Google grant to put 15K Raspberry Pis in UK schools

Steven Loeb · January 29, 2013 · Short URL:

Eric Schmidt says that he wants to drive a new wave of innovation in Britain

I hear stories all the time about school kids who have never used a computer, and, honestly, I sort of can't believe it. I mean, its 2013. Seriously, personal computers have been around for 30 years. This is not new technology!

So, good for Google for doing its part to try to correct this problem by giving a grant to the U.K.’s Raspberry Pi Foundation that will be used to bring 15,000 Raspberry Pi Model Bs for school kids around the United Kingdom, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced on its blog Tuesday.

The Foundation said that, in addition to working with Google, it will also be partnering with six U.K. educational partners, "to find the kids who we think will benefit from having their very own Raspberry Pi." These partners are CoderDojo, Code Club, Computing at Schools, Generating Genius, Teach First and OCR.

These six organisations will be providing additional help and support to the Foundation. For example, OCR will be creating 15,000 free teaching and learning packs to go with the Raspberry Pis.

"We’re absolutely made up over the news; this is a brilliant way for us to find kids all over the country whose aptitude for computing can now be explored properly. We believe that access to tools is a fundamental necessity in finding out who you are and what you’re good at. We want those tools to be within everybody’s grasp, right from the start," the Foundation wrote.

"The really good sign is that industry has a visible commitment now to trying to solve the problem of CS education in the UK. Grants like this show us that companies like Google aren’t prepared to wait for government or someone else to fix the problems we’re all discussing, but want to help tackle them themselves. We’re incredibly grateful for their help in something that we, like them, think is of vital importance. We think they deserve an enormous amount of credit for helping some of our future engineers and scientists find a way to a career they’re going to love."

There is no word as to how large the actual grant, which will fund these computers, will be, though TechCrunch is reporting that it is worth $1 million. VatorNews has reached out to Google to confirm this number, and we will update when we hear more.

A Rasperry Pi is described as being, "a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard." It can be used for applications like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video.

You can see what one looks like below:

As you can see, the computer currently has no case, but the Foundation writes that, "The education release later in 2013 will have a case by default."

The Model B  version, which are being sent to the U.K. schools, have 512MB RAM, 2 USB port and an Ethernet port, compared to the Model A version, which has 256MB RAM, one USB port and no Ethernet port.

Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, who visited the Raspberry Pi Foundation on Tuesday, has been quoted in the past as condeming the British school system for its lack of science education, saying that the country was "was "throwing away your great computer heritage" by failing to teach programming in schools.

Speaking today at Chesterton Community College in Cambridge, Schmidt reiterated those comments, saying that he hopes the donation would drive new innovations.

‘’Britain’s innovators and entrepreneurs have changed the world – the telephone, television and computers were all invented here. We’ve been working to encourage the next generation of computer scientists and we hope this donation of Raspberry Pi’s to British school pupils will help drive a new wave of innovation.”

Google's other charitable causes

The Raspberry Pi Foundation grant is just another of a long line of charitable contributions made by Google.

In December, Google announced that it was launching the Global Impact Awards, in which it awarded money to nonprofit tech innovators. 

Google donated a total of $23 million to seven different nonprofits: charity: water, Consortium for the Barcode of Life,,  Equal Opportunity Schools, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, GiveDirectly, and World Wildlife Fund.

The Google Impact Awards are a part of the, the charitable wing of the company, which has donated money to relief organizations during natural disaster, including Hurrican Katrina in 2005.

Its major projects include Google Crisis Response, which issues Crisis Maps, Person Finder and Public Alerts; Google Flu & Dengue Trends, which indicates flu activity around the world in real time; and Google For Nonprofits, which offers discounted or free products for nonprofits in order to help them with their organization.

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