own the Pis themselves. For this grant, we’re looking for kids who we think show aptitude and potential, even if they’ve never done any programming before. They’ll be kids of all ages; we think that getting started early is really important too.

    The Pis won’t come alone; the grant also gives us the ability to bundle peripherals and materials (which have been commissioned and are in progress).

    And yes: a completely brilliant week. We’re absolutely exhausted. In a really good way.

    • Ah I see! What amazing news though – such a gift! Am pretty sure there will be some Young Rewired Staters (young young ones) who may also enjoy them. Let me know if you need anything from us. Hugs to you and Eb xxx

    • You don’t know how happy it makes me to hear that the pi’s are actually going to individuals who “show aptitude and potential” rather than just schools where they will be stuck in a cupboard and forgotten about in a months time.

      This is a really great call on whoever made this decision and actually gave me some hope that they are going to be put to some use and possibly bring the awesomeness which is coding to some people who might have never got the chance to learn what its all about.

      This is one bear who is very happy about this news.

  2. Pingback: A very great week for young programmers in the UK | Raspberry Pi | Scoop.it

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