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Topic: Educational Outreach into Arduino/Robotics/Programming for High School Students (Read 4100 times) previous topic - next topic


Hello Arduinors,

I am an assistant professor at a NYC liberal arts college interested in starting an outreach program to teach non-tech High School students about Arduino/Robotics/Programming.  We are currently seeking to develop a curriculum that will be short (1-2 days) and non-technical (programming only in broad strokes).  This is geared towards students who are seeing this information for the first time.

Have you:
* found resources that might be helpful?
* worked on a project like this before?
* thought that you'd like to assist in such a program?
* just thought to yourself: THIS SOUNDS COOL!

If so, please drop me a line.


The scale in which Arduino has its Applications is very vast.
And since you are planning to teach Student who are having not having a lot of experience with electronics and programming, I guess you first need to decide what exactly you want to teach them about.
Like you need to decide the field (or the type) of application in which you want to teach the Arduino and its Basics....

Also I feel that just 1-2 days of exposure would be a little too short for the Newbies.

So I feel that you need to be more precise about what in Arduino you want to teach if you are planning for only 1-2 Days.

Hope this Helps... :)


(I think you sent me a note, but I've misplaced it somehow; my apologies! Please contact me directly if you wish.)

I've been working on these questions for some time, and supporting several schools and Universities with kits etc.  I see it as two related questions:

1. What hardware will you use for easy hands-on use by the audience/students?
2. What How-To information will you use, in what form?

In this case, it's not a complete course, so real courseware and a defined scope and sequence aren't needed.
DISCLAIMER: Mentioning stuff from my own shop... which is what I know well. Many things are available from Sparkfun, Adafruit and Ebay..

I have quite a lot of How-To information here: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/

1. Hardware: In a class situation where several students or groups are connecting things (Input and Output Devices) to Arduino, I recommend using "Electronic Bricks" that have defined functions like pushbuttons, LEDS, Buzzers, Temperature sensors, light sensors etc.  These bricks can be plugged via a short cable into either an Arduino-compatible with built-in 3-pin connectors  like this: (http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index.php?l=product_detail&p=225) or any Arduino with a "Sensor Shield"  (http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/SensorShield) plugged on top which has 3-pin connectors on the ports.  The bricks are like these: (http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/BrickStarterSet) The main reason for doing this is to have quick secure connections in the classroom. The lower-cost alternative of using a Breadboard and individual components often ends up with lots of teacher time spent in class finding connection mistakes and problems.

If possible, for a short course, use a computer lab where you can preinstall the Arduino software and check it out. (NOTE! Stay with Version 0023 for now; the newest 1.0 does not work with many existing libraries etc.) It can take a class period to have students install it on their own laptops etc. Or give them the How-To Install ahead of time and have them do that before coming to class.   This section would work for that. It starts from Zero and goes through compiling and running BLINK and making variations: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/LowCostStarterSet-GettingStarted  
(That is part of a longer tutorial, but it is Breadboard-oriented).

2. There are various tutorials out on the Net, and you need to evaluate what would work for your class type and duration.  For the Electronic Brick approach (Once things have been done up to the BLINK point, above)  go here: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/BrickStarterSet
Click on a few simple bricks like the pushbutton, buzzer, analog pot and temperature sensor. See what you can use of those how-to's. Each of those includes example software sketches that can be cut and pasted by students, compiled and uploaded to Arduino.  

This is probably already too much for 2 days, but if you are careful, you can get them to experience hooking up Inputs and Outputs and having code control them. If they can walk away with that model in their mind, they have a start on Physical Computing.  

I'd be happy to try to answer other questions and perspectives.

I know my stuff is imperfect and in transition, but I'd appreciate comments, critiques etc..

Regards, Terry King
...On the Mediterranean in Italy
Regards, Terry King terry@yourduino.com  - Check great prices, devices and Arduino-related boards at http://YourDuino.com
HOW-TO: http://ArduinoInfo.Info

Udo Klein

Professor Andrew Famiglietty http://copyvillain.org/blog/emac-6v81-final-project-and-website/ seems to consider my pages http://blog.blinkenlight.net/ well suited for his students.

If you want to reproduce my experiments you can go for breadboards thus exposing your students to simple circuits. Or you may want to order the shields and just have them code stuff.
Check out my experiments http://blog.blinkenlight.net



Parallax customers (teachers) from schools that switched to Arduino have been asking Parallax Education staff for a while about generating some Parallax hardware and documentation that would be compatible with Arduino.

Our answer was the Board of Education Shield for Arduino (or BOE Shield for short). The new BOE Shield was just listed for pre-order and we're beginning to post material that not only explains how to use the Parallax BOE Shield, but also Arduino in general.

We will print the "Robotics with the BOE Shield for Arduino" book soon but first will be posting the whole book online (for free access) as it comes available chapter by chapter at learn.parallax.com:

You can currently access the first chapter of the book which shows an introduction on Arduino and students can follow this chapter with just an Arduino hooked to their PC (they don't even need any Parallax hardware in Chapter 1). We will be posting the rest of the chapters in the following weeks. From the material already available online you will be able to see that the level of the material wouldn't be a problem for a non-tech student. You should be able to select which chapters to cover over the class but advanced students could go online and move forward faster following the online chapters.

Also, all the Arduino code for the book material will be available for download in the same website (as you can already see in Chapter 1).


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