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Education Technology

Raspberry Pi Gets an Open Source Educational Manual 56

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Last year a group of UK teachers started working on a Creative Commons licensed teaching manual for the Raspberry Pi. That work has produced the Raspberry Pi Education Manual which is available at the Pi Store or here as a PDF. From Raspberry Pi: "The manual is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 unported licence, which is a complicated way of saying that it’s free for you to download, copy, adapt and use – you just can’t sell it. You’ll find chapters here on Scratch, Python, interfacing, and the command line. There’s a group at Oracle which is currently working with us on a faster Java virtual machine (JVM) for the Pi, and once that work’s done, chapters on Greenfoot and Geogebra will also be made available – we hope that’ll be very soon."
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Raspberry Pi Gets an Open Source Educational Manual

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  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @07:30PM (#42456439) Homepage

    Empty hard bound books. They come with a FREE document printed inside!

  • sounds cool to bad it's not college = useless to HR and you better hope you can past them to tech guys who like stuff like this.

    • by ddd0004 (1984672) on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @10:41PM (#42457537)

      Here's a tip. Don't live strictly based on the demands of someone else.

      If you want to learn about Raspberry Pi, here's one method that cost you nothing. Don't learn about it and then throw a fit when someone else doesn't hand you a large bag of money for learning it. Learn about something that you like to learn about.

      If you can apply it to a career, that's even better.

      • by Noginbump (146238)

        Whare are mod points when you need them?

        • Speaking of which, I very rarely get mod points these days. Back in, say, 2005, I could get a bunch in every 2 weeks, now it's like 8 weeks.

          It could be though that the pool of active users within which the points are distributed is now much larger.

      • by houghi (78078)

        I'm a manager, you insensitive clod.

  • Epub (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Could we get an eink friendly format? I understand that technical manuals are not designed for reflowable text, however I would like to read a manual on my Nook and then check diagrams on my laptop.

  • Khan Academy Lite (Score:5, Informative)

    by mbuimbui (1130065) on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @09:10PM (#42457063)

    If you are looking to get free educational materials on a Raspberry Pi you should check out: http://kalite.adhocsync.com/ [adhocsync.com]. Intern Jamie Alexander did a fabulous job getting the entire Khan Academy site including setting up accounts, watching videos, and doing exercise problems working on a Raspberry Pi. You can read about it here: http://jamiealexandre.com/blog/2012/12/12/what-i-did-at-khan-academy-khanberry-pi-ka-lite/ [jamiealexandre.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @09:21PM (#42457135)

    The last python chapter is a actually useful with some GPIO stuff with python.
    Just in case anyone else was curious.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Universities are commercial entities it is unlikely any institution of higher education could legally use this material.

    CC-NC ruins everything.

    • by UBfusion (1303959)

      Could you please elaborate why private universities would not use any free educational materials? Is it somehow prohibited by US laws?

      Wouldn't such a "commercial entity" like to cut a significant cost by opting to teach e.g. LibreOffice instead of MSOffice?

      • by loufoque (1400831)

        Because the licensing terms do not allow them to use it.
        Did you read the post you were replying to?

      • Non-Commercial licensed work is not 'free as in speach'. It is a zero-cost license with significant restrictions on who can use it.
        LibreOffice is under a 'free as in speech' license, as are many other textbooks, as such it is already heavily used by universities around the globe.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @02:14AM (#42459201)

      All I can say is that you need to read the actual license. NC does not mean what you think it means.

      • Providing learning in return for payment is a commercial purpose, so is explicitly prohibited by the the CC NC license.
        Even if the school is free at the point of use, and run as a non-profit charity, so long as they are eventually paid for the learning delivery it cannot include NC works.

  • by dido (9125) <dido@@@imperium...ph> on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @11:07PM (#42457679)

    CC-BY-NC-SA is not open source, not by the traditional definition of open source. The NC part of the license is the problem. Open Source licenses should permit commercial redistribution, and this is in fact part of the first criterion [opensource.org] given in the definition of an open source license:

    The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

    (emphasis added) The NC portion restricts selling the manual. It isn't a free cultural work [freedomdefined.org] either for the same reason.

  • by gukin (14148) on Wednesday January 02, 2013 @11:08PM (#42457687)

    Right now, the RP has a rudamentary X-server but a full ssh server and GCC. It's capable of so much more, just like Linux was 15 years ago. There's hints of what it can do, rendering 1920x1080 video and some VERY capable openGL stuff ( Quake3 at respectable rates) but at present, it's a $35 device hiding a lot of Gee Whiz. Sure any Android device can connect and run some really cool apps but RP can do such more, has the same latent capabilities Linux did, the same capabilities that captured the imaginations of so many, the capabilities that have brought Linux to where it is today.

    RP is a year old now but it's in a position where it isn't going to get stale, where a 300MHz P2 and a 3DFx Banshee card would be pretty awesome. Sure it won't run Crysis but it's a wholey remarkable piece of hardware and one that does or should capture the curiosity of every Linux afficianado over the last 15 years and the attention of anyone who has gotten excited about Linux in the last 15 years.

    Android is as nearly locked up as IOS but RP is as wide open as . . . GNU linux.

    • by rephlex (96882)

      RP is a year old now but it's in a position where it isn't going to get stale

      This also appears to be Eben Upton's view and since he's one of the founders of the Raspberry Pi Foundation this can reasonably be assumed to be the official view of the Foundation. They seem to think they can wait until 2015 to release a successor to the Raspberry Pi, see here: http://www.itpro.co.uk/644701/raspberry-pi-founder-has-plans-for-a-sequel-in-2015 [itpro.co.uk].

      They are kidding themselves. The unexpectedly huge success of the Raspberry Pi has ensured that it will have competitors well before 2015. I thin

      • given the price point i can't see anyone contesting them too hotly.
        • by rephlex (96882)
          As others have mentioned recently, the price of the Raspberry Pi is an illusion as you need a power supply, HDMI cable, and probably a case before it can be used. Those requirements add to the price and can't be ignored when making comparisons.
          • sure, but it's still not a very attractive price point to wage war over. if someone else comes along and cuts their margin to the bone they might beat out the pi for power around the same price but how big do you think that market is?
            • by rephlex (96882)
              Around a million Raspberry Pis have been sold. That's a pretty significantly sized market.
    • Right now, the RP has a rudamentary X-server but a full ssh server and GCC.

      Are you sure? I thought the RP ran a pretty recent version of Xorg. That's the complete full fat version of Xorg which runs on desktop Linux.

      It's capable of so much more, just like Linux was 15 years ago.

      Well... from what I gather, it's capable of running a variety of quality distros now (like Debian and Arch), so it's capable of pretty much what they are, issues of RAM and CPU speed aside.

      That said, I agree to an extent.

      It's a chea

      • by makomk (752139)

        The X server is full-fat, but the graphics driver is about the most rudimentary X driver there is - no acceleration, no mode setting, just a framebuffer.

    • What is the highest OpenGL version that it can support?
  • by swell (195815) <{jabberwock} {at} {poetic.com}> on Thursday January 03, 2013 @01:59AM (#42459115)

    This is what we want in our working computers. Not our educational tools.

    Long ago, in the days of the Apple ][, there was a computer emulator called the Visible Computer 6502. It was a graphical representation of a 6502 processor along with its registers and IO ports. You could program it in assembly language and watch it execute the code. Top speed was probably about 5 cycles per second, but you could slow it down for a better look at program execution, or you could step thru one cycle at a time.

    This was an intimate look at the inner workings of a computer that a 9 year old could appreciate. It gave insights that elude college graduates today.

    If someone will use Raspberry Pi to demonstrate this elemental relationship between hardware and software in a visually compelling format, then it will have served a revolutionary purpose and millions will see computers in a new light.

    speed power expandability not required

    • by Aliktren (2704483)
      hear hear, I still recall programming in machine language at school and it cemented a lifetime love of technology that powerpoint never could have...
    • by yo303 (558777) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @06:22AM (#42460289)

      Yes. [ObGeekCred: I wrote Wayne's World for the Gameboy in Z80 assembly and put my picture in as an Easter egg.]

      This would be an amazingly revealing tool. If debugging and tracing tools had been a standard thing the whole time for everybody, we would have so many more programmers now, because they let you look inside. It's like when they invented grandfather clocks with windows showing the mechanism: it made for more grandfather clock makers, because more people saw how cool it was to be able to make grandfather clocks.

      Further, this needs to be a standard free app on smartphones. More kids are likely to develop for and on their smartphones than for Pi or Arduino. This is much more true in the 3rd world, where many have limited access to PCs while they easily find cheap Android phones.

      Once you run it and agree, it turns into a debugging service that traces everything. It runs in a side window and has a slider that runs contiguously between assembly language, through system calls, through full speed. It can slow down any app -- their app -- with stepping, tracing, and breakpoints. It is a virtualizer running on the phone itself.

      This tool can easily be developed by a team of ad hoc developers. Imagine that anybody in the world can take apart an app and make a list of when it makes a graphic call, or have it freeze when it makes a file system request, or build timing graphs of various interesting things. This is what builds programmers.

      The project needs only a few managers, programmers, marketers, bloggers, braggers, and other passionate people. Building a team of varied people is what will make this work.

      Will you help make this happen? Picture that everybody can suddenly take apart all their apps, and see how they work inside. This could really be how things are a year from now. Mail me at j at jth period co

    • There's a setpping emulator for PIC microcontrollers which works on Linux. I believe it comes with a graphical front end, but I've never used that part of it.

      It sounds quite similar to what you remember except it works for a modern micro which you can still buy, use and program easily.

      Very handy, since you can't do a printf on a pic.

    • by IRGlover (1096317)
      you are thinking of a processor simulator. here is a GPL'd one for the 8085 processor http://sourceforge.net/projects/gnusim8085/ [sourceforge.net]. THere are also others for other chips, including the Z80, just search for 'assembler simulator'. I remember using one at Uni about 12 years ago and it was a very useful tool.
  • by fantomas (94850) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @05:19AM (#42459985)

    In itself, the Pi is just another small cheap computer. Right now it's got a great lead over other similar devices because of all the fan-publicity (I suspect mostly led by dewey-eyed 40-somethings who remember their teenage programming years on the BBC B and the like). At some point the honeymoon will be over and the Pi will be in a box in the back of the garage with all the other Christmas geek toys that were fun for a week in the holidays.

    What will give it life in the educational sphere will be the development of decent educational supporting material. Provide educational material - particularly content that ticks off required elements in the National Curriculum that teachers have to deliver - and you have something will get taken up by thousands of schools.Without it, the Pi will be just another piece of hardware foisted onto teachers that they have to manage and maintain on top of their already busy schedules, that they will get fed up with and dump as soon as they can.

    • by Gothmolly (148874)

      mostly led by dewey-eyed 40-somethings who remember their teenage programming years on the BBC B and the like

      And what's wrong with that?

    • I respectfully disagree. As one of those dewey-eyed forty-somethings (there is certainly something in what you say about that demographic) I think the allure of the RP is precisely that it is totally stripped down. This is the computer that an orphan in a backstreet of Hyderabad might acquire from a dumpster - or from a nun handing out a satchel of them to a sea of frantic, outstretched filthy paws - and take home to pore over by the guttering flame of a gaslight (allow me some poetic licence).......and s

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