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Raspberry Pi for a 10 yo who has never learnt coding - good idea?

(11 Posts)
Izlet Sun 18-Oct-15 00:06:55

I'm thinking of getting DD a Raspberry Pi for Christmas so she can start learning some coding. I'm totally clueless about it and not sure where to start. I've seen starter packs on Amazon and the like, plus I was going to buy a book on Scratch programming (saw this Is this sufficient? Has anyone successfully taught/learnt how to use Raspberry Pi from a book? DD has never approached coding but she is a Minecraft fiend and I think she'd enjoy trying to build her own games.

Also, what other equipment do we need? I imagine some sort of monitor? Will a TV screen (digital) be any good? Do we need any other hardware? If so, does the Raspberry Pi work only with PC? Would it work with OSX? We are a Mac household and the only PC I have is a work laptop where I can't go installing stuff, so if we do need to link to a computer this may be a problem.

Any info or advice would be gratefully received. Thanks!

Ricardian Sun 18-Oct-15 11:04:00

It's if anything easier to work with Pis in a Mac environment as they're both Unix-derived systems.

However, if the objective is just cutting some code, why not just install Scratch on one of your Macs? What's the benefit of using a Pi rather than the computers you already have?

cdtaylornats Sun 18-Oct-15 12:50:47

A TV screen will be fine, it will also need a keyboard and mouse. Although there is a touch screen designed to work with the pi.

I would suggest getting a book of simple projects to start her coding so she will have a specific goal. is worth looking at.

Has her school got a Raspberry Pi club?

DoctorTwo Sun 18-Oct-15 14:37:52

Most Linux magazines have sections devoted to RaspberryPi. Plus there are magazines specifically for it. 10 is the perfect age to get into coding imo.

Thefuckinggrinch Sun 18-Oct-15 21:41:09

We bought our 10 year old a raspberry pi and a book called adventures in raspberry pi. It's programming and a few other bits of electronics (there's a kit you can buy that goes with the book but bought separately so you can make a music player with it)

There's another book called adventures in mine craft that's got stuff about putting mine craft on a pi and stuff about making mods.

You need the pi, a usb keyboard and mouse and a TV or monitor with a HDMI port. No other computer needed.

codewaist Sun 18-Oct-15 22:18:00

Cards on the table I'm a programmer (Delphi, Java, JavaScript, Oracle SQL, PL/SQL)

If you want to get DD into programming then the Pi is one of a few options and i kind of depends if you want to interact with "real" things or write code.

If you want DD to code then you don't need a Pi and as others have said you can simply use scratch or the rather good code club books. Both of which will work just fine on a Mac.

If you want to learn how in interact with real world things like leds and temperature sensors the a Pi or Arduino is perfect. Try to get a kit that includes some electrical components ilike this one from Ada Fruit.

It;s also worth bareaing in mind that all Yr7s may get one of these

Izlet Sun 18-Oct-15 22:39:43

Thanks all, this is all very interesting. I think I might start by downloading scratch onto my Mac and see how she goes, then buy her a Pi if she wants to expand. I saw somewhere that Scratch was Microsoft and thought it would be a nightmare on OSX. Interesting about the Minecraft on the Pi.
We're not in the uk and here the IT lessons at school are used to teach Word Art and other such self teachable uselessness and no, we don't have any type of computer club, alassad. I just read a couple if articles about Raspberry Pi so thought it would be a way in. However I'm totally confused about the range if starter kits and the variation in components and didn't want to pick the wrong one.

I saw that book Adventures in Raspberry Pi but it had a few did reviews on Amazon as it was apparently written for teachers and not kids. Did you find that the case?

Izlet Sun 18-Oct-15 22:45:58

Codewaist, I'd prefer to buy from the uk (am in EU), what do you think of this kit. Is 1GB enough?

Zipitydooda Sun 18-Oct-15 22:52:24

We have the adventures in Minecraft pi book and it is good. My DS is working his way through it.
He did do a lot of scratch coding beforehand on the PC and has a good grasp of coding concepts from doing this. I'd start with scratch and also look at the website for guided coding courses online for free.

Ricardian Sun 18-Oct-15 22:54:53

Is 1GB enough?

You get no choice: it's a broadcom system on a chip which in the case of the Raspberry Pi 2 has 1GB of RAM by definition.

Izlet Sun 18-Oct-15 23:07:37

Excellent, thanks for the info re and the minecraft booksmile.

I realised after I asked the question that the 1gb was indeed RAM. I'd managed to confuse myself reading about another kit with 8MB external memory. Or something like that. It's late and I've eaten too much cake. I will check out Scratch and code org tomorrow with a clear head and go from there. Thanks for all the info everyone, it's been extremely useful.

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