Modular laptop teaches the skills of tomorrow, today

13th October 2017
Posted By : Joe Bush
Modular laptop teaches the skills of tomorrow, today

Launched today, the latest-generation pi-top modular laptop features enhancements to assist learning and boost usability, and is available through RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents.


Commenting at the pre-launch presentation of the new pi-top, CEO, Jesse Lozano, said: “Our mission is to give everyone the opportunity to be inspired by STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).

“For most 13-14 year olds the computer science classroom will involve, if they’re lucky, changing the colour of some blocks using JavaScript. So in terms of the levels of interest and inspiration that can be achieved, there is a massive disconnect. So we exist to bring interest, intrigue and inspiration to STEAM-based learning in school.

“Industry 4.0 means that technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, gene editing etc, are developing at a pace that we just haven’t seen before. So there are a number of exciting possibilities and opportunities but there are also a number of challenges – especially when you consider education. So how do we teach the skills of tomorrow, today?

“Education could be at the forefront of tackling the global challenges we have, but using traditional instruction-based and lecture style learning of today, it’s difficult to teach kids the real skills they will need, not just to survive, but thrive in the modern world.

“With pi-top, we want to make kids future-proof by giving them exposure to the new technologies of tomorrow and let them learn in a way that has real meaning. And what I mean by that is the application of computer science across real world challenges – giving kids a purpose and an understanding of why they should be learning coding. So what we’re really focused on at pi-top is integrating physical computing in the learning process.”

Modular laptop teaches the skills of tomorrow, today

The latest pi-top comes with a 1,080p full-HD 14” display, up to eight hours battery life, a full sized sliding keyboard, and the Raspberry Pi 3 with state-of-the-art compute capability and extra power for maker projects.

The laptop is supplied with the display installed in the chassis, ready to assemble by connecting the Raspberry Pi 3 and accompanying hardware using the cables supplied. Users can then take advantage of the pi-top ecosystem, comprising software, accessories and teaching/learning aids, to understand computer science and coding principles, and build their own maker projects.

The sliding keyboard provides access to the Raspberry Pi 3 and a magnetic board mounting rail, which allows users to push their learning further by expanding the hardware. The advanced inventor’s kit, supplied with the new pi-top, provides expansion opportunities including LED lights, modular microphones and speaker accessories, and pi-topPROTO+ – a HAT-compatible board containing a breadboard for solder-less prototyping of electronic circuits.

To help users unleash the new laptop’s extra features and capabilities, the proven pi-topOS Polaris software suite contains purpose-built teaching apps, including the pi-topCLASSROOM customisable lesson-plan creator, pi-topCODER, and pi-topPROTO physical computing examples.

Users can also take advantage of familiar tools like Scratch and CEEDuniverse, which help users to learn coding concepts, and powerful built-in utilities like Google office suite and Chromium. pi-topOS Polaris is the only education technology platform fully endorsed by the UK Oxford Cambridge RSA (OCR) examination board.

The new pi-top is available to order immediately from RS in EMEA and is available shortly in the Asia Pacific region.

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