Learning computer programming with the Raspberry Pi

Raspberry PiHave you ever heard of a Raspberry Pi? It’s a tasty slice of technology!

The Raspberry Pi is a $35 computer from the United Kingdom, designed to help children learn computer programming. It’s not difficult to set up (though you need to supply your own peripherals – such as keyboard, mouse, and monitor – for it). And once it’s set up, it’s easy for kids to start exploring technology with it.

Our son received his own Raspberry Pi just before Christmas. So far, he’s been having a lot of fun setting it up and learning how to use it.

Here are a few things you should know about the Raspberry Pi:

  • It does not run Microsoft Windows. Raspberry Pi uses the Linux operating system. Linux is an open source operating system that is somewhat more complicated to use than Microsoft Windows or MacOS, but is a very powerful operating system once learned.
  • It can be a little slow. It has a 700 MHz ARM processor. That’s not a tremendous amount of power, but apparently it is enough to run a Raspberry Pi version of Minecraft.
  • It can be used to show videos on your TV. Some people buy Raspberry Pis (and a similar hobby computer called the Arduino) specifically for this purpose.
  • You can connect the Raspberry Pi to your wireless network. So you can use it to check your email or surf the Internet.

If you have children or students who are interested in learning about computers, technology, and how to computer program, the Raspberry Pi is a great choice. Children can learn to program Python, Java, or a number of other popular computer programming languages used today. While the Raspberry Pi can be a bit trickier to operate than a Mac or a Windows PC, for those kids who are interested in technology and willing to take the effort to learn new skills, it is an entertaining and inexpensive choice.

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