Teach a kid to Raspberry...
January 2, 2013 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Raspberry Pi online forum or F2F user groups for kids?

I'm thinking of giving a Raspberry Pi to my favorite 13-year-old (MFK for short). I'm not entirely sure of the wisdom of this itself but he is a smart kid and likes gadgets; if he's not quite ready for it intellectually right now, he will be soon. Comments on the appropriateness of the gift are welcome.

Assuming that the gift itself is a good idea, I won't be around very much to help him find appropriate online forums or local F2F user groups to guide him, and his parents aren't very computer- or gadget-savvy. I checked online a little bit, including the Raspberry site itself, and I don't see anything devoted to kids. (Naturally, I'm a little concerned about online forums aimed at kids anyway - lurkers anyone?)

I do have a feeling that someone at his school might be able to direct him to resources, or maybe the school will make a class project out of it if enough interest is shown. I'm thinking some of the kid's friends will probably want one if MFK has one.

Any thoughts? Kiddo is north of Boston.

posted by Currer Belfry to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total)
Here's the kids tag on the main site in case you haven't seen it yet which might help with direction. I would definitely gift it pre-loaded with something interesting first (like a console emulator/MAME). This may be enough to spark interest in delving further into the Pi's capabilities, Electronics, Linux, or a myriad of other computer related things....but things like this normally need some guidance and parental involvement too. Perhaps check with his parents and see how comfortable they are helping out when he wants to explore new areas? If you're tech saavy, you could send mailings or project ideas to him he might like too. It's too early to tell where he'd like to take it from here (electronics being the pricier route, but greatly rewarding later in life in my opinion)

I did something similar to this with my OLPC a few years ago...luckily the parent is tech saavy so had as much fun with it (if not more) than his sons. At any rate, it's a small investment for something with tons of potential. If it doesn't catch on, at least it'd make a timeless little game emulator.

Edit: if you think electronics IS his focus, I'd start him off with an Arduino instead. It's a little more tolerant to wiring mistakes and there are tons of starter kits/shields for them on the market aimed towards kids. (although there are also arduino compatible bridges for the pi if it comes to it with 5v support on top of the Pi's 3.3v)
posted by samsara at 1:01 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add, here is the young engineers section on Adafruit. Here's an interesting implementation of Minecraft on a Pi.
posted by samsara at 1:11 PM on January 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

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