Tag Archives: Education

Students bring new ideas and innovation at CTC Castilla

via Arduino Blog

ctc2

Creative Technologies in the Classroom* gives us a lot of joy whenever we visit students’ fairs. Each iteration of CTC (Madrid, Castilla, Barcelona and so forth) has its own technology fair and it is meant to award and congregate students and their projects. Arduino Verkstad, teachers, school and government representatives join as well to celebrate and share what students have learned along the program.

This year is the third edition of CTC Castilla and the fair had 140 projects, 936 students and 70 teachers. We have noticed that:

  • Teachers learned along with the students since they are not reproducing the CTC projects as the final projects, they have innovating by bringing new ideas
  • We got told that teachers are forced by the students to open the labs late after school hours because they want to spend more time working on their projects
  • Students have become pretty good at pitching projects, not only their production is excellent, but also their presentation skills

Some of the most impressive projects are:

robotic hand controlled from a phone that even had an app with the sign language alphabet so that the hand would “talk” for you, and an R2D2 made of recycled materials. All the pictures and many videos of the projects can be seen here. Thanks to Centro Regional de Formación del Profesorado, Castilla La Mancha and congratulations to all CTC participants!

*Creative Technologies in the Classroom (CTC) is a collection of experiments aimed at transforming the way technology is taught in schools around the world. These experiments introduce basic concepts in programming, electronics, and mechanics.

(The news was originally posted on Arduino Verkstad blog by Laura Balboa)

The Sense HAT: headgear for the terminally curious

via Raspberry Pi

Having looked at the chunky outside goodness of the Astro Pi case yesterday it seems only fair to take another look at the heart of the Astro Pi, the Sense HAT. (This is not a conical cap that you put on the really clever kid and stand him in the corner but our add-on board for the Pi bristling with sensors and other useful things.) It’s currently going out to schools and organisations who took part in our recent competition but we also plan to sell it.

A Raspberry Pi wearing a Sense HAT

A Raspberry Pi wearing a Sense HAT

The full tech specs are here but basically it has:

  • 8×8 LED matrix display
  • accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer
  • air pressure sensor
  • temperature and humidity sensor
  • a teeny joystick
  • real time clock

The Astro Pi site explains what these all do and how they could be used.

I’m really excited about the Sense HAT. With all of those sensors on a single board it’s obviously a brilliant tool for making stuff (I have in mind a self-balancing attack robot that senses humans, aggressively hunts them down and then gently dispenses Wagon Wheels from its slot-like mouth). But it’s the potential for science that’s making me think. In particular I’d love to see it flourish in the science classroom.

A typical school science classroom

A typical school science classroom

Despite the teacher recruitment ads that inevitably show zany antics with Van der Graaff generators, explosions and dancing bonobos the reality is that much of high school science is about experimentation and observation (which is a good thing!). But lab kit such as sensors, controllers and data loggers don’t come cheap (I was once told by a class that their usual science teacher never let them use the data loggers because “they were too expensive). Nor is it easy to get bits of kit to talk to each other or the Internet of Things (with the potential benefits that come from that such as improved assessment, parental involvement, sharing and consolidating data).

data logger

A data logger I found in a school skip. The size of a cash register yet only logs temperature. On paper.

A Pi wearing a Sense HAT could do everything from monitoring plant growth to controlling and logging experimental variables. A series of experiments using the accelerometer/gyroscope to investigate forces and equations of motion is mandatory. Feel free to add your own ideas below and if any science teachers would like to get involved the please get in touch.

If you are lucky enough to already have a Sense HAT, Martin “When does that man sleep?” O’Hanlon has written an excellent getting started tutorial . If not then it’s worth taking a look anyway to get a sense (yeah, yeah :)) of what it can do.

Astro Pi sense HAT LED

Up above the streets and the houses, Astro Pi climbing high.

The final price is yet to be announced but we’re confident that there will be nothing else out there to rival it for value, potential, support and resources. Keep your eyes peeled for more news on the Sense HAT soon.

The post The Sense HAT: headgear for the terminally curious appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Scratch extension for Arduino (experimental release)

via Arduino Blog

arduino-scratch-extension

With the new (experimental) Arduino extension for Scratch, you can create visual programs to control sensors and actuators connected to Arduino boards. Try it on the new ScratchX site.

Scratch allows kids (and everyone) to create their own games, interactive stories, and animations using a visual programming environment. Scratch is made by the Lifelong Kindergarten (LLK) group at the MIT Media Lab. The ScratchX.org site is a place for trying out new, experimental extensions to Scratch — e.g. for connecting to hardware or web services. As a member of both Arduino and LLK, I’m especially excited about this possibility to combine Scratch with Arduino.

This Scratch extension, created by Kreg Hanning and me (mostly Kreg), communicates with the Firmata firmware on an Arduino board. This allows you to send the Arduino commands using special Scratch blocks. To start, we have blocks for working with LEDs, servo motors, buttons, rotation knobs (potentiometers), light sensors, and temperature sensors. There are also more general (and Arduino-like) blocks for doing analog and digital input and output. For more information, see the documentation.

If you have any trouble using the Arduino extension or have any suggestions, please open an issue on the extension repository.

Of course, this isn’t the first attempt to connect Scratch and Arduino. For other approaches, see S4A, s2a_fm, and Catenary. For even more options, see SparkFun’s discussion of alternative programming interfaces for Arduino.

Chips Pt.2 (Chip Design for Teenagers, Cocotb, lowRISC)

via OSHUG

Back in April 2011 we had our first meeting on the theme of open source chip design, and then around one year later we took a closer look at the OpenRISC Reference Platform System-on-Chip. The thirty-sixth meeting will feature talks on chip design for teenagers, an open source verification framework, and a fully open source system-on-chip that will be manufactured in volume.

Silicon Chip Design for Teenagers

These days we expect school students to learn to write code, and teachers are turning to tools like Scratch (for primary education) and Python (for secondary education). But why stick to software languages. Why not teach coding in Verilog and get children to design silicon chips.

Earlier this year Dan Gorringe attended Chip Hack II in Cambridge. Inspired by this he spent two weeks work experience at Embecosm in August 2014 modifying the Chip Hack materials for use by Year 9-11 students. His resulting application note, "Silicon Chip Design for Teenagers", is to be published very shortly by Embecosm.

In this talk, Dan will share his experience of learning silicon chip design, using Verilog for his first serious attempt at coding and encountering Mentor Graphics EDA tools for the first time.

Dan Gorringe has just started year 11 and faces the horrors of GCSE exams in 8 months time, so silicon chip design is just light relief. He has aspirations to a career in computing.

Cocotb, an Open Source Verification Framework

Verifying hardware designs has always been a significant challenge but very few open-source tools have emerged to support this effort. The recent advances in verification to facilitate complex designs often depend on specialist knowledge and expensive software tools. In this talk we will look at Cocotb, an open-source verification framework, and explore whether Python is a viable language for verification.

Chris Higgs has over a decade of experience working with FPGAs in various industries. His software background has shaped his approach to RTL design and verification and he now spends his time trying to bridge the divide between hardware and software development.

lowRISC — a Fully Open Source RISC-V System-on-Chip

The lowRISC project has been formed to produce a System-on-Chip which will be open source right down to the HDL, implementing the open RISC-V instruction set architecture. Volume manufacture of silicon manufacture is planned, along with creating and distributing low-cost development boards. This talk will describe the aims of the lowRISC project, summarise its current status, describe some of the features that are being implemented, and give details on how you can get involved.

Alex Bradbury is a researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory where he works on compilation techniques for a novel many-core architecture. He writes LLVM Weekly, is co-author of Learning Python with Raspberry Pi, and has been a contributor to the Raspberry Pi project since the first alpha hardware was available.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

Sponsored by:

Teaching (Teaching with LilyPad, Raspberry Pi in education, MzTEK)

via OSHUG

The thirty-fourth OSHUG meeting will feature three talks that each explore approaches to teaching electronics and programming.

Teaching with the LilyPad Arduino

In this talk we will hear about experiences of teaching basic electronics and coding principles via wearable technology and e-textiles, using the LilyPad Arduino — a sewable microcontroller — in workshops with people of all ages at universities, schools at hackspaces.

Rain Ashford designs and constructs wearable technology, e-textiles and interactive artworks. A PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, where she is investigating the possibility that wearable technology can be used to augment new forms of non-verbal communication, particularly in the areas of body language and emotion, by the amplifying and visualising of physiological data. She has studied Fine Art, Multimedia, and Electronics Engineering, which has led to her work developing as a convergence of art, programming and electronics.

Raspberry Pi in education

Challenges, benefits and experiences with the Raspberry Pi as an educational tool.

Matt Venn has run hundreds of creative science workshops for thousands of children and adults around the world. For the last year, he has been working with teachers in preparation for the computer science curriculum changes; creating and leading courses, workshops and projects.

When he's not inventing new ways of getting people excited about science, Matthew plays music, invents puzzle boxes, practices martial arts and maintains bikes.

MzTEK: festivals, workshops and take away technologies

MzTEK is a non-profit organisation that aims to redress the imbalance of women artists working in the fields of new media, computer arts, electronics and technology. Based in London and supported by Hackney arts institution [ space ], and Centre for Creative Collaboration in Kings Cross, and hosting a range of workshops, talks and self-initiated tinker sessions.

In collaboration with partner organisations, MzTEK develop interesting, accessible and curiosity igniting workshops that can be delivered in short time frames and engage a wide audience with varying skills. Working with open source technologies and tools to help ensure that participants continue making and tinkering with the technologies they encounter long after workshops. Furthermore, doing this at festivals and events where the hope is to encounter a broad range of participants and unpredictable work environments! This talk will discuss some previous projects such as the Hacked Human Orchestra, a wearable electronics project devised in collaboration with Guerrilla Science, and suggest ways that thematic focus, together with a well balanced combination of skill acquisition, creativity and fun can enhance workshop delivery.

Shauna Concannon is an interdisciplinary researcher interested in communication spaces and constructive disagreement. She has been working with MzTEK for the past few years, developing and facilitating workshops in Processing, Arduino and wearable electronics. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Media and Arts Technology at Queen Mary University of London.

Note: Please aim to by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

Sponsored by: