Just wondering what you all think of this Arduino teaching aid? I have no affiliation with this, it just looked interesting.
I think its an excellent idea, allowing beginners to get stuck in without having to find out about polarity of LEDs, values of the series resistor, etc. Plus they are a non profit organisation with a sense of humour "The Diyode Codeshield was tested on animals. They didn't get it. "
I agree Boffin. There are some interesting points raised here It is aimed primarily at engaging children's attention and possibly fostering an early interest in electronics and micro controllers.
Well, well, ... I have so many viewpoints, I do not know where to start. This is just a random sample of a few (humble or not ;) )
Once the shield is plugged on the Arduino, the rest is ONLY programming. Where is the electronic?
I think 7 sensors is overkill- Whether its a Hall, Temperature or LDR it is still an analogRead and the only difference is if you hold a magnet or candle to it. The 5 output units is more "rewarding" and thus more teachable.
I have helped/taught a number of grownups (yes, not the same as kids) to understand, and I can do plenty of exercises with basics 2 digital and one analog input and the Serial as output. OK, a RGB LED is more rewarding.
I saw some of comments about the pricing. The kickstarter price is of course "unreasonable" - the purpose is to raise money. The kit at their reseller is 25 - which seems fair to me.
Last but not at least : Why so much effort in starting an Arduino early? I can think of other buildingsets or teaching kits using a lot fewer/cheaper bits that will teach about technology.
And all above is just what I am thinking when looking at their pages.
Msquare: Once the shield is plugged on the Arduino, the rest is ONLY programming. Where is the electronic?
I'd consider this a more advanced version of the Logo we learned as kids; instead of a turtle there are blinking lights, servos, etc. Once they get the programming down they should be able to start working with a breadboard and building the circuit themselves.
I think the hall sensor was chosen as it's an open collector sensor.
This seems a fair enough objective;
Once they understand the possibilities of the technology, and have a firm grasp of the code, then we can teach the fundamentals of electronics.
But I have concerns about the age of the children and making it too easy. I remember key points from when I learnt to program;
- Doing a calculation
- Making an interactive program
- Using graphics!
- Making real things move!!!
There was a sense of achievement and a lot of satisfation at each step. This kit takes quite young children with no programming experience and bypasses a lot of the learning experience. It may well encourage some into electronics but I wonder if it will not make just as many a bit jaded as they will have done "everything" but cannot really achieve it themselves.
Maybe not a good analogy but; if somebody helicoptered you to the top of Everest then took you down, would that make you more or less likely to learn how to climb and put in all the hard work and effort to get to the top yourself, or would you think "been there already" ?
I think it is a good idea but the funding goal is really high. This is not a tech toy for everybody, only those that wishes to learn. This cuts down potential donors by a lot. I also think it is ok to have an assembled shield. You can probably teach a whole semester with it and without having to mess with wires. When it comes to wires, some just cant handle it first. Let alone the initial motivation. I had a student doing makeup lab. I asked him to tie strings to 5 objects and it took forever and they were all loose so he had to redo. That's college student FYI. To think newbie is hard for those no longer a newbie. But if you still can, which newbie stuff do you prefer, doing drills or trying to write an article to publish on a newspaper?
I like the idea, but I think that it might be better (if the idea is to teach), for it to use something a little (or a lot) simpler than the arduino IDE.
LEGO does have a great system for kids to learn programming, with the mindstorms systems, where the programming is done inside a graphical enviroment. There are already many schools that use LEGO robotics systems to teach not only programming, but also mechanical design and problem solving (in the form of the FLL challenges and competition teams). However the cost of said systems may make them too expensive for many organizations to use, unfortunately. This nevertheless appears to be quite a good system, and I wish its creators luck in their endeavors.
I've seen lego mindstorm and it's a decent platoform for some fun and learning. Just too expensive for the average household as thepenguin mentioned. It's plug and play. There is nothing you can do other than connecting their parts to one another. You can't make your own pieces, can you? The part I don't like is when schools teach with lego mindstorm, it's like they are teaching math with TI calculators. They should not tie their teaching materials to some proprietary products.
radman: Maybe not a good analogy but; if somebody helicoptered you to the top of Everest then took you down, would that make you more or less likely to learn how to climb and put in all the hard work and effort to get to the top yourself, or would you think "been there already" ?
I think it is an excellent analogy.
On the other hand, you do not need to wind your own coils, etch your own boards or connect 12 chips just to make a simple sequencer - the abstraction or "readymade"-ness has moved up a notch or two. Another (good?) analogy - you do not grow your own vegtables, just to appreciate cooking - you buy them (fresh or canned).
Continuing the cooking analogy: the challenge or learning experience is that in cooking you mix the ingrients, stir and fry, the right time and the right temperature. And there is room for variation and messed up results - more/less heat/time and maybe different vegetables. To be contrasted to "dumbing it down" to a failsafe readymade dish with "pour powder into bowl, add boiling water". Is that cooking? Technically yes, but how much room is there for moving on, new dishes or whatever? Is that a good way to start a child to appreciate cooking? (The reward is a finished dish)
Thinking about it (as I type) - yeah it is of course not a simple question and the answer is all grades of right/wrong/different
liudr: There is nothing you can do other than connecting their parts to one another. You can't make your own pieces, can you?
There is actually quite a community of people who build their own parts, as well as write software libraries to interface with them (in the form of the programming "blocks" that are used). It is all released to the public for people to develop with (software, bluetooth, etc.)
liudr: The part I don't like is when schools teach with lego mindstorm, it's like they are teaching math with TI calculators. They should not tie their teaching materials to some proprietary products.
And yet, schools do teach with TI calculators. In fact, many schools require students to use a certain model of TI calculator. Why do they do this? The answer is rather simple. Teaching one platform to start with is a good way for beginners to learn. You could just as easily say that Arduino should not be used, as it is a "proprietary product" as well. I would prefer for people to learn one method or system at a time. I can't see an alternative to this. I also don't see it as the teaching being "tied down" to one system or another, but more like the teachers have been "freed up" from teaching many different systems, and are able to focus more on teaching the core concept, such as an if statement (or in the case of a calculator, graphing a sinusoid) without having to teach everyone how to do it on their own system (imagine if all the students in a math course had different calculators: Billy has a TI84, Tom has a Casio, Edward has a graphing calculator that uses newton's original symbols for calculus, not the ones invented by Leibnitz that the remainder of the world now uses, etc.)
Another (good?) analogy - you do not grow your own vegtables, just to appreciate cooking - you buy them (fresh or canned).
I understand your point fully. However the analogy is closer to watching you mother cook a meal and trying to replicate it or buying a microwave ready dish and heating it up. People now just buy the microwave dish and many don't have a vague clue how to make it or even what the constituents are.
Knowing Namgyal Wangdi made it to the top of Everest may have inspired others to learn the skills, taking a chairlift probably will not.
P.S. whole tinned tomatoes are really rather interesting with a unique flavor