OCR gets schools started with Google’s free Raspberry Pi computers

29/01/2013

Rasp Pi Get Started TutorialOCR has joined with Google in an exciting initiative to hand out thousands of free Raspberry Pi computers to schools across the country. 

The initiative was announced by Google today at a school in Cambridge on the eve of BETT 2013, the world’s largest educational IT event, where OCR and Raspberry Pi will be jointly showcasing their support for computing in schools. Pupils at Chesterton Community College, the Cambridge school where Google Chairman Eric Schmidt made the announcement, are following OCR’s GCSE in Computing course. 

To help teachers and students get started with the Pi and to explore its potential for creativity with resources that map directly to the curriculum, OCR has developed a key package of learning support which the awarding body will supply free of charge with each Pi. 

OCR’s learning support pack is designed to offer essential help so the free device is well used by students and teachers alike. It includes a hard copy ‘Getting Started’ tutorial booklet which provides a clear introduction to using the computer, plus links to a variety of OCR resources – such as classroom challenges and advanced tutorials – and links to useful resources on the internet, on a pre-loaded SD card. 

OCR Chief Executive Mark Dawe said: “As developers of GCSE, A Level and now Entry Level Computing qualifications, we know teachers need inspirational resources so they can feel as confident as possible about this new and growing area of the curriculum. We share the aim of Google and Raspberry Pi in bringing computing alive in the classroom.  With our expertise in bringing computing into schools, and our links to schools and colleges throughout the country, we are committed to turning this aim into a reality.” 

At Chesterton Community College in Cambridge where Google announced the initiative, the numbers of KS4 pupils taking OCR GCSE Computing have doubled.  Paul Williams, Chesterton’s Head of ICT, commented: “I currently use the Pi as a prize for achievement and as we have recently started programming in Python, this fits in well with the Pi.” 

Lorna Panesar who teaches the OCR GCSE Computing course at The Emmbrook School in Berkshire, commented: “The use of the Pi brings fun and challenge and the ability to experiment back into the classroom. “

OCR is one of six educational partners working alongside Google including Coderdojo, Codeclub, Computing At School, Generating Genius, and Teach First to make sure schools get the most out of their free Pis. As well as Raspberry Pi, OCR will be spreading the word about support for Computing at BETT 2013 with Computing At School and Coderdojo. For more information on OCR at BETT, see Raspberry Pi and OCR at BETT 2013: Supporting Computing in the classroom.