education flyer suggestions

Paul Boddie paul at
Tue Dec 15 13:15:17 UTC 2015

On Tuesday 15. December 2015 13.19.00 Paul Sutton wrote:
> Indeed the microbit was due for release back in October but has been
> delayed, the 2nd issue is that it really could do with being in the
> hands of hackers / techies / teachers and certainly some of the more
> technically literate kids out there first so they can get used to
> using it and start forming a user support community before the main
> release. Just giving some to pi / tech jam type events would address thi
> s.

There are people doing things with them:

I don't really think that sharing five devices is sufficient, however.

> The Pi zero has kind of stolen the show on this, £4 each and given
> away on magazines a major coup, it is also proven technology, so what
> runs on the Pi will also run on the Pi zero so it is ideal for
> embedded systems.  in that respect.

The magazine thing was quite a stunt, and I mean that in both a positive and a 
negative way. There are a few people unhappy with unavailability and the 
"stampede of the herd" they experienced when trying to get one.

It also makes me wonder what the goal really is with the Zero. Sure, they've 
managed to dump a load of gear on everyone, but even though it makes cost and 
hardware availability even less of an issue, it gets to the point where more 
hardware doesn't solve the problems people actually have. Here, relatively 
little appears to have been done, and I have to give the Micro Bit people 
slightly more credit.

> I think just as the facebook logo (for example) is widely recognised
> we need things like the open hardware logo equally out there so people
> see it and know what it means,  and ideally understand what it means
> so we have a sort of open hardware certified, i think the Arduino fits
> this category.

Arduino is currently in a state of turmoil, with the people feuding 
with the people, and with the new Genuino trademark being 
introduced because the .org people own the Arduino trademark in Italy/Europe.

> I would much rather get behind the Pi / Arduino / Micropython boards
> which are open to everyone to get hold of,

Well, Raspberry Pi is a captive ecosystem that has only worked because of the 
vendor backing the initiative making it very cheap. I'm still an enthusiast of 
the Acorn computers of the 1980s, but repeating a reliance on a single vendor 
would be a mistake.

I certainly think that the BBC should have supported existing open hardware 
boards. There would be potentially interesting add-ons for the Micro Bit that 
people could be developing right now, but only the partners have the boards, 
and so one might easily have the impression that they're just carving up the 
spoils for themselves.

Furthermore, the existing boards have communities and products already 
available for them. Here, I would argue that the vendors of those boards 
haven't really been coherent enough: it's almost like each new Arduino board 
is a variation for the sake of it; Adafruit keeps coming out with new AVR 
products when they're already "a dime a dozen". But Adafruit at least has some 
good documentation and Free Software resources available. (I also like 
Pololu's products for the generally good support level, if you've also heard 
of them.)

I think that there is a place for the microcontroller boards because they 
allow an emphasis on the basics, and the Micro Bit isn't an unreasonable idea, 
although it was originally conceived as a wearable thing - something that 
isn't practical with the more ambitious single-board computers - but that has 
been de-emphasised, perhaps undermining its case somewhat.

Anyway, sorry to take over the thread with all this!


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