Our Industry is Turning into a Fruit Salad

The launch of Raspberry Pi has generated plenty of interest already in the media and with the ever increasing waiting line of customers. The credit card sized piece of kit will be launched into UK Schools later this year in an attempt to help overcome the worrying fact that children are not learning about IT but rather learning how to use software applications.

At a recent visit to Woodcote High School as part of Young Enterprise’s Learn to Earn Programme, all 100 or so children in the room had no idea that Facebook Help Pages existed since navigating the system was never an issue for them. For these guys WYSIWYG is all that matters, and with the likes of Eric Schmidt slamming the UK for the lack of computer technical education in schools, it’s time for us as their parents, future employers, and older generations to encourage younger people to get more excited about technology.

The importance of the introduction of the Raspberry Pi is more than just allowing people of all ages to appreciate blinky lights and programming skills. It’s about their ability to understand the importance of tinkering – breaking and building programs and projects that help us use our mental capacity to come up with new solutions and ideas.

In 2010, Sir Ranulph Fiennes gave a keynote speech at CompTIA’s EMEA Conference about the importance of hiring people on their ability to be self-motivated and use common sense. Too often, those who are less familiar with technology tap into it for as much as they need it and don’t explore further. As a consequence we blindly fall into traps set by those with alternative agendas such as phishing scams or security breaches because we assumed too much of technology on face value.

Breaking and building a Raspberry Pi will help many of us understand that technology is just a binary combination of 1s and 0s. It doesn’t forget and it doesn’t make emotional decisions – that’s the job of the user. But when we realise how we as humans can turn technology into something more than just face value, we begin to unlock new potential and in turn find new circuitry in our own brains that make us more motivated to be better people.

And as a result, we begin to look forward to a new generation of workforce that has the motivation, common sense, and experience that the technical aspect of our Industry is crying out for.

All hail the Raspberry Pi and all those parents and teachers that encourage it and the likes.


2 thoughts on “Our Industry is Turning into a Fruit Salad

  1. I think the big issue here is that most kids (and adults!) don’t really care how technology works, they just want to know that it works!

    Also, we are bombarded with so much new technology, that for kids it more about the cool factor and having the latest gadget, then thinking about all the hard work that goes into putting the device into their pockets (not counting all the £££’s their poor folks have to fork out!)

    There are however, the small few who have a genuine interest in how things work and love opening things up to tinker with them.

    It’s these ones that the education system, parents etc. should nurture and encourage but let’s hope that gadgets like the Raspberry Pi help inspire and educate more kids, so that there’s more than just a small few coming up through the ranks!

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