Our hacklab applied for a grant from FUUG foundation (Finnish Unix Users Group) in their “Linux for homes” themed grant proposal round. Our proposition was to use Raspberry Pi single board computers as a solution for Covid-19 enforced remote learning.
We had noticed that even our members with school children struggled with providing robust-enough devices to their kids to fulfill the requirements of remote learning. Tablets and phones are common enough, but their compliance to the software requirements is sketchy at best and there isn’t usually a good display or keyboard/mouse combinations available for those. Families didn’t have powerful laptops to spare, using a work laptop of a parent can pose its own problems, you wouldn’t like to have a laptop break. So, enter Raspberry Pi, a cheap and robust single board computer. As a cherry on the top, it runs Linux, a free and open-source operating system conceived originally by a Finnish guy.
This cute box has a bill of materials in the ballpark of 80 euros and you just need to add a memory card with the operating system and the additional software, a TV or a display with an HDMI connection, basic keyboard and a mouse and you have basically a desktop computer running an open source operating system. So, compared to a tablet or a phone, it’s a computer and it’s much more robust and cheaper than a laptop. However, the real treat is the open source software which could hopefully steer schools towards open source solutions. Most commercial products come with some kind of strings attached, so openness and connectivity of Raspberry Pi hardware powered with an open-source Linux OS is always a plus. Furthermore, it also brings “Linux to the homes”, hopefully familiarizing our next generation of diginatives with ever-so-popular choice of operating system of smart phones, mining equipment, cloud servers and so on.
Our proposition was accepted and the project is already on the way. The Finnish announcement can be read here: https://fuug.fi/2020/etaoppimiseen-vauhtia-linuxista-ja-raspberry-pista/ We have acquired a first batch of devices and are planning to deploy them to a secondary upper school of Kangasala who kindly have promised to help us to gain some insights how RasPis are accepted in the school environment and what would be the best software distribution to go with in that setting.
You can follow the project in Instagram using the hashtag #raspberryoppi