Arguably, the most important consideration when employing educational technology approaches is cost. Sad as it may seem, but at the end of the day, terms like 'return of investment,' overhead cost, 'project cost,' 'budget,' etc. always prevail. This single factor might be the primary reason why some school districts still have apprehensions deploying tech. But, one thing that I'm sure of is that cost is the number one reason why schools in the Philippines have deferred on edtech.
What if I told you there is a cost-effective way?
The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized, general-use computer. What makes it so special is it's adaptability. It's adaptable in a way that it can be used in numerous applications like programming, robotics, multimedia, and even in gaming - and these are just a few! The possibilities and applications are almost endless given such an adaptable machine.
Another advantage of the Raspberry Pi is that it can be connected with almost any USB device - be it a mouse, keyboard, speakers, or a bluetooth/wifi dongle for connectivity. It also doesn't need a hard drive for storage - just plug in a USB thumb drive or a mini-SD card, then you're good to go. Moreover, it is compatible to use with televisions given its built-in HDMI port.
The best feature of the Raspberry Pi though is its cost-effectiveness. You can buy a motherboard in the range of Php1200-Php3000 (around US$30-US$70) each, depending on the model. With economical accessories that can be easily sourced from local distributors, this makes this machine a winner. Just imagine - with this technology, we can create a fully-functional learning machine for less than Php5000 (US$110)!
The downside? The Raspberry Pi does require a bit of technical knowledge. Since it comes in stock a'la tabula rasa, you would need some programming know-how to make it function the way you need it to. However, given to the right set of developers, the Raspberry Pi can be a cost-effective alternative for PCs; and can be a low-cost solution for lesser funded schools.
If you need more information on what it can do and what it can be used for, here a short video by Kevin Partner and our friends over at Rasperry Pi Lab. Cheers!