Technology For The Masses

David Braben created a $25 dollar computer. Let’s get it into school and inspire some kids.

Conrad Wolfram (of Wolfram|Alpha) made a great TED speech about how kids should be taught math. Definitely worth a watch if you have 17 spare minutes.

If we are to start teaching kids to perform math using a computer, like the real world does math, then there needs to be an affordable way to bring computers to students. On this front, I’m extremely impressed by a man named┬áDavid Braben. You may know him as the creator of the Rollercoaster Tycoon series. In his latest project he’s created a $25 computer. Yes, twenty five dollars. From

Braben has developed a tiny USB stick PC that has a HDMI port in one end and a USB port on the other. You plug it into a HDMI socket and then connect a keyboard via the USB port giving you a fully functioning machine running a version of Linux.

The goal being to literally give students a computer. One that could be used for classes, one that could easily be built upon, one that may inspire the next ground-breaking computer scientist.

With school budgets constantly stretched to the limit, this is a much better option than giving kids iPads. Plus, Braben’s computer is much more open to innovation and development by the motivated student. Open source software and exposed hardware encourages students to literally build upon the device. The iPad, while a great learning tool for numerous topics, fails at inspiring budding computer scientists due to its closed structure. You can’t get into the iPad and change things. You can’t see how it works. You can’t even change the battery.

Thank you, David Braben, for your $25 computer. We’re definitely making steps in the right direction.

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