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Mini Android PC battles RaspberryPi for Computer Science Supremacy

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Major Competition for Raspberry Pi

Low cost Mini Android PCs allow users to learn programming languages, several of which are designed especially for pupils and students at school, college and University, to gain valuable computer science skills.

Mini computers like Raspberry Pi and the Mini Android PC are very low cost and provide a safe environment for the learner to experiment without the fear or possibility of destroying valuable data, software, apps or settings found on a normal PC, Laptop or mobile phone. Just reboot and start again if everything else fails.

There are key programming languages which would be brilliant to run on a mini Android PC that really help learners to develop their computer science skills – they all have free open source versions which are free to download and use under GNU licences.

Scratch

Scratch: a free open source programming language for everyone. Create interactive stories, games, music and art - and share them online.

Python 3

Python 3 is a remarkably powerful dynamic open source programming language that is used in a wide variety of applications. Python is often compared to Tcl, Perl, Ruby, Scheme or Java

Greenfoot

Greenfoot is a Free open source tool. Visual tools coupled with programming, making learning to program easier learn and teach Java, Greenfoot is one of the most popular languages in the world

Geogebra

GeoGebrais a Free interactive geometry, algebra, and calculus application, intended for teachers and students.

Java

Java's Alice is designed to be a student's first exposure to object-oriented programming, it is a fun and easy way to begin learning the Java programming language. The Alice teaching tool was created by Carnegie Mellon University and is available for free at alice.org!

C/C++

C++ is a general-purpose, powerful programming language. It is regarded as an intermediate-level language available in free open source and commercial version

 

The mini PC is a brilliant platform to play and learn from with seriously high end technology for displaying games and apps that benefit from High Definition (HD) graphics etc. Simply plug the mini PC into a high resolution monitor or TV through the HDMI port and enjoy large screen display, and even touch screen with high quality sound.

 

  • Mini Android PC - Media player

    Media player

    With out of the box support of a vast range of media formats, and HD video output via HDMI, the Mini Android PC is a great gadget to have in your living room.

  • Mini Android PC - Internet Browser

    Internet browser

    Plug in a keyboard and mouse, connect to a wireless network, and you can be surfing the internet from your couch in no time using Chrome or the android browser.

  • Mini Android PC - Gaming Device

    Gaming device

    Play a vast range of free and premium games available via the Android market, or install some emulators to enjoy some vintage gaming in high definition.

  • Mini Android PC - Linux

    Customizability

    Convert the Mini Android PC into a fully fledged desktop PC by using the popular operating system Linux. Using Linux, you get access to a wide range of desktop software.

With it's exceptionally small size and weight the Android Mini is an ideal candidate to “embed” into other devices and equipment like robots, digital signage, cars, electrical equipment, monitors. It just needs a 5 volt supply which could be derived from batteries.

Android is Linux and it seems that the meteoric take-off by Android means that the “forking” or divergence of the software some while ago is now showing signs of coming back together. So it is likely that more will be possible not less by using Android/Linux in the future

Developing skills on the Android Mini PC enhances the ability to develop tools/apps/games in the future. This arena is huge in the UK but some fear the lack of new talent will damage progress, the opportunity with the Android PC for learning is that there will many more capable developers and hopefully no need to rely on others outside the UK to provide the skill set according to government and academic sources promoting this technology.

To help the process along, rather like the old BBC micro that introduced many, like me, to their first standalone computer, there are projects like the BBC micro 2 to develop open source software not hardware this time, to spread the word and provide access to resources. New technologies like Wikis and Forums also enable collaboration in development, There's even talk of the return of BBC Basic which was a powerful learning tool and could prove very handy in today's world of enormous volumes of on-line data.

Courses for programming languages like Scratch already exist and are available as a Moodle back-up file to download and which can be uploaded straight into your VLE site.

Full details of the Mini Android PC can be found here

 

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