Yesterday Nesta and The Science Museum unveiled a report on the “Legacy of the BBC Micro“. The preface to the report outlines how last year Google Chairman Eric Schmidt gave a speech at the Edinburgh TV Festival that:
Contained a stark warning about how Britain was throwing away its great computer heritage by failing to teach programming in schools.
and then explains how the report:
Explores the lessons for bringing back an ambitious vision of technological literacy to today’s Britain.
Coincidentally Eric Schmidt gave another speech yesterday at the Science Museum in London, which also mentioned the topic of computer literacy . This time around Mr Schmidt offered to put some of Google’s money where it’s mouth is. According to the BBC they:
Would provide the funds to support Teach First – a charity which puts “exceptional” graduates on a six-week training programme before deploying them to schools where they teach classes over a two-year period.
and according to Nesta:
Some of the money has been earmarked for relevant teaching equipment, including the new Raspberry Pi computer.
According to Eric Schmidt in his speech yesterday:
If the past has taught us anything, it’s that if you connect people with information they will change the world. The success of the BBC Micro in the 1980s shows what’s possible. There’s no reason why Raspberry Pi shouldn’t have the same impact, with the right support.
It remains to be seen how much support will be forthcoming in these troubled times, and how much impact Google’s initiative and the Raspberry Pi will ultimately have on technological literacy here in the UK and abroad.