The Raspberry Pi Foundation has celebrated the sale of 10 million of its credit card-sized, single-board computers.
The Cambridge-based charity was founded in 2009 with one simple goal, according to Raspberry Pi Foundation CEO Dr Eben Upton CBE who was speaking to PCR at the Houses of Parliament: "We had this comically modest ambition. We simply wanted to reverse the decline of the number of people applying to study computer science at the University of Cambridge."
In order to achieve this 'comically modest ambition', the foundation created the Raspberry Pi in 2012 – a pocket-sized, single-board computer – essentially as a modern day version of the BBC Micro. Key to the device's success is its low barrier of entry, both in terms of cost and usability. It certainly seems as though the standards of IT education is improving as a result of the foundation's efforts.
Dan Cleevely, chairman of the Raspberry Pi Foundation said: "Our mission statement is to put the power of digital making into the hands of everybody.After the millennium, there was a misguided belief that kids in schools had to be taught word processing and powerpoint and that was somehow computing. It's like confusing getting a takeaway with home cooking because both involve food. We thought we needed to change that. We thought we could make the programming interesting again. We thought we could recreate the effect that the BBC Micro had in the 1980s and we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. "
We thought we needed to change that. We thought we could make the programming interesting again. We thought we could recreate the effect that the BBC Micro had in the 1980s and we have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams."
For a charity, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has seen a remarkable degree of success. All the profits – £3.5 million in 2015 and a projected £7 for 2016 – go directly back into the foundation's efforts to improve education, including programmes, competitions, the creation of learning resources, teacher training and more.
"The Raspberry Pi might be the go-to tool for benevolent hackers who want to create their own array of devices but education, according to Upton, still remains at the core of the foundation's focus: "We've had a wild ride over the last four years. Raspberry Pi has become the best-selling British computer ever.Parents know that digital skills are key to their children's futures and they know what 'digital skills' means – and it doesn't mean word and powerpoint.
"There's always more work to be done but this is a strong and growing movement."