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Author Topic: What's your opinion on spending $50 on your kids education?  (Read 7321 times)
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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 smiley
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.
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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.
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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 smiley

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  smiley-lol smiley-lol smiley-lol Thanks to you all!
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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

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

Steve Dickie
Divine Child High School
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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
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...
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.
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Regards, Terry King  ..On the Red Sea at KAUST.edu.sa
terry@yourduino.com  LEARN! DO! (Arduino Boards, Sensors, Parts @ http://yourduino.com

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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
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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.
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  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   
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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 ?



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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.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 07:35:50 pm by fkeel » Logged


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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.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 12:06:19 am by liudr » Logged


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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.
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@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 smiley-wink

The discussion should focus on how to reach them (boys and girls). The answer comes also from marketing (did it again smiley-wink 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
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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
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.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 03:53:45 am by mowcius » Logged

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