How to code with Raspberry Pi

Meet the mini computer that’s making a huge impact

(Image source: Pixabay)

Computers are everywhere in the modern world. For office jobs we use desktop computers;  when we’re at home we use laptops and tablets; and when we’re on the go we use smart phones. And from this huge realm of technology we have more advanced software and hardware constantly incoming. We learn how to use these tools, but many of us are ignorant as to how they work.

For those who would like to get involved with computing and computer programming, the maker of the Raspberry Pi, Eben Upton, felt that we could all learn a lot from an inexpensive, basic and versatile computer, saving us from tearing our current computers to pieces just to get a look at what’s inside. The Raspberry Pi itself is essentially a credit card-sized circuit board with essential components attached, but it is this simplicity that allows it to be used in so many ways.

For beginners, the Pi can be connected to a monitor, keyboard, mouse and power source and used as a simplistic computer. Running on the Linux operating system and with coding languages installed, students can learn to write programs and create video games. And for more expert users, the Pi can be attached to an array of different mechanisms to create things like 3D scanners, talking toys and even Pi-powered electric skateboards! So once you’ve entered the computing world, who knows what exciting pieces of software you could end up creating.

Top 5 activities for learning on your Raspberry Pi

1. Turtley amazing

Get to grips with the common coding language python with a Turtle module, which will teach you how to draw shapes, patterns and spirals.

2. Minecraft Pi

Play a special version of Minecraft that lets you control your character, place building blocks and interact with the world using the python interface.

3. Talk like a pirate

Use a jQuery script to create a ‘normal language to pirate speech’ translator, which will get you fluent in pirate lingo in no time.

4. Scratch

Learn the visual programming tool that allows you to create your very own video games using an accessible drag-and-drop interface.

5. Story time

Use the python coding language to create your own interactive story game that others can play through and try to complete when you’re done.

This article was originally published in How It Works issue 103, written by James Horton 

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