Arduino Forum

Topics => Education and Teaching => Topic started by: liuzengqiang on Apr 01, 2011, 08:24 pm

Title: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 01, 2011, 08:24 pm
I'm trying to create something for a possible teaching proposal with Arduino. Here is what I came up with: any suggestions and comments? Thank you!

Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: RuggedCircuits on Apr 01, 2011, 08:32 pm
How is buying 5 large pizzas going to lead to any positive educational benefit? I think it will just lead to larger stomachs and life-long struggles with weight.

I don't buy the music argument being negative. Music appreciation is a positive thing.

For the video games, Kits-->Kids, spent-->spend. The "nothing relevant to the real world" is a bit overblown. Some recent studies have shown that they do learn *something* (problem solving, co-operation/socialization in multiplayer modes, as depressing as that is, etc.)

Arduino: spent-->spend.

Parents are REALLY sensitive to what their kids' teachers publish. I'd vet this through a couple more teachers before putting it out there.

--
The Gadget Shield (http://ruggedcircuits.com/html/gadget_shield.html): accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, speaker, microphone, light sensor, potentiometer, pushbuttons
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: cr0sh on Apr 01, 2011, 10:37 pm
Re: this thread's title

If I had any kids (thank $DEITY I don't), I would say $50.00 is a small sum, and if it could be spent extremely wisely, it could lead to a lifetime of dividends.

My own parents spent a ton of money on my education - for me, it was STEM stuff all the time (though the acronym didn't exist at the time, I don't think). It started with Lego, Tinkertoys, and other building kits. It progressed to programmable toys (such as my Milton Bradley Big Trak - I still have that one!), then morphed over time to my interest in computers and electronics (TRS-80 Color Computer and 150-in-1 Electronics Kit - yeah, my parents shopped a lot at Radio Shack).

Now I'm here - on these and other forums, and my career has been in software development.

Since my parents have passed away, I managed to find many of the receipts for my computer and peripherals of my youth (all of which I still own, all of which still work OK) - I am floored as to how much they spent (considering inflation and what my dad made as a county construction worker); I am both humbled and eternally indebted to them for their efforts (I made sure they were aware of this once I was old enough to really understand).

So - $50.00? For any real parent worthy of the title, the real question should be "Why so little?". Applying to investment in Arduino components? So long as the child has the interest, I can't think of much else it could be better spent on (besides books and other things to go along with the STEM theme, of course)...

:)
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: robtillaart on Apr 02, 2011, 12:37 am
I just wonder where this educational impact column is coming from? Your opinion? ENquette?

5 pizza's can be very educative to learn about multiplication, fractions, circles, PI, vegetables, nutrician values, cooking, heat flow through different materials, evaporation, burning, chemical transformations, geography (where does the artichokes come from), taste combinations, Italy, Roman Empire, immigration (how Pizza's got over the world, no the Romans did not, or did they?), cultural differences, etc and there are people who will use an Arduino to create bad things (I will not provide examples of this ;)

I think your list is subjective at best and shows (partly) what people/parents what to hear. Saying that tech is positive on an tech forum is like asking a  grizzly if it likes salmon, you know it does. If you want a realistic list, ask 500+ parents and ask the rationale! Better ask 500+ kids: Why do you think Pizza's are educative - "peperoni keeps me awake in class, Sir!" ;)

Formost I think the real question (culture dependant!!) is: , what makes the kid enthousiast?, is it sport, tech, cooking, ... Money spend on something they are not interested in is a waste. That said sometimes you must "confront" a kid with new things to broaden their horizon, just to try, but mostly they know what they want.

And yes, I agree with Rugged Circuits, parents are sensitive to what their kids' teachers publish.

Hopes this helps,

Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Simpson_Jr on Apr 02, 2011, 02:57 am
I very much agree that an arduino + sensors is a very good investment for... the right kid.

I don't agree with the educational impacts given though.

Without some... technical talent or real interest, Arduino would for example unfortunately
be the first one to disappear of my list.

Educational impact of eating a pizza ? When following a study as cook perhaps ;) ?

With 160+ beats per minute and 100 dB listening to music will indeed have the effects you mention,
but listening to music by itself can have lots of positive effects as well. For a lot of kids
it gives them something that binds them which is a quite important piece of social education.

Describing it as almost certainly negative is a quite harsh in my opinion.

Would you have bought a $10 Ebay Mp3-player and added a second hand musical instrument,
I'd have a very hard time choosing, even when my kid would have technical talents. My parents
must have suffered enormously, but man... am I grateful for all the music lessons I got.
I may not earn money with it, but playing a 2 hour session often feels like a vacation of 3 weeks.

The video games... which quite often are multi-player RPGs nowadays,
may seem worthless to many, but it has more or less the same effect as the MP3-player.
Although you may never have met a fellowplayer in real time, when he's in your team
and you shoot him, the others in the team will certainly tell/teach you such behaviour is
inacceptable. Working hard together to reach a goal, although it may be "killing the enemy",
also teaches something important. Hearing "It's a pity we lost this time, but at least we all
did our best" could.... be possible when you buy something "very negative".

Books, I'd change that one from several months to... a lifetime, indeed depending on content.
Every kid should have access to a _good_ library and get loads of books.

The arduino...
It would totally depend on the kid. If they're technically interested, spend the $50 and
keep saving for all those 50s in the future. Buy that ARM-board as soon as you think your kid's ready.

Having blown up 3 microcontrollers while still having lots of problems with the fade-example,
will not contribute to self esteem though. In the same way I can hardly kick a ball while soccer is nr. 1 Game in Europe.  I'm glad I had a dad who really loved soccer, but realised I... was much better in Judo.

My story with kids...

Unfortunately my wife and I have no kids, but I have been in a quite unique position for
8 wonderful years. As Janitor on a school for kids aged 4-12, I was no parent who told 'm
what to do nor... the teacher they had to listen to.

We had fun day in day out and it was quite easy to walk among them on the same level.

Although you won't see me playing a RPG soon nor appreciate some eh... music,
I had a hard time not being interested in the kids behind the things they were interested in.
Since the kids knew... I was always in for joke and they didn't need to listen to me I've
heard almost anything and was able to give loads of free advice.

Ofcourse I've seen "fights" over an RPG-game every now and then. Some of the kids were
also quite hard to motivate. But on the school yard I've also seen opposing teams
complimenting each other for "the most bloodiest kill ever" and hope I had some influence.

I'm sorry to say so, but it's too simplistic in my honest opinion.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 02, 2011, 04:06 am
Thanks a lot guys! I just put this thing together to see if it would work, so it would not. I should try something else. I strongly agree with Rob about the salmon (yummy to me, wife is cooking it now). Lots of kids get what THEY want, in school they teach the teachers what they should teach.

I will definitely remove pizza :)
Maybe remove the whole thing  :P

On the other hand, I was mostly blaming mobile music platforms like ipod, not a stationary stereo, which I really like to have if I had space. Good music itself is always good when properly enjoyed. A mobile music platform only distracts the user and damage their hearings.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: TerryKing on Apr 02, 2011, 07:32 am
John, I know you teach adults, and we are talking about how kids are different.

I happen to be in Bangkok at an Education Conference now so we are thinking about these issues!

The biggest effect on kids Education is the adults they encounter, parents and teachers and other mentors.

As great as I think Arduino is, I do not think the Educational material is there yet to just hand it to a kid and expect good stuff to happen.

I have lots of kids and lots more Grandchildren.. and I've tried lots of things... I have used Lego Mindstorms with kids and even with that well-researched educational system, kids often floundered around if left on their own..

The biggest factor is the adults kids interact with. Parents, Teachers, other mentors are the ones that involve kids with their own learning.  So I am considering how to put together an Arduino offering for Parents, leading to learning by them AND their kids.  I don't know how that will work, yet, but I've tried many things over 50+ years, and taught kids from 2nd grade to High School, and at  University and IBM. And I don't know much, except that personal involvement by the students and they way they construct their own learning is what matters.

My kids learned a lot about electric circuits and switching with a few old IBM control panels that had a lot of switches and lights on them, a couple of batteries, and about 100 clip leads from Radio Shack. They built a Lunar Lander next to the furnace in the basement.  5 years later they were etching circuit boards in the kitchen. Today they are building systems with 3 Atmels in them, 10GHz chip receivers, doing BioChemistry at Yale, etc. I hope the difference was not knowledge per se, but a disposition to take things apart and put them together..

So, I wish I knew just how to help Parents and Kids do hands-on stuff together. I almost think that Parents should just start doing table top Arduino after Dinner, showing the kids what it's all about, asking kids what could be done with it, having them help.. and later 'allowing' them to do their own things. But never telling them they have "bought an Educational thing for you"

Let them find the receipts 20+ years later!!


Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 02, 2011, 07:58 am
Terry,

Thank you for the wonderful input. I'll be working on making materials to teach high school teachers. Hope someone will give us money to do it. I have some students that are going for practice teaching soon. Hope to make a connection to local schools. These days are very different from the old days, where teachers made their own teaching equipment and demonstrations. Now you go and buy off a catalog and don't get to know what's inside those neat little boxes, plus kids get some many neat little tech toys and they don't feel excited seeing some tech stuff as they were (maybe just me myself). I think Arduino will change the game. If a teacher shows how to use an accelerometer to measure acceleration of an amusement ride, he/she may bring kids interest back to STEM.

To think about how STEM has been treated in the US, I used the current status of STEM in the US to explain how transistor conducts, kind of sad. I want to change it, although I'm just a foreigner in the country.

http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,56924.msg410057.html#msg410057
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: TerryKing on Apr 02, 2011, 09:08 am
John, Let's continue some conversation about teaching Teachers and Parents how to enable young people to encounter Arduino, STEM and technology in general in a positive way. Any other opinions, anyone??

What country are you originally from?  Many of us are from "All Over" in this era and that's a good thing.

I have friends from "all Over" so there is no part of the World where I can see bad things happening and say "I don't care"!
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: mowcius on Apr 02, 2011, 11:53 am
Quote
A mobile music platform only distracts the user and damage their hearings.

On the whole I have to agree but I think when students get to the age where they might want to be motivated by arduino, I would suggest that there are many who would understand the benefits of music. I personally listen to music quite a lot (obviously not at the volume level many kids listen to it at) but it can really make a difference in how you feel/how productive you are. So music in moderation (whether a portable device or not) can have major benefits.

On another note, I saw an elderly lady on a bus I was travelling on the other day listening to an ipod. You could tell she was happy listening to whatever it was and it was improving her mood. Travelling around on buses by yourself doesn't normally do good things to people's moods.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Simpson_Jr on Apr 02, 2011, 06:38 pm
One other thing I thought of... Who's going to help the absolute beginner ?

One can of course ask questions on this forum, I must say support in general is great,
but answers can sometimes also be a little intimidating...
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Big Oil on Apr 02, 2011, 08:51 pm
I would change some of the items, and the prices are a bit off. 
1 new video game = $60
1 month of cable TV = $50

mp3 players aren't positive or negative, everybody listens to music on the car radio
I would also leave books out in order to make a stronger argument. 

If I were writing a letter to parents I would explain all about how amazing microcontrollers are and what can be done with them.  Then explain how cheap these are compared to 10 years ago, and make the price comparisons at the end. 
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: keff_in_sg on Apr 03, 2011, 02:44 am
Quote
John, Let's continue some conversation about teaching Teachers and Parents how to enable young people to encounter Arduino, STEM and technology in general in a positive way. Any other opinions, anyone??


Hi Terry,

I too am interested in this subject. I come from Singapore, and there isn't much of a culture of tinkering here. So while there are trained engineers etc who are comfortable with handling circuit boards etc, most people are quite intimidated by exposed electronics parts.  I don't know if this is the same in other parts of the world ?

My impression is that this intimidation factor is the single biggest obstacle to learning electronics. My first encounter with electronics was with circuit diagrams and current and resistor value calculations. This can be daunting to all but the most determined student. For me, I found it so dry and simply just could not go on and left it for about a decade. It was only when I discovered the wonderful world of Arduino 4 months ago that I really got my hands dirty. And this comes to a person who I think is reasonably technically inclined (I am an architect. No, not the software kind, the bricks and mortar kind).

I got into Arduino because I wanted to build my own home automation system. Now that I have gotten the backbone of my HA system running, I have come to think that it would be an excellent educational tool. This is because simple functions can easily be broken down and demonstrated.

My thoughts is that to remove the intimidation factor, a lesson plan can move from the outside in; meaning the teacher can demonstrate the function (eg. using relay to switch off light), then peel back the skin and reveal the electronics working (eg. remove the relay and show the circuit doesnt work anymore). Later tweaking the programming can be demonstrated, and students introduced to the programming environment / IDE. Lastly circuit can be rebuilt on a circuit board, and students challenged with some creation of their own.

What do you ( and any other reader ) think ?

Keff in Sg

Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: TerryKing on Apr 03, 2011, 03:56 am

One other thing I thought of... Who's going to help the absolute beginner ?

One can of course ask questions on this forum, I must say support in general is great,
but answers can sometimes also be a little intimidating...


This is exactly what I am trying to figure out!  Some attempts at http://yourduino.com (http://yourduino.com)

But that's an online environment, and even though young people are comfortable there it doesn't work for everyone.

One new fantasy of mine is a publication for Parents or Mentors or Teachers which shows how to start DOing things with Arduino, and encouraging young people to get involved. "Hey, look at what this does! How do you think this works? How could you make it do something different? "

Later let the kid take over 'your Arduino'...  :)

John, I'm glad you started this discussion!
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 03, 2011, 05:40 am

Quote
A mobile music platform only distracts the user and damage their hearings.

On the whole I have to agree but I think when students get to the age where they might want to be motivated by arduino, I would suggest that there are many who would understand the benefits of music. I personally listen to music quite a lot (obviously not at the volume level many kids listen to it at) but it can really make a difference in how you feel/how productive you are. So music in moderation (whether a portable device or not) can have major benefits.

On another note, I saw an elderly lady on a bus I was travelling on the other day listening to an ipod. You could tell she was happy listening to whatever it was and it was improving her mood. Travelling around on buses by yourself doesn't normally do good things to people's moods.


Thanks mowcius! That's good point. I agree. Just last Friday I used an old MP3 player, an npn transistor, and a few spare parts, made an old-school boom-box (not very boom-ie no box either). Just in time for my Electronics class lab on npn common-emitter circuit.

I think if I say arduino + mp3 or arduino + game device (maybe wii controller) = much more awesome maybe someone will buy my argument.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 03, 2011, 05:44 am

One other thing I thought of... Who's going to help the absolute beginner ?

One can of course ask questions on this forum, I must say support in general is great,
but answers can sometimes also be a little intimidating...



Yes yes. But imagine asking a stranger questions and expect getting help. I still prefer asking here :)
I'm trying to train teachers (high school) so they themselves are not absolute beginners but their students ARE! I'm training the teachers since I'm not certified to train kids, nor do I have the skills! Kudos to high school teachers! It's difficult job and doesn't pay much. I'm hoping with arduino they can do their jobs better, and kids enjoy more.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 03, 2011, 05:45 am

I would change some of the items, and the prices are a bit off. 
1 new video game = $60
1 month of cable TV = $50

mp3 players aren't positive or negative, everybody listens to music on the car radio
I would also leave books out in order to make a stronger argument. 

If I were writing a letter to parents I would explain all about how amazing microcontrollers are and what can be done with them.  Then explain how cheap these are compared to 10 years ago, and make the price comparisons at the end. 


Big oil, I like your point of just comparing prices without necessarily pointing fingers. Thank you.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 03, 2011, 06:04 am
cr0sh,

I bet your parents were very good parents. I also owe mine a lot. My dad was a professor in electron science but he didn't really teach me electronics. We didn't spend much time together because he spent countless time in his lab. The first time I felt interest in electronics was right after I finished a gruesome task of teaching 3xx-level electronics for physics majors. It seems that physicists don't like to either teach or do electronics. When anything gets too practical, it's out the physics door. I owe partly of my employment to saying "oh yes, I am certainly willing to teach electronics" during interview :smiley-mr-green:

Keff, I was intimidated by bare electronics parts as well, also the mentioning of designing PCB, or manufacturing hundreds of them. But all those were history now.

I think what helped me are three things: I have some money to buy parts (wouldn't work if I were half my age), I stumbled into the Arduino world with such a lively and helpful online community, my background in programming. As a physics major like most other physics majors, I only took one class in electronics in my junior year and that was it. Even after I taught the class, I still wasn't very interested in it. Until one time I came up with an idea that will be a teaching equipment. I used all my knowledge and couldn't figure out how to make it work. A very haphazard chance made me meet an artist, artist everyone! He was using arduino and he showed me what he did with arduino. After that I read about arduino and made the purchase. Eventually I made that teaching design work. It's not very good-looking but it's showed me the potential of arduino. I've been a fan since that time (around 2009). With my programming background, all I needed are ideas and time. The rest was just hard labor :)

So looks like many are interested in this topic. We should certainly chat often on this board. I think I've got like 1000% what I was expecting when I started this post  XD XD XD Thanks to you all!
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: falconphysics on Apr 04, 2011, 11:18 am
I like this idea. I use Arduino in my high school electronics course. I think it's a great way to introduce kids to programming and electronics. For the price it's hard to beat. My favorite part is watching the excitement in the beginning as students discover how to light up and sequence multiple LEDs. I love my job!

You can check my stuff out at http://electronics.flosscience.com (http://electronics.flosscience.com)

If you're so inclined you can also support my efforts to fund a teacher crated Arduino based high school textbook at:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1713741390/arduino-in-education (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1713741390/arduino-in-education)

Steve Dickie
Divine Child High School
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Korman on Apr 11, 2011, 11:43 pm
So, I wish I knew just how to help Parents and Kids do hands-on stuff together. I almost think that Parents should just start doing table top Arduino after Dinner, showing the kids what it's all about, asking kids what could be done with it, having them help.. and later 'allowing' them to do their own things. But never telling them they have "bought an Educational thing for you"


Terry,

if parents start "doing stuff for their kids", not a lot good will come from it. Kids aren't stupid. Parents need to things for themselves and only then let the kids participate. That's the case with music, with sports, with cooking, with video games, with fashion and clothing, and also all other kind of tinkering from sewing, jewel crafting to electronics and computers. So to get children involved, get the parents involved first.

In the end, being able to deliver useful results even for beginners (adults) matters most. And to deliver useful results there needs to be a problem to be solved. Remember the classic entry into electronics? Build your own AM radio receiver or your own Tesla coils for sparks - something useful. Or why else are some many people coming from other occupations like model vehicles, car tinkering, electronic music, robotics, home gadgetry to the Arduino and so little people start out with the Arduino directly?

If you want to bring people to the Arduino, look for people with occupations who could use them, show them how it can work for their hobby. That will get them hooked. And once you have them with the Arduino, they can then be goaded in the direction of programming or electronics. Don't start them directly on programming or electronics, those are rather forbidding domains where so many things can go wrong and simple looking problems become very complicated and frustrating fast.

Korman
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: TerryKing on Apr 12, 2011, 02:51 pm

...
If you want to bring people to the Arduino, look for people with occupations who could use them, show them how it can work for their hobby. That will get them hooked. And once you have them with the Arduino, they can then be goaded in the direction of programming or electronics. Don't start them directly on programming or electronics, those are rather forbidding domains where so many things can go wrong and simple looking problems become very complicated and frustrating fast.
Korman


Thanks, Korman... Very good point.  I guess I was assuming that many people came to Arduino because "They got interested". But HOW??  Hmmm...

I think that often young people get interested in something by watching an adult or someone else doing it and enjoying it or "doing something cool".. 

But you're right that Arduino is not an end to itself, and should be promoted more as an enabler and a tool.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Korman on Apr 12, 2011, 03:36 pm
I came to the Arduino because I was asked by a friend to look at the programming for some gimmicks he wanted for model aircrafts. If you look at starting posts in the "Project Guidance" section, most start with:

I want to control my turbine car/aquarium/camera/projector/light gimmick/servos/garden/hydroponics/steel mill ...
- or -
I have seen a cool watch/PoV/robot/rocket launcher/blinking jacket / sensors inputs I want to recreate
- or -
I bought/inherited/found a description of a thing that works mostly, I just want to ...

And then they go on that they think the Arduino is the choice and how to get started with the tutorials, code fragments and circuit droppings they found on the Internet to make it happen. They don't really care about the Arduino itself, it just looks like the easiest way to get what they want.

The really great thing about the Arduino community isn't the the quality of information available, it's that in the beginner forums people get answers how to move closer to their goal. People get the feeling, that they aren't left alone utterly confused and bewildered.

To come back how to get people, specially children involved, is to do things with them they care about. And if those things need some microprocessor control to become better, you have your opening for the Arduino. It really doesn't matter what it is.

Korman
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 12, 2011, 04:49 pm
I agree, lots of people wanted to use arduino simply because they saw other people do cool things with stuff, and they were told arduino was involved. If they want to do those cool things themselves, they find themselves in the project guidance section. Later if they have success (the community factors a lot in their success), they start to think about arduino as a tool like a screw driver, or a car. They will start looking for projects they can use a screw driver for or places they can go on a car. That is the real fun. A person always looking forward for an adventure with electronics and mechanics can have a lot of fun.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: retrolefty on Apr 12, 2011, 05:56 pm
  I've been around here for 2 1/2 years now and have been amazed by how many different objectives the arduino can fill for users. There are experienced software types that have little or no electronics experience and just want to use the arduino to learn electronics. I've also seen experienced hardware types that want to use the arduino platform to learn software programming effectively. And as already posted some come here just to learn how to utilize an arduino to further their specific project goals.

Bottom line is the Arduino fills many different needs for different kinds of users. However the support from this forum has a lot to do with people being successful with their objectives no matter what they are.

Lefty 
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Simpson_Jr on Apr 13, 2011, 02:10 am
One thing I've thought a lot about, but unfortunately have no answer to, how... could one persuade more girls to start experimenting with electronics/arduino ?

From a male perspective it's hard not think... female -> lillypad -> Leds on clothing, but there should be a lot more making them think "Hey, _that's_ interesting !".

The most logical I often met while working with 4-12 year old kids were... in fact the ladies. They do tend to get mature much faster and maybe gentlemen get more capable in technical stuff on the long run, but there should still be a lot of girls who're more then capable enough to understand and work with an Arduino.

Anyone have any ideas on this one ?



Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: fkeel on Apr 13, 2011, 02:29 am
I have not read the whole discussion, but I still am adding my 2 cents, hope thats ok.

*
What does this list represent? Its just your personal opinion, right? You state the things as if they where facts, and I find that irritating...

Also, there where times in my teens where my mp3 player was probably my most valued posession, my music really helped me threw some rough times. I believe napstar and beeing exposed to multitudes of music and ganres was not only good for my sould and overall well beeing, imo it was also educational and broadend my horizon.

I have been into computer games since quite an early age, they where not so much the reason, but more like a consequence of beeing interested in computers. However, I soon realized that, a)civ2 did not allways act the way I wanted it to, and that b) I could make it act the way I wanted to.

So it was computergames, and not Arduino that introduced me to hacking.

*

edit: I say stupid, not fully thought threw, things sometimes. I just saved you from one of them :-)


If you want to make some "advertising flyer" for your educational kit, you should back it up with facts, and not with what you believe the generell consensus to be...

But yeah, I guess people have probably said that already. I just really wanted to point out that looking back at my teenage years, music definitvly was a positive influence and in generall I think computergames and up on the positive spectrum with me as well.

Cheers

p.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 13, 2011, 07:03 am
fkeel,

Read the freaking posts if you wish to speak. You may have mixed me up with someone else selling arduino kits or something but your attitude is not appreciated. Not reading the posts and lashing out your opinions is a form of trolling. I'm not interested in your opinions to say the least. It's irrelevant.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 13, 2011, 07:23 am

One thing I've thought a lot about, but unfortunately have no answer to, how... could one persuade more girls to start experimenting with electronics/arduino ?

From a male perspective it's hard not think... female -> lillypad -> Leds on clothing, but there should be a lot more making them think "Hey, _that's_ interesting !".

The most logical I often met while working with 4-12 year old kids were... in fact the ladies. They do tend to get mature much faster and maybe gentlemen get more capable in technical stuff on the long run, but there should still be a lot of girls who're more then capable enough to understand and work with an Arduino.

Anyone have any ideas on this one ?






There seems to be large peer pressure to girls around middle school to conform to what other girls do. It's a difficult thing to break. I have 30 students in my electronics class and only 3 girls. Most of them are physics majors and some CS, MME, chemistry or math. It's been that way since maybe when my dad was in college some 53 years ago. Yes, there's more women engineers and scientists but you don't see anywhere near 50/50 man/woman.

I wish to go to high schools to demonstrate to those kids what science and engineering is about and there are very interesting topics but to make an impression to girls around age 12-15 I need girl presenters. I was presenting at a women engineering on campus event for that age range girls but after almost a full day of presenting, only less than 10 showed up. The campus organizers didn't do their work and I consider it was wasting my time to present three sessions to an average of 3 girls each session for 1 hours each.

Hell, I'm a guy. How should I blame them for only sending out registration forms to high schools? They should personally go the the high schools, show pictures of the past event and encourage more girls to come. You can't magically convert a bunch of girls from loving what society tells them to do as young girls into liking science-engineering subjects. This takes numerous time and effort. As of where arduino stands in this battle, I wish I had an answer. What projects may interest young girls of that age?! Any parents here? Anyone speaking their language? I know a lot of girls like biology, which could be a point of entry for arduino.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: robtillaart on Apr 13, 2011, 09:23 am
@liudr

I think your reaction to fkeel might be a bit too fast, let me explain. I see two things: the message and the form of the message. The form is what "triggered" you, without paying enough attention to his message. The form is just the carrier of the message and I have learned (as requirements engineer) to look through that. It is the difference between HOW people say WHAT they mean. So lets just focus on the message.

The message of fkeel is : "listen to the people you want to reach by looking at their context". Similar statements are made earlier in this thread an it means that (other recent post) if you want to reach girls in the age 12-15 you must understand about what in their context/mindset is important. Think everyone will agree on that as it is basic marketing - excuses for using the M word on a tech forum ;)

The discussion should focus on how to reach them (boys and girls). The answer comes also from marketing (did it again ;) and the word is seduction. The (not allways educative) power of commercials. If you can get a "I want that too" feeling, people go far to reach their goal. Seduction is about showing end-results, called products, and their benefits. A technique I often used to gather requirements was the persona. - read the book: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, Alan Cooper -. Basically you describe a fictive customer in as much detail as possible and that person is the archetype for your whole customergroup. We often used 2-6 in projects, archetype per role.

<example persona>
A minimal persona: archetype Girl, 13 year
- Linda, has one older brother Jason (bully), and a younger sister Kate (who wants to borrow her ..everything), live in a suburb, she does horseriding, is interested in makeup and clothing, wants a blackberry like her mother has, and an Ipad!. She is sloppy, forgets things and appointments ("You see, I really need that blackberry and all girls in class have one, please daddy?") Likes to shop for clothing, worries are about puberty and the first kiss she wants from justin Beeber, she listens to his music all day, goes to movies with schoolfriends, with whom she socializes a lot, tell them her secrets, write her secret secrets in her diary, she like pizza pepperoni, and dino's, she hate to do the dishes, likes drawing, etc ... [Got a picture?] 

How can we seduce Linda for technique? What would she like to have to make her live happier?

Ok from the persona profile I can think of the following product concepts (that might include Arduino tech)

- A detection system that shows that her sister Kate was in her room. Actually it shows if anyone was in her room. Better if someone is now in my room !
- RFID tags in make-up to end discussion about "that is my lipstick Kate",
- A detection system that warns when Jason is around,
- A handbag she will never forget,
- A something thingy to share secret messages with her friends,
- A diary that only she can open ("Mom, that stupid Kate got my diary!!!")
- ...
(think you allready have ideas how to make these)
</example>

So with the help of the persona, we quickly identified six possible products that might seduce all 12-15 year old girls. They can buy it (10 minutes of fun in the mall) or you can make it yourself (hours of fun) and mind you, all those secret devices you buy in the Mall have the same password!!, they aren't secret at all!

By building these products and show them - they should look good, we're talking girls here - you might attract them into some tech.

I hope this does help your quest a bit ,

regards,
Rob
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: mowcius on Apr 13, 2011, 10:52 am
All interesting ideas here.

Quote
You can't magically convert a bunch of girls from loving what society tells them to do as young girls into liking science-engineering subjects. This takes numerous time and effort. As of where arduino stands in this battle, I wish I had an answer. What projects may interest young girls of that age?!

Very true.

Quote
female -> lillypad -> Leds on clothing

I personally think this is a poor idea that people seem to have. Maybe for a short time they might want clothing to light up but I think they'd be more interested on sewing material on to make the item of clothing look more like something made by gucci that something geeky that flashes.

Boys of a young(ish) age want to make things that move, blow things up, do things etc.
Girls of a young(ish) age (as said above) I can see being much more interested 'secret stuff', things that tell them something, hide something etc.
They are much harder to get interested in electronics, I do think that female presenters are a must - they really need someone of the same sex to get them properly interested and as a role model for them. As for specific projects, that's a hard one.

I started this:
http://collabedit.com/7cr9k (http://collabedit.com/7cr9k)
Feel free to change stuff around - lets see what people come up with. Stick your name in top right.
I'm a bit blank on ideas atm but I'll keep it open and try to add stuff when I think of it.
Ideally projects that use simple components and minimal coding but code could be mostly written beforehand and the students/children could have to modify pre-written code to do slightly different things or add to some pre-written code.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: fkeel on Apr 13, 2011, 01:21 pm

I think many of the ideas you guys are offering for "girl products" are still a tick too complex and techy. I think, if I would want to get a young girl started with electronics I would start without an arduino, but just getting her familiar with simple circuits. I think the perfect starting product would be lady ada's minty boost.

http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/

If I where to design new gadgets for girls, I would start from there - analyze why this was succesfull and create something with similar proporties. We see here, the usefullness of this itam is very obvious and direct, while the complexety of the design is low and very basic. Also, the overall design is smart and appealing.

p.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: mowcius on Apr 13, 2011, 02:06 pm
But the issue is that as a project to do - I wouldn't have thought it would be particularly appealing to girls - and teaching them how simple circuits work also need to be done in a way that's interesting. We're talking about trying to get non-geeky girls interested - I can see a geeky girl learning about this but that's not the point.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Korman on Apr 13, 2011, 04:55 pm
Look at the average - stereotype boy getting interested in electronics: Either they soaks it up from his environment where their parents / elder siblings play around with electronics or they fail to succeed at more popular topics like sports, so they choose a domain where the bullies won't go (because of the lack of status) or where they have a better chance at succeeding.

And make things even worse, people working in electronics aren't in most cases really the glamorous type, they have a bigger chance of being the misfit-type or the introverted type. In short, there are many people who spend a lot of time with their gadgets to succeed, which is time not spent with other people. This reduces the attraction of electronics (and similar solitary subjects) even further.

Now the big question: What does electronics offer to a girl? In most cases they already have easier areas to retreat to to get away or need it less.

From what I've seen, initiatives not providing at least some answer to this question don't really achieve much.

Korman
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 13, 2011, 04:58 pm


I think many of the ideas you guys are offering for "girl products" are still a tick too complex and techy. I think, if I would want to get a young girl started with electronics I would start without an arduino, but just getting her familiar with simple circuits. I think the perfect starting product would be lady ada's minty boost.

http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/

If I where to design new gadgets for girls, I would start from there - analyze why this was succesfull and create something with similar proporties. We see here, the usefullness of this itam is very obvious and direct, while the complexety of the design is low and very basic. Also, the overall design is smart and appealing.

p.



That is a nice thing for USB people of all ages and sexes to carry. Not geeky-looking at all but geeky within. But how would a kid (boy or girl) be made interested in electronics from using this product? Maybe this is a new lead: making cooling things with non-so-geeky appearances. Then the users will be interested in exploring more tech stuff.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 13, 2011, 05:05 pm

Look at the average - stereotype boy getting interested in electronics: Either they soaks it up from his environment where their parents / elder siblings play around with electronics or they fail to succeed at more popular topics like sports, so they choose a domain where the bullies won't go (because of the lack of status) or where they have a better chance at succeeding.

And make things even worse, people working in electronics aren't in most cases really the glamorous type, they have a bigger chance of being the misfit-type or the introverted type. In short, there are many people who spend a lot of time with their gadgets to succeed, which is time not spent with other people. This reduces the attraction of electronics (and similar solitary subjects) even further.

Now the big question: What does electronics offer to a girl? In most cases they already have easier areas to retreat to to get away or need it less.

From what I've seen, initiatives not providing at least some answer to this question don't really achieve much.

Korman


Korman,
You made me  =(
I wish I was popular in high school  =( =( =(
Actually I was OK at least within my circle of friends but I can definitely see lots of young boys in your described stereotype. So they do electronics because they need some success they don't get from their muscles. Time for building exo-skeletal armors to interest them more? :smiley-mr-green: It's another good lead to be honest.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 13, 2011, 05:15 pm

@liudr

I think your reaction to fkeel might be a bit too fast, let me explain. I see two things: the message and the form of the message. The form is what "triggered" you, without paying enough attention to his message. The form is just the carrier of the message and I have learned (as requirements engineer) to look through that. It is the difference between HOW people say WHAT they mean. So lets just focus on the message.

The message of fkeel is : "listen to the people you want to reach by looking at their context". Similar statements are made earlier in this thread an it means that (other recent post) if you want to reach girls in the age 12-15 you must understand about what in their context/mindset is important. Think everyone will agree on that as it is basic marketing - excuses for using the M word on a tech forum ;)

The discussion should focus on how to reach them (boys and girls). The answer comes also from marketing (did it again ;) and the word is seduction. The (not allways educative) power of commercials. If you can get a "I want that too" feeling, people go far to reach their goal. Seduction is about showing end-results, called products, and their benefits. A technique I often used to gather requirements was the persona. - read the book: The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, Alan Cooper -. Basically you describe a fictive customer in as much detail as possible and that person is the archetype for your whole customergroup. We often used 2-6 in projects, archetype per role.

<example persona>
...



Sorry for the blunt reply. I will settle this with PMs.

You've painted a good picture. First of all, I really don't want to sell anything here, I have no arduino starter kits or products. I was collecting input to a possible grant to engage high school kits. I think you gave me a perfect one:

This following project was inspired by the original Mikal Hart's reverse-geocaching box:

http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,49937.0.html

I intended to build a geocaching treasure box that demands certain secret protocol to open: You take the box, which has 6 sides, each representing a number 1-6, then you knock on the side of the box that faces up to input the secret code. Say if you have 342516, then you first face side 3 up and knock on the box to enter 3, then face side 4 up and knock. I did a test and fell in love with inputting with audio feedback in tones so I ended up making a music box.

A girl wants to keep secrets, she can make such a box, upon secretly rotating the box and knock it in a non obvious way, she can open it. That might be a good project for high school girls. What do yo think?
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: robtillaart on Apr 13, 2011, 05:25 pm
If you have a example to show them (with enough bling bling on it and painted pink :) it will work I guess .
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 13, 2011, 06:33 pm

If you have a example to show them (with enough bling bling on it and painted pink :) it will work I guess .


A store (TJMaxx) has some painted boxes that look too nice for a geocaching box subject to elements of the nature but should be good as an example for indoor use. I'll have that on my list to purchase. It's around $16, a lot if you buy electronics components. I was trying to get an art professor to work on the music box but failed. They're really good at making things attractive I wish to work with them in the future.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: robtillaart on Apr 13, 2011, 06:40 pm
Artists, technicians and craftsmen together performed magic in all centuries :)
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 13, 2011, 06:49 pm
, and I derive formulas on white board mathemagically (to some of my students). Maybe if I do this secret box project right, I can develop some artistic brain cells that I need. My projects are fine in intellectual merits but lack of artistic features.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: robtillaart on Apr 13, 2011, 07:54 pm
Learn to use the golden ratio and that kind of "tech facts" from arts and you've made a first step, the math of music (harmonics) is a good second. Apply this 'knowledge" to forms and people will unconciously recognize it (and the chance they appreciate it will rise :) 

Once read a story that some people climb a mountain with pen and paper and draw the view they have and throw away the painting. They will have a far more vivid image of the view than those who take a picture.

Remenber the verb "that what you give your energy to, will grow"
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: robert12joseph on Apr 14, 2011, 07:45 am
Just $50 is enough for the kids education?
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: mowcius on Apr 14, 2011, 10:36 am

Just $50 is enough for the kids education?

Well that's one of the things about arduino, $50 would be enough for the first week or so :D
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Simpson_Jr on Apr 14, 2011, 11:23 pm


I wish to go to high schools to demonstrate to those kids what science and engineering is about and there are very interesting topics but to make an impression to girls around age 12-15 I need girl presenters. I was presenting at a women engineering on campus event for that age range girls but after almost a full day of presenting, only less than 10 showed up. The campus organizers didn't do their work and I consider it was wasting my time to present three sessions to an average of 3 girls each session for 1 hours each.

Hell, I'm a guy. How should I blame them for only sending out registration forms to high schools? They should personally go the the high schools, show pictures of the past event and encourage more girls to come. You can't magically convert a bunch of girls from loving what society tells them to do as young girls into liking science-engineering subjects.


That s*cks, especially at an engineering event !
I... guess the overload of work in education is to blame a lot. I've seen quite a number of things fail, even pretty basic ones as keeping safety in mind at school because of the amounts of work. I for example was often the only one (of three) with safety papers while we should have 14 on a school with 350 kids.
I'll spare you the excuses I've heard from teachers while talking to them about safety. If there were times I wanted to blame people/things, I'd pick those... ]:)

I hope you keep in mind, even with a group that small, that you may have planted a seed, whether they become die-hard "arduino-addicts" or do something completely different with it.


Basically you describe a fictive customer in as much detail as possible and that person is the archetype for your whole customergroup. We often used 2-6 in projects, archetype per role.

<example persona>
A minimal persona: archetype Girl, 13 year
- Linda, has one older brother Jason...... [Got a picture?] 

How can we seduce Linda for technique? What would she like to have to make her live happier?

Ok from the persona profile I can think of the following product concepts (that might include Arduino tech)

- A detection system that shows that her sister Kate was in her room. Actually it shows if anyone was in her room. Better if someone is now in my room !
- RFID tags in make-up to end discussion about "that is my lipstick Kate",
- A detection system that warns when Jason is around,
- A handbag she will never forget,
- A something thingy to share secret messages with her friends,
- A diary that only she can open ("Mom, that stupid Kate got my diary!!!")
- ...
(think you allready have ideas how to make these)
</example>


I hadn't thought of it that way, I probably would be the worst guy promoting stuff, but I think it has a lot of potential !

As Liudr pointed out a Female instructor would probably make it lots easier, another thing would be to find a complete line of teaching material from simple to intermediate. Once they know the basics and have successfully built intermediate stuff I guess boys&girls will realise they can build stuff completely by them selves.


All interesting ideas here.

Quote
female -> lillypad -> Leds on clothing

I personally think this is a poor idea that people seem to have.

Yep, I even felt pretty small-minded when I wrote it down.
I taught my neighbour how to operate a sowing-machine while she... has taught me how to weld by the way, but at the time of writing I didn't have a clue where to find ideas.


Girls of a young(ish) age (as said above) I can see being much more interested 'secret stuff', things that tell them something, hide something etc. As for specific projects, that's a hard one.

I started this:
http://collabedit.com/7cr9k (http://collabedit.com/7cr9k)
Feel free to change stuff around - lets see what people come up with. Stick your name in top right.


Great !

A relative simple one we probably all know here could be the RGB-moodlight. Even without secrecy- gadgets it's quite magical.
Another would be a secret doorbell, but too much secret stuff might also be too much.


Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: robtillaart on Apr 14, 2011, 11:29 pm
Quote
RGB-moodlight

The name is far too technical , it should be called ...ehh.... think think ......!   A fairy Light!!   

// what is the illusion you want your customers to have?
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Simpson_Jr on Apr 15, 2011, 11:24 am

Quote
RGB-moodlight

The name is far too technical , it should be called ...ehh.... think think ......!   A fairy Light!!   


Do you expect much 13-15 year old girls will still be eager to make a... "fairy light" ?  :smiley-roll:



Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Korman on Apr 15, 2011, 02:11 pm

Do you expect much 13-15 year old girls will still be eager to make a... "fairy light" ?  :smiley-roll:


I'll report back in a few years, when my daughter reaches that age.

Korman
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 15, 2011, 04:50 pm
quick question: when did the "mood ring" become trendy and among what age group?
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: Korman on Apr 15, 2011, 04:58 pm

quick question: when did the "mood ring" become trendy and among what age group?


What's a mood ring? Something like this?
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/de/f/f9/Schlagring.jpg)

Korman
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Apr 15, 2011, 06:42 pm
That's funny. It's certainly a mood changer. The mood ring is a fat ring filled with color changing liquid crystals that reflect your "mood" with color.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: madworm on Apr 18, 2011, 10:56 pm
Quote

What's a mood ring?


I'd spell that ring with a 't'.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: TerryKing on May 07, 2011, 11:56 am
Meanwhile, back at the $50 question:

This is $40  ($60 complete with an Arduino compatible): http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/BrickStarterSet (http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/BrickStarterSet) 

Just click on any Electronic Brick or part for How-To Information and example hookups and Software Sketches.

Just starting out?? Maybe start here:   http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/GettingStarted-Software (http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/GettingStarted-Software)

Comments, suggestions, critiques really appreciated!  terry@terryking.us


DISCLAIMER: I mentioned stuff from my own Shop...
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on May 08, 2011, 08:01 am
This is what I made lately. Should be very nice for beginners and students. Keeps mess away from arduino and easy to switch between projects :)

(http://liudr.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/phi-connect-assembly-08.jpg?w=400) (http://liudr.wordpress.com/gadget/phi-connect/)
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: TerryKing on May 08, 2011, 08:21 am

This is what I made lately.
...


You make good stuff, John!

I assume you brought out "Everything Interesting" on that breadboard connector...
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: mowcius on May 08, 2011, 11:35 am


This is what I made lately.
...


You make good stuff, John!

I assume you brought out "Everything Interesting" on that breadboard connector...

Everything's broken out apart from the ICSP header
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on May 08, 2011, 07:33 pm
I was just thinking about basic breadboarding. Maybe next time I will bring out that header. What do people use that header for? Programming, debugging, what else?

Larry, if you're interested in selling these in your store or using them for teaching, PM me.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: mowcius on May 09, 2011, 10:41 am

I was just thinking about basic breadboarding. Maybe next time I will bring out that header. What do people use that header for? Programming, debugging, what else?

I've personally never used it for anything :D

Oh and the 5V and ground lines didn't fit into the sides on my breadboard (obviously different spacing but I used sockets so they come out the top). I hadn't realised that that's what the connections were meant to do until I looked at your pic again :D
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on May 09, 2011, 04:46 pm


I was just thinking about basic breadboarding. Maybe next time I will bring out that header. What do people use that header for? Programming, debugging, what else?

I've personally never used it for anything :D

Oh and the 5V and ground lines didn't fit into the sides on my breadboard (obviously different spacing but I used sockets so they come out the top). I hadn't realised that that's what the connections were meant to do until I looked at your pic again :D


mowcius,

Could you provide a picture or model number of your breadboard? I'd like to make a breakout board that fits your board in the future. Thanks.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: mowcius on May 09, 2011, 04:54 pm
Perhaps you could have connections with different positioning on the end (a few of them in a row) to suit different breadboards.

My boards are a little weird spacing wise but I will measure one up and let you know.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: mowcius on Jul 04, 2011, 10:14 am
Back to this though (ignoring the spam posts) - my breadboards are the equivalent of one .1" pin further out so power on my breadboard is where ground is on your board and the ground track is one further out.
Title: Re: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?
Post by: liuzengqiang on Jul 05, 2011, 06:09 am
Thanks! I will make a modification to add two more headers to accommodate this type of breadboards.