Can the Raspberry Pi low-cost device help deliver education and bridge the technology gap in Yemeni primary rural schools?
From a technological standpoint, the rural landscape in Yemen is immensely resource challenged, inadequate and unstable electrical current and no Internet connectivity, two factors that are important for most school projects involving science and technology.
Raspberry Pi (Raspberry Pi Foundation ) is by now well known for its low-cost, low energy consumption device. The device has shown its potential in the primary and secondary educational sectors in many countries.
The third version of Raspberry Pi is out and we took it for a spin. 1. We mainly wanted to see how it would work under unstable or complete lack of electrical current. 2.How easy it is to add Arabic language to the system? 3.Can it be used with popular educational software? 4. What value would it have in an offline mode in remote areas?
The device itself is tiny, as seen in the picture next to a standard USB computer mouse. We got an additional translucent enclosure and a fan. The fan is generally not needed, but in a hot climate such as in Yemen it might be useful.
The overall price of the enclosure and the fan did not exceed USD 8.00 adding that to the price of the device of about USD 35.00 it represents an exceptionally attractive value as opposed to the standard lower end computers. (adding to that general purpose input-output (GPIO) connectors)
Installing the OS ( with NOOBS ) was a straight forward process by downloading the OS to an microSD card.
Using Arabic through LibreOffice ( complete office suit with applications such as Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing). ) was an easy task, all we needed to do is to install an Arabic extension for LiberOffice. which can be found here
Opening, writing and saving documents in Word format (doc, docx ) was snappy and went off without a hitch.