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Resources for Makerspaces (March 2019): Raspberry Pi

by Janet Ochs, Richard Powell, and Lisa Czirr

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a mini computer in the form of a small circuit board. For anyone interested in how computers work, the inexpensive Raspberry Pi is the way to go. Adding a USB hub will enable use of a keyboard and mouse, and a TV or monitor can be connected with an HDMI cable. A MicroSD or SD card will act as a hard drive; download an operating system like Linux and your mini computer is ready to use. This is a great device for learning basic programing skills and having fun in the process.

The third edition of Raspberry Pi for Dummies, by Sean McManus and Mike Cook, gets users started with Raspberry Pi in the easy-to-understand fashion that makes the “Dummies” books so popular. It includes chapters on the Pi itself, downloading and using the operating system, writing programs in Scratch and Python, understanding its various capabilities, and several projects. McManus has a background in programing and has written books on Python and Scratch, while Cook is a former physics lecturer and tinkerer who has written extensively on Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

The fourth edition of the Raspberry Pi User Guide is a concise guide to its subject, written by one of the device’s co-creators, Eben Upton, and Gareth Halfacree. The guide begins with the basics of the Raspberry Pi and setting up various connections—display, audio, keyboard, mouse, storage, operating system, etc. Subsequent chapters cover Linux, Scratch, Python and Minecraft, hardware, ports, cameras, and recipes (codes). While not quite as introductory as the “Dummies” book, this guide is well suited for beginners to intermediates.

Kirsten Kearney and Will Freeman’s Creative Projects with Raspberry Pi is a fantastic book of Pi projects that includes binoculars, a soil camera, smartphone, lunchbox laptop, and even a 3D scanner. The book covers the basics, equipment, terminology, and a reference section in addition to thirty-five projects that are sure to challenge and entertain the reader.

Works Cited