Learning Python using Codecademy and Minecraft Pi

I met Craig Richardson at Newcastle Maker Faire and we got to talking about teaching using Raspberry Pi Minecraft. For a while I’d harboured a plan to write some proper teaching resources for it and had scribbled a few notes but hadn’t had time to develop it. Craig had had the same idea – yes, it was just like Darwin and Wallace – and we decided to get our heads together. Shortly afterwards Craig sent me what he had been working on. And here it is. It’s so good that I haven’t got anything glib to say. It’s a magnum opus.

Craig’s book is one of best teaching and learning resources that I’ve ever seen for any subject. It follows the Python lessons in Codecademy (one of the best online learning resources out there) and then reinforces these skills using Raspberry Pi Minecraft. It’s contemporary and it’s challenging and it’s fun. It’s got a 225 page student book with exercises plus separate teachers’ notes. It provides differentiation and it references the new Computing curriculum. It’s learning by stealth :)

If you are a teacher and are teaching Python in September: please go and get this, your students will thank you. (Would you rather teach loops by printing a times table or by fighting trees?)

Everyone else who would like to learn or improve their Python: please go and get this, it’s not just a classroom resource so don’t be put off.  If you don’t want to work your way through it from the start just cherry pick what you find interesting – it’s an excellent reference and I’ve used it as such in workshops, to great effect.

A treasure detector based on an exercise in Craig’s book. The LED flashes faster as you get nearer to the treasure.

The book isn’t quite finished and Craig says:

Right now the book is incomplete, especially in the later chapters. The vast majority of content is there, some bits are missing, and a lot of it needs polishing. I am just about to start teacher training and won’t be able to dedicate any time to the book for the next few months. … I do plan to finish the book, I’m just not sure when I will have the time. If you are interested in helping to further develop these resources please get in touch.

When it is done it will surely be an essential resource for learning Python on the Raspberry Pi, so if you’d like to help then please contact Craig. Oh — and there’s lots of other good Pi-related stuff on his blog too.