The Micro:bit It is half the size of a credit card and is a pocket-sized computer. 70 times smaller and 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro computers which were once used in schools. It has 25 red LED lights that can flash messages and be used to create games. It is used for computer coding and simple robotics projects.
The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a device that enables people of all ages to explore computing and to complete simple projects, learning how to program in languages like Scratch and Python.
In examining the best tools to be used in school curriculums and with hobbyist interested in computer science, coding and fun robotics projects, the choice of device is Micro; bit or Raspberry Pi. Which is the best for your needs?
It should be said from the outset, that its extremely difficult, and not entirely fair, to compare the merits of the Micro:bit to the Raspberry Pi 3. They are completely different devices. The Pi resembles a rudimentary PC. It has a board which can be connected to a keyboard and mouse, while the Micro:bit is essentially a circuit board used for hooking up to other devices. It is comparing a micro controller (Micro:bit) with a microcomputer (Raspberry Pi). A microcomputer has an interface that you can access by plugging it into a monitor of some kind, even a television. A micro controller has no interface, you write a program on a computer and upload just the code to the board. So, rather than urge comparisons, we need to examine the intended usage for each device to see which is your best fit.
The Micro:bit is the darling of the school system and a joy for those beginning to code. The device was front and centre of a large UK scheme to teach the basics of computing to a new generation. The results were spectacular and have led to Micro:bit being the go-to platform for educators across the pond and here. Luckily they are reasonably priced for those of us without generous benefactors. The Micro:bit is simple to use and is perfectly aimed at entry level coding. There are Inventor kits and cool robot Binarybot kits to add to the creativity, fun and sense of achievement of learning. It is ideal for young coders well suited to the secondary school computer coding curriculum. They are a micro-controller that neatly bridges the gap between screen based block coding, like Scratch, and programming physical projects. While it operates at a much more basic level than the Raspberry Pi 3 and is designed to interact with other devices rather than acting as a stand-alone system, the Micro:bit is an exciting affordable piece of technology.
The Raspberry Pi 3 is a much more advanced and device, and is aimed for the more experienced coder. So, if you are at the very beginning of your programming journey, the Micro: bit is a first step before the Pi. However, the Raspberry Pi was also designed to teach children how to programme and it does this well. It runs Linux, a free system, and is powered by a phone charger, while connecting to a keyboard and monitor. This makes it the use a familiar one, of typing and screen visuals.
Compatibility: Games industry veteran, Ian Livingstone, told the Guardian Newspaper that he feels the Micro:bit is a gateway device to the Raspberry Pi.
“It’s an entry-level device that will enable kids to code and program, and if they enjoy that, clearly they’ll move on to devices like the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi,” But more than that, the two systems are very compatible. The fact that Raspberry Pi runs on Linux, and the Micro:bit’s embedded software platform allows for the compiling of project’s on one system and running it on another, ensure a compatibility between both devices.
What is universally agreed with both devices, is that they are set to ignite huge creativity, inventiveness and enjoyment for the next generation of coders. Learning by doing is the way forward and the Micro:bit, and Raspberry Pi are the perfect tools for the job.