Not many people know what Raspberry Pi is. And, no, it’s not a popular dessert.
Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer designed to teach programming skills, build hardware projects, do home automation and explore industrial applications of computer technology.
The computer is used to help bridge the educational equity gap throughout the country.
With the dominance of technology in the sector, students equipped with technological devices at home like laptops and high-speed broadband have a comparative educational advantage over underserved students that go without. It also robs students of the ability to seamlessly work with and interact with course subjects like coding and robotics.
Sayam De grew up in Manhasset Hills before moving with his parents to California while in middle school. Now 16, he runs his own organization – Pi Kids – teaching Raspberry Pi to underprivileged kids, all while in high school, helping close the divide and engage their interests in technology.
De launched this program in California and New York, hosting workshops and classes in local libraries and schools. He hosted events in Oakland and the San Jose minority areas, as well as Long Island, including the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library in Valley Stream.
Library Director Mamie Eng said she contacted De, and asked him to host a program at the library for kids.
“They brought all the equipment and they were very professional about it,” Eng said. “They were very careful and very patient with the little kids.”
The first workshop at the library was last summer, when De and the Pi Kids group held it live for local kids. Last month, on Dec. 29, they held a virtual event while in California.
De said that the program “hosts Raspberry Pi workshops in underprivileged areas to encourage students to gain interest in technologies through some fun activities like assembling Raspberry Pi and coding for video games,” the same way he had built an interest in technology from his father in elementary school.
The group plans to launch more programs in rural areas and donate Raspberry Pi computers to the libraries and schools. They plan to organize additional workshops in different areas to get students involved in technology where resources are limited.
De and Pi Kids donated two computers to t the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library. The computers are there for students from Valley Stream’s diverse population to learn and use either during future workshops or in their free time to learn what the Raspberry Pi fever is all about.
“We’re looking forward to continuing more classes with them,” Eng said. “We hope, next summer they’ll be able to do live again. But in the meantime, we’ll try to do more virtual classes and encourage people to use the Raspberry Pi and learn more about coding.”