Sep 01 2015

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“They are inventing the future, and for them it’s just child’s play.”

A recent article in The Register piqued my interest as it hit several key points, especially around the essence of trial and error and enabling kids to be the problem solvers.

When the Raspberry Pi first hit the market, it changed the whole landscape of programming and served as a way for anyone to create new projects out of necessity and innovation. In some respects, it’s like a throwback to my Radio Shack days when anything was possible. However, the Pi is less about getting a LED to light up or moving a plastic wheel 10 feet, as it’s more about building and solving problems, while putting the imagination of kids into high gear.

raspberry_pi_official_caseThe article profiled an 11-year old girl who managed to turn her Pi into a monitoring a communication device, enabling her to check-in on her grandfather. According to the girl, “Grandpa is getting pretty old. Out there all alone on that farm, he has no one to look in on him, just to see if he’s ok. He’ll use the landline, but he’s beyond of the range of mobile, and he’s never been really great with computers. No Skype or emails. Grandpa does have internet. So I built this for him.”

The girl points down to a small box with a few wires coming out.

“I can bring up a web browser, and take photos inside grandpa’s house. Has he moved his coffee cup today? Is the telly on? At least then we’ll know he’s okay. And I can even type messages” – she changes focus to a textbox inside a web form – “that show up on top. We used ImageMagick for that part…here, you can see it in our code.”

Working with a very limited knowledge of code and many hours of trial and error testing, this 11-year old girl not only mastered the platform, but she found a lasting solution to a problem. With many resources at hand, including Google and Stack OverFlow, this was not a difficult challenge.

In some respects, the Raspberry Pi has opened this whole new world to solving problems – all with the spirit of innovation and collective learning. Ultimately, this approach has given kids the opportunity to transform ideas into solutions. To the article’s point, “they are inventing the future, and for them, it’s just child’s play.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.carlferrara.com/they-are-inventing-the-future-and-for-them-its-just-childs-play/

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