Greetings to You and everybody.
Its very nice to hear about Your experiences regarding Arduino and how they enjoyed the projects.
Luckily microcontroller system is a part of our curriculum here in Norway (Europe).
At first we started out with LEGO MINDSTORM.A good one to start with, but with certain limits.
Previous year one of my pupils showed me a link to Arduino
With open source, lots of free libraries and additional hardwares, were still on Arduino.
One of my experiences from 3 years of using Arduino is the more open a project can be, without loosing track of the curriculum goals, the more ownership they will get, beeing able to suggest their own topics and their motivation increases.
Pupils are approx 17 and 18 years old and at 2nd and 3rd year at high school in electronics.
(where microcontroller systems is a small part of curriculum).
The education has been such organised:
They work in groups of 2-3 pupils. They choose their groups without any guidelines from me. They mainly choose by their interessts and the roles they wish to "play" in the group.(hardware, programming, planning).
The time available for projects is from 44 hours (at 2.nd year) to 60 hours (3rd. year) (with some new pupils attending from other schools each year).
This year I will try to give some guidelines:
Group share 50% of available time for common tasks and other 50% individually.
They are allowed to handle the individual times as they see fit, but not the common time part.
By that their total projecttime awailable will icrease according to number of groupmembers.
1st. year I let the pupils start directly at practise, teaching C programming (well, just as much as they needed
regarding their spesific projects). They showed great interessts and motivation during the year.
The next year I split the way of working in two: Started up with clean C programming first and then practise.
I could notice a significant less interests of the microcontrolling system.
Well, this year, pupils have followed lectures in C-programming, practices on several sensor types.
This to introduce them to projects after new year.
This is something they've suggested and choosen for this year:
1) Octocopter, which they plan to remote control using x-bee communication and analog joystick (potmeter outputs).
2) Intruder alarm system using passive infrared detector, magnetic switch and some kind of sound device.
3) Stopwatch/clock, measuring tenths of a second. Time accuracy will depend of their choosement of clock-generator type.
4) Robot arm, moveable by , either mouse or joystick
5) Moving car with auto tilt safety warning and auto parking system.
The above arent at present time finished defined.
Some of them might sound a bit ambitious, but I told them its the experiences and learnings they meet underway thats most important. Should they not reach all up to the goals, they still get awarded.(but at highest rating, they need to success in their goals).
There might be a project this or next year,within weather baloon, measuring weather conditions but thats a bit in the blue yet. I would believe that could be executed next school year. (My research and planning are ready, but awaiting for a few colleagues to join).
Well, just finished ordering items for their projects before christmas.
Early next year we will define goals and looking closer to how their objects shall behave.
Im kind of exited how they will manage the timesharing available for their projects. I might get a surprise in both directions here :-)
Ive thought of beeing able to share experiences with a foreign school regarding microcontroller systems. It would be nice to detect how others use Arduino in teaching, perhaps letting pupils do much of the "speaking" .
Pardon the non fluent english.
Wish You a good day.