THE RASPBERRY PI FOUNDATION has announced a merger with Irish computing charity The CoderDojo Foundation in order to bring easy access low-cost computing skills to as many people as bloody need them.
The Pi Foundation told us that this is all part of its ongoing plan to empower people with computing skills. The Raspberry Pi computer was created to assist, enable and inspire this, and coding clubs have sprung up across the country to support them. The Pi Foundation will combine with the Irish Foundation and its large volunteer-run education program, that are currently attended by 150,000 kids every week.
"CoderDojo and Raspberry Pi share a common mission. We are both community-led organisations, and there is already a significant overlap in our communities. CoderDojo and Code Club are different types of intervention and there is a need and room for both," explained the fruitier of the two foundations.
"CoderDojo, Raspberry Pi and Code Club have been key contributors to the recent renaissance in computing education. Together, we will form the world's leading movement to get kids involved with coding and digital making. Code Club and CoderDojo together will reach 185,000 young people in more than 100 countries all over the planet. Separately we've changed the world; together we'll change it some more."
Philip Colligan, CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation told us that the Foundations will keep their respective names because they are so respected. He added that the CoderDojo pot is bubbling with talent, those not in those words exactly, and that mergers have traditionally worked out for the Foundation.
"Since merging the Raspberry Pi Foundation with Code Club in November 2015, we have more than doubled the number of Code Clubs. We are aiming for 5,000 CoderDojos by 2020, more than doubling the current number - and we'll continue to grow Code Club as fast as we can," he said.
"CoderDojo has over 9,000 volunteers all over the world, but we always need more. Volunteering as a mentor is a fantastic way to share your skills and we do everything we can to make it easy and fun. We'd love to see people get involved."
Fortunately, round these parts, it is computers and not cash that are king, and Giustina Mizzoni, executive director of CoderDojo Foundation, explained that they are - as a certain escaped Oompa Loompa might say "As cheap as chips".
"It usually doesn't cost anything; the vast majority of Dojos operate on €0/£0. The venue is donated for free, typically corporate offices, canteens, community centres, libraries or schools; all volunteers running Dojos donate their time, and most kids bring their own devices" he explained without making any reference to daytime television at all.
"If Dojos do need to raise money to purchase additional hardware, food etc., this is typically raised or paid for by local sponsors and businesses." Smashing. This all happens officially today. Look out for local information in your area.
Meanwhile, while we had the ear of the Foundation we could not resist asking Eben Upton to spill the beans on any upcoming device advancements.
However, he kept his beans close to his chest - toast is better, Eben - and suggested that the Pi would always try and give the best for its low price point.
"Obviously at some point we'd like to be able to offer more CPU performance, and perhaps faster wired and wireless networking, but we're at least 2-3 years away from being able to do that in the $35 price envelope," he said. µ
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