There are a ton of different programming languages that you can teach with Raspberry Pis, but it’s preloaded with Python, C, C++, Java, Scratch, and Ruby. The recommended way to go, according to the Pi makers, is Python.
No, not the snake. I promise.
Considered a “high level” programming language (meaning that it will use more abstract code and concepts like Boolean language and other complex means of thinking in order to make things work), Python was named after Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and there are references throughout that go back to familiar gags (think SPAM).
It’s often considered a gateway language, as it’s easier to grasp the concept of actual coding with Python, and then make the move forward to Java and other languages. On codeacademy.com, it’s considered a basic level language, taking about 13 hours of dedicated learning to master.
Last summer, That Guy and I took a bunch of dedicated tweens and teens through a three part Python training course on our Raspberry Pis at my branch. In this first lesson, we taught them about the IDLE tool, a bit of background in coding theory, and the basics of how Python works- trying to get the Pis to recreate something that they’ve typed out, and then put it on repeat continuously. The reward at the end was letting them loose with Picraft afterwards until the branch closed- as soon as they could successfully complete the sentence.
The teacher notes are uploaded in Slideshare, and are embedded below- fair warning, they’re a bit technical as they’re my notes, not the kids’ packets.