New Raspberry Pi 4 raises potential for STEM education

  • The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B has been released, cramming the power of a desktop PC into a cheap credit card sized board that has huge potential to help STEM education across Northern Ireland.

    It's safe to say that no single device has revolutionised computer science education than the humble Raspberry Pi, with hundreds of code camps and other education schemes across the world using them to introduce young people to coding for the first time. The now-ubiquitous programmable computer crams an impressive array of computing tech into a tiny and extremely cheap package, making them cost-effective education tools.

    The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B was released last week, and it's an impressive iteration over the previous versions. The new Pi comes with a quad core processor and either 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of RAM, and starts as cheap as £34 in the UK. It has USB 3.0 ports, gigabit ethernet, built-in wireless network and bluetooth connectivity, and has dual 4k micro-HDMI video output. Feature highlights include:

     - 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU
     - Full-throughput Gigabit Ethernet
     - Dual-band 802.11ac wireless networking
     - Bluetooth 5.0
     - Two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports
     - Dual monitor support, at resolutions up to 4K
     - VideoCore VI graphics, supporting OpenGL ES 3.x
     - 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video
     - Complete compatibility with earlier Raspberry Pi products
     - Dimensions: 88mm × 58mm × 19.5mm
     - Weight: 46g

    One big change you'll notice is that the power input has switched from micro-USB B to USB-C, which can provide an extra 500mA of current for high-load applications but only if you have a solid 5V/3A power supply. A cost-effective official power supply and cable has been released for those who want to ensure the device works in all circumstances.

    While you can install whatever operating system or software you like on a Raspberry Pi, this new version ships with a newly overhauled operating system based on Debian and a new web browser based on Chromium 74. It could serve as a realistic portable replacement for a general desktop PC or streaming device that fits in your pocket, with the main board being around the same width and length as a credit card.

    Source: Raspberry Pi

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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