Google to fund purchase of Raspberry Pi devices for UK schoolchildren

Search giants grant will buy 15,000 of the tiny computers, for use in technology education

Eric Schmidt

Credit: Raspberry Pi Foundation

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt pledged to provide 15,000 Raspberry Pi model B computers to British students today during a visit to a school in Cambridge, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced in an official blog post.

[ MORE DELICIOUS RASPBERRY PI: Raspberry Pi now packs 512MB RAM ]

Six partner organizations -- including the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA examinations board, which has also pledged 15,000 sets of teaching materials to be bundled with the devices -- will help identify students who could benefit from a free Raspberry Pi. Along with OCR, the educational groups Teach First, CoderDojo, Code Club, Generating Genius and Computing at School will work with the foundation to make sure Google's largesse is effectively distributed.

Schmidt and Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton also gave a basic coding lesson to one class of students, according to the group.

"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 said.

Based on the Raspberry Pi's price at retail, the purchase will cost Google a bit more than $500,000.

From the outset, the Raspberry Pi was designed to be a cheap, accessible computing platform for students learning how to code. Demand has been high since the product was launched, however, for both educational and non-educational applications.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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