My summer project for the boys and me came in the mail yesterday: a Raspberry Pi. It’s a tiny computer (motherboard) that you can use to teach programming to kids. It also has many real-world uses. My real-world use for it will be to replace our huge computer tower that we have by our TV with this tiny computer.
We use the computer tower to access the internet through our living room TV, which is how my youngest child watches homeschool videos. We don’t really use the hard drive part of the tower, so I’d like to move the whole tower to a computer desk where it can be used as a computer instead of a media center. This credit card-sized motherboard can sit on a shelf and be our media center instead. Bonus: more space in the entertainment center!
Before I do that though, I’m going to let my kids play with it first. I borrowed a book from the library called Adventures in Raspberry Pi.
I’m going to have either Corran or Thias (or both!) program through the book. The main programming language used is Python. Corran has already had a taste of Python and says it is a little bit harder than Java. That is okay. I think once he sees what he can do with this little computer, he will be excited!
I ordered our Raspberry Pi 3 Model B through Amazon for about $40, although now it has gone up to around $50. There are also newer models out now.
I had seen pictures of the motherboard online but nothing prepares you to see it in person. It is tiny!
Four USB ports (we plan to use two of them for a mouse and keyboard) and Ethernet. There is built-in wireless but it is still useful to have the option for a wired connection.
Full-size HDMI port for hooking up a monitor or a TV.
Audio/visual connection and a camera interface (For the Raspberry camera).
The micro SD card slot is on the underside of the motherboard.
I think the Raspberry Pi also has some applications in robotics and possibly with our Lego Mindstorms robot. We are going to start with the programming part first and then go on from there. If I am able to use it as our living room media center, then we will probably need to buy another one or two to use for other applications!