I find myself a crafty individual and I believe many people are crafty given the right substance. My substance of preference is paper and wine corks-used in separate hobbies. The idea of Arduino is really pushing my boundaries; I’m not sure if I’m even using the word properly. Even after I did my research I sat back and gave my brain a break to digest it and I realized that I didn’t know how to define Arduino…so I looked it up. According to Arduino-Genuino, they say “it is a useful C component that allows the programmer to give a name to a constant value before the program is compiled. Defined constants in arduino don’t take up any program memory space on the chip. The compiler will replace references to these constants with the defined value at compile time.” Ugh? Another source said something similar but used even more words (C++) that needed defining. In the end, I decided that this was electrical jargon that I didn’t need to know…or want to know?
Ok, so back up, right? What is my background knowledge? I understand simple circuits, light up sneakers on kids, musical greeting cards, and that I will be teaching some electrical ideas in my new sixth grade class. Above all, having lived in Alaska for 12 years, I wish I had some kind of heater in my boots, gloves, and face mask. But I didn’t. I read label after label of “rated to -100 degrees F’, just to find out when winter camping at zero degrees F, I was packing up to go home in my Sorels rated to -100 degrees F.
I watched the TED talk by Leah Buechley from 2012 and she was showing us some new substances to create a circuit. I didn’t quite understand how the musical keyboard actually worked though. But I’m curious as to why we need new materials to create a circuit. She says that the old ones are slow, expensive, and the outcome is small, square, flat, hard, and unattractive. So if circuits and other electrical objects make up the guts of something, then it is the exterior that makes something attractive. I would LOVE to own a Tesla electric car, but I can’t afford one. A friend of mine owns one and I consider the Christmas Day-joy-ride my best gift that day. So how is it that her new electronic parts are considered attractive? I’m pretty sure what she really meant was that the fun exterior covering her electronics is the attractive part. From what I can see, her LilyPad Arduino is flat, hard, small, and unattractive. Ok, so the shape changed.
Why do I feel like I’ve been in a bad mood for two weeks straight? I just don’t buy it. I’d be happy to have my students craft (create) something with everyday tech pieces. I might be missing something here, so trust me, I will be reading more classmate blogs to see if I am. Here is an analogy: Say I want my class to sew a shirt in Home Economic, I could give them all kinds of fabric to choose from: cotton, silk, corduroy, taffeta, polyester, and the list goes on. They could use a nylon zipper or metal zipper. How many different kinds of thread is there? See where I am going with this. If my students can understand how to craft/create something out of everyday electronic pieces and then package it in something pretty like their new chiffon shirt, with the metal zipper then I think I would give them an A+.
Arduino Genuino (2015). Define. Retrieved from https://www.arduino.cc/en/Reference/Define
Buechley, L. (2012). How to sketch with electronics. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI
Lewis, J. (2014). Five myths that everyone believes about arduino (that aren’t true). Retrieved from https://www.baldengineer.com/5-arduino-myths.html
Mellis, D. (2014). Sew electric with Leah Buechley interview. Retrieved from https://blog.arduino.cc/2014/02/04/sew-electric-with-leah-buechley-interview/
Terranove, A. (2014). 10 fabulous and fashionable wearable projects from Becky Stern. Retrieved from http://makezine.com/2014/07/15/10-fabulous-and-fashionable-wearable-projects-from-becky-stern/