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Enter...Cardboard Hero!

posted Apr 9, 2013, 10:55 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Apr 9, 2013, 12:24 PM ]
     Its funny...the whole creation of this site and the curriculum that it includes was centered on how to preload students with the basics of text based coding in the anticipation of working with the arduino IDE and imbedded computing/ digital electronics. With the focus being on Processing the Arduino part of the curriculum has fallen for the most part to the wayside... not entirerly.
    The reason for delay in Arduino is because that I have been developing projects and curriculum as a "just in time" model. This is not entirerly by the seat of my pants, but more of a research and development process. Before projects are added to the website I teach them (duh!) and then modify them as needed before being added. Some of these project range in levels of completeness or polish, but that is the spirit of open source...build on others work.
    I am now happy to be adding projects that are Arduino based. One of the reasons for the delay was that I wanted to create projects that had context, or that students could connect with reality. One of the questions that plague my class is "When are we ever going to use this?". I wanted to kill that question before its asked. So all projects are application/ product and creatively combine student design and the Arduino.
   This came as an epiphany recently at a workshop that I was co-teaching with Jeff Branson at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry here in Portland. We had spent the weekend creating an Arduino controlled balance beam at a seperate workshop. Much our dismay I had forgotten the project example at home, so we could not show it as an example. Fear not! Cardboard to the rescue! We recreated the project from some carbard and materials "borrowed" from the cafe. The cardboard project actually functioned better in some ways than the finished wood one does. That day it hit me... cardboard based projects that use the components of the Sparkfun Inventors Kits to create cheap interactive artifcacts!!!!
     These projects focus on the Big six of Arduino and then move into the combination Arduino and Processing. The first project which has just been added is an LED based lamp of their own design that focuses on digitalWrite, analogWrite and analogRead. There will be photographs of student work added soon, but for now please check out my example design and the assignment handout! I will be adding the Carboard Hero projects to the website as I teach through them. I will also be adding instructional materials as I create/ modify them.