When I was a 4th grader, my classroom had an Apple IIe that my teacher basically used as an incentive station for students that finished their work early. I remember pounding out my math facts as quickly as I could so I could be the first person to use the station. I had a few options to choose from: games, math reinforcement, and programming. A group of my friends started tinkering with the programming to see if we could build a game. The outcome from this early exposure was my friends and I started to gain a basic understanding of both computer hardware and software. Fast forward to today’s youth, most interact with computing hardware on a daily basis, but a much smaller percentage actually program their device.
Enter the Raspberry Pi. For $40 you can purchase the hardware to create a place for students to tinker. This introductory video gives a great overview of the hardware and possibilities:
Once you are up and running go to http://www.raspberrypi.org/ to give your students ideas to get them started. Some ideas from the site are:
If you decide to setup a tinker station or already have one, please share with us in the comments below so we can show off your setup to the NCCE community!