Raspberry Pi: An affordable treat for students?

Technology affordability and sustainability are key concerns for educational leaders. Schools need seriously low-cost and capable options to inspire the next generation of programmers, computer scientists and technologists. Enter the Raspberry Pi, a forthcoming $35.00 mini computer running Linux.

About the size of a credit card, the Raspberry Pi connects to a USB keyboard and monitor or TV via HDMI. Powered by a 700Mhz ARM processor and 256M of RAM, the device runs Debian Linux and sports high-definition video playback. Two USB ports and an Ethernet jack are included. A less expensive model, sans Ethernet and with half the RAM, will also be available for $25.00. Overall, the Raspberry Pi is somewhat similar in power to a first generation XBOX; rather impressive for a device costing less than the price of dinner and a movie.

There are a few trade-offs to achieving a low-cost balance of power and capability. Current models do not include a wireless card. Additionally, the first production run is lacking a case, although the foundation has indicated that future models will address this limitation.

A UK registered non-profit, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s social mission is to “see cheap, accessible, programmable computers everywhere.” After several years of development, the foundation plans to begin selling the Raspberry Pi in the next few weeks. Read more about the project at: http://www.raspberrypi.org/.

Check out the Raspberry PI demo below–note that they showcase Blu-ray quality video from the mini computer: