Raspberry Pi vs/and/or Arduino Shrimps in Primary Education

Its early days yet in the brave new Raspberry Pi/ Arduino Shrimp world, but here’s where I’m at at this present time.

The current standard of doing IT/Control is to use a WinPC and a Data Harvest FlowOl input/output box (£99) – which is generally too expensive to use in a class of 30 working in pairs and the Go software isn’t like Scratch (and Scratch reigns supreme as THE primary programming language)

Raspberry Pi is cool and it can make a nice Scratch programmable Robot but doesn’t bring much else to the Primary Education party.

A full Raspberry Pi setup (Pi,Case,PSU,SD card,keyboard,mouse and HDMI monitor) costs £140 – which isn’t good value/money compared to a Win7 £200 netbook and far less portable and less easy to use in a class.

Plugging a Pi into an existing PC and VNCing into it does bring the cost of a using a Pi down to £50  and then if you add in a breadboard and some chips you could have an IT/Control setup for about £70.

And lastly, Scratch is a bit broken in places on the Raspberry Pi and not much visible effort is going into fixing it 🙁

[edit]But you can build a complete Arduino Shrimp for £4  – add in another £10 of extra breadboards/wires/switches/leds and resistors and you have change from £15 🙂 (Will that do you Cefn 🙂  Just plug them into existing PCs and program that via S4A (Scratch 4 Arduino). – much more affordable.

The problem is that the S4A software is quite clunky to use and refers to Arduino pin numbering and isn’t suitable for non-geek educator use.

What’s needed (IMHO 🙂 ) is to create a Python hander (like what I’ve done for the Pi) and then just use normal Scratch (via the hidden handler) to send/receive msgs to and from a Shrimp.

So, my next project is to write this handler and see if it is viable.

[edit]Proof of concept http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14kTmkIIXO4&feature=youtu.be

Comments/suggestions either here or via Twitter @cymplecy

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8 Responses

  1. Cefn Hoile says:

    Love to know what you’re including in the £20. A @ShrimpingIt Arduino-compatible starts at about £1.40 in bits, and you can get breadboards from only £0.86 so I think you must be including a UART adapter (£1.65), a lot of sensors, buttons and servos in with that bill I guess.

  2. cymplecy says:

    Altered to bring to show that a Shrimp doesn’t cost £20 🙂

  3. Andy Piper says:

    Are you making the code for your Python handler available?

  4. I would be nice to test your Python handler. Have you released it yet?

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