Everyone wants a slice of Raspberry Pi action
BRISTOL and Bath Science Park was buzzing as users of a new educational computer met to share ideas and discuss its potential.
Enthusiasts of the Raspberry Pi mingled at the Raspberry Jam event in Emersons Green.
Organisers encouraged around 100 users to "spread the jam" by exchanging their knowledge and interest in the mini-computer, which is intended to enthuse children with programming.
The basic £25 machines, which were released in February, have been developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in order to get children interested in programming and encourage the teaching of basic computer science in schools.
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Rob Bishop, 22, who manages developer relations for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, said that he hoped last night's event would encourage people to learn about the capabilities of the machine. He said: "This evening is all about showing people who might be new how to use the Raspberry Pi. By getting people together like this, we are trying to engage people in science, computing and engineering."
Attending the event were two computer science teachers, Stephanie Jacobs and Rachel Murfin, of St Mary Redcliffe School.
They were keen to try out the product – which is currently so popular, it is difficult to get hold of.
Ms Jacobs said: "The computer has the potential to add a whole new dimension to our subject.
"This is a computer at its most simple and a great tool for teaching kids how computers actually work. It could make the subject so much more hands-on."
The Raspberry Pi was designed and promoted by a charitable trust from Cambridge.
Users and educators hope that the computer can encourage a new generation of "hobbyists" who can programme from home.
Sid Baldwin, 45, who works in IT services at UWE, owns a Raspberry Pi and has been experimenting on it with his children.
He said: "I want to get my kids into something more creative with computers.
"I hope we can keep them interested and to feel like they are having fun at the same time as learning something new. I think it's important that they learn the basics about how computers work and not just use them for games."
Further Bristol Raspberry Jams are anticipated in the coming months.