My choice between Raspberry PI, Arduino, Pyboard and Micro:bit

I want to teach my child about programming. But Teaching child to sit steadily and keep watching computer screen is not easy, I think, for children usually can’t focus on the boring developing IDE for more than ten minutes. Therefore I try to find some micro-controller which could be used to do some interesting works for kids, such as getting temperature/humidity from environment, or control micro motors on toy car.

There are many micro-controller or micro-computer chips on market. Then I have to compare them and finally choose the most suitable one.


Raspberry PI

Raspberry PI is very powerful. It could do almost anything that a personal-computer or laptop can do. But the problem about Raspberry PI is it is too difficult to learn for a child. And another reason I give up it is the price: $35 for only the bare chip without any peripherals.


Arduino

Arduino is cheap enough. But you could only use C-language to program it. Using C-language need strong knowledges about computer science, such as memory models and data structures. Imaging use C-language to implement a working-well dictionary, it looks like building a space ship in backyard for a pupil.

Until now, I could narrow my choices to chips that could support python, or micro-python. Because Python is easy to understand, looks much straightforward, and also could be used in imperative mode. In one word, it’s much easier to learn than C.

So let’s take a look at chips which support micro-python.


Pyboard

Pyboard is simple and cheap enough, and also supports micro-python. The only imperfection of it is that its hardware interface is hard to use for someone who doesn’t know hardware very well.


Micro:bit

Launched in 2015 by BBC, Micro:bit is the most suitable chip for a child to learning program and even IOT(Internet Of Things), in my opinion. It is cheap: only $18. It supports programming by micro-python and Javascript (Graphic IDE), so child could using a few lines of Python code to control it. It also support a bunch of peripherals such as micro motor, thermometer, hygrometer, bluetooth and WIFI. Children could use it as core-controller to run a intelligent toy car. The Micro:bit even have Android/IOS app for operation, which is perfect for little child under 7 years.

So this is my choice: Micro:bit.

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