Here in Berlin I am continually looking to push the Raspberry Pi to the German education system and to that end I wanted to take a real good look what educational kits are available and what is best to recommend.
Some of the points I am looking for are:
- User Guide (so the user is not left alone with the Pi)
- Complete Kit (nothing worse than missing a cable)
- Fun Factor
- Education Value
- Bonus items (sometimes its nice to get a sticker)
My good friends at http://cpc.farnell.com/ sent me a couple of their kits to take a look and I wanted to share with you my finding.
One kit was the Raspberry Pi™ Model B+ Plug ‘N’ Play Kit. Below is a full review of the kit and an unboxing video!
I was really pleased with the contents of this kit. You had everything you need to get started with the Raspberry Pi with the exception of the monitor of course. I was very pleased to see WiFi and Ethernet cable in the same kit. Often I found that kits like this don’t provide networking cables simply because they are not expected in the home. Yet this covers the possibility that there is no good wifi signal or simply the school does not allow WiFi for security. Also considering headless setup its nice to have the feeling that its taken care of within this kit.
The user guild booklet I found short but to the point. Your given the maximum amount of information you need to get started but without being bogged down with a 150 page book. I loved the fact that the booklet also does not just tell you to get from the box to Raspbain but rather tells the user about other Linux distributions so you could make an informed choice. Lastly I specially found it welcome to see the Pi-Store documented in this booklet. I don’t see that very often which is a shame because it is a great resource for budding programmers.
In terms of fun factor… I did find all the cables a little bland. By no means is this a deal beaker for me. Remember I am looking at this from a educational point of view. One where the teacher would look to supply their computing lab with pi’s, then this kit hits the nail on the head! What makes up for the black cables though is the optical mouse. When I plugged it in both myself and my wife where shocked to find it had a red and blue LED light inside and lit up half our room.
I think that a clear case is imperative. The kids need to see that hardware but keep it protected! So I am very pleased to see that in kit.
All in all I found it a complete working kit that’s perfect for a computing lab or as a birthday (or Christmas) gift for your kids, siblings, parents or even grandparents.
CPC also have other kits available from the U-Create brand. If your looking for just the pi and a case or start to a media center and you can find them all here at: http://cpc.farnell.com