SparkFun National Tour Kickstarter

SparkFun launches a Kickstarter to fund a national tour teaching embedded electronics.

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One thing SparkFun has realized over the last few years is that when it comes to embedded electronics, the earlier you start learning, the better. We marvel to think about the question, "What if we had learned about some of this stuff in 6th grade, instead of in college (or beyond)?" That question led us to create our Department of Education and, now, we want to take it to the next step. Which is why we would like to announce the SparkFun National Tour Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is an amazing crowd-funding website and the SparkFun National Tour is our way of harnessing the power of Kickstarter to bring electronics education to teachers, afterschool programmers, librarians, and other educators across the country. We want to help bring the "A-ha! moment" of DIY electronics to kids all over the U.S.

Our goal is to travel to all 50 states (yes, Alaska and Hawaii too!) bringing along a team of highly-skilled instructors and a SparkFun Inventor's Kit labpack. At each stop, we will "train the trainers" on how to teach the SIK in their own classroom/library/afterschool program and they will keep the SIK labpack for use with their students.

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This is a campaign we are extremely excited about. The funding goal of our Kickstarter is $150,000 - an amount which would enable us to make a stop at every state. If we exceed that goal? We'll add more stops, rent an extra RV if necessary, and train additional workers on teaching the SIK.

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For more details on the backing levels or to make a donation, please visit our Kickstarter page. Briefly, at the $75 backing level you will receive a Learn to Solder: Simon Says Kit and at the $150 backing level you will receive a special Kickstarter Edition of the SparkFun Inventor's Kit (plus help fund our tour!). We hope you join us in making electronics part of the classroom! As always, please feel free to leave any questions in the comments section below.

Lastly, we will be closed Thursday (the 22nd) and Friday (the 23rd) this week for Thanksgiving. But don't forget about free shipping on Cyber Monday!

Comments 25 comments

  • sgrace / about 11 years ago / 11

    STEM education is needed for America to succeed in these times where India and greater Asia hold most of the predominate world of electronics engineering. Support this KS in order to show your patriotism and willingness to believe in the next generation.

    Remember, when we sent men to the Moon, most of those engineers where in the 20's. How did they get there? Education.

  • Whoa. That's one well edited/made video.

  • Camalaio_ / about 11 years ago / 3

    If you guys make raise a huge amount extra... stop in Canada too? :)

  • Hope you guys introduce an additional pledge with Sparkfun branded accessories like Tee, Stickers, Protection glasses, Cap etc. Would be awesome.

  • LightManCA / about 11 years ago / 2

    This is very cool! As I started to play with Arduinos, I felt like I wanted to share this with folks that would be the "normal" geeks, like my Wife, and Aunt & cousin who like quilting, and I can imagine them making an "electronic enhanced quilt".

    • NorthStreetLabs / about 11 years ago / 1

      I totally agree, the same thing happened to me as I learned electronics! I hope the educators get this too, and in turn start hacker spaces, teach friends family, and most importantly teach the younger kids in their schools/community.

  • Mando / about 11 years ago / 1

    Go Michigan! Thanks to all the Kickstarter backers there in my home state! :)

  • Valkir / about 11 years ago / 1

    Why don't you come to Canada??

  • Angelo Pappano / about 11 years ago / 1

    I have been teaching with your sparkfun inventor kits for the last 2 years as the head of an Entertainment Engineering program in high school. If you are looking for a stop in Las Vegas, NV to host your class, let me know! So excited you guys are doing this. Keep up the great work!

  • TECH GEEK / about 11 years ago / 1

    The link to cyber Monday is typed wrong

  • Member #282219 / about 11 years ago / 1

    **I love what you guys are doing! spread that knowledge... wish I had more resources myself! this kid reminds me of how I learned what I know today and I learn more everyday Im just thankful our society here in usa have lots of electronics to tinker with... Keep up the good work you are making a loyal customer out of me lol ** Alex City, AL stop and visit if you find yourself close but dont blink or youll miss it haha

  • Member #249120 / about 11 years ago / 1

    This is the first year for me teaching programming with MCUs to high school students and feel I should have been here years ago. These are definitely the way to teach STEM. I received training in electronics and programming with the ARRL, although with the Basic Stamp. Glad to see Sparkfun taking the initiative to join this endeavor! Have you thought about a National Science Foundation grant?

  • nanogear / about 11 years ago / 1

    I hope one day you guys can go to other countries!!

  • Tilinou / about 11 years ago * / 1


  • unmanaged / about 11 years ago / 1

    I have to say that I am 32, again in college, and probably going to switch my major to CIM or something to qualify me to teach this to others. I recall shows like The Secret Life of Machines on TLC and being surrounded my EE's that worked at AEDC AFB... I became a HAM at 14, KE4TVV, and what a wild ride it has been, build it break it, blow it up. :) To tell you the truth DARPA is giving grants to schools to start hacker spaces and I think it's time to pass on what has made me happy over the years and enjoy teaching others and this is in the USA's best interest to the release the inner geek in all of us !

  • Joel_Q / about 11 years ago / 1

    I am not an educator, but I work closely with a few educators involved in the Gifted Education program. Would I be able to attend the event in my area?

  • TECH GEEK / about 11 years ago / 1

    SparkFun is so awesome that they use a time machine for some links!!!!

  • Ducky Virus / about 11 years ago / 1

    Since you're already going to have to travel through Canada, why not tour Canada as well?

  • You guys rock!

  • NorthStreetLabs / about 11 years ago / 1

    Typo near the bottom - "Briefly, at te $75 backing"

  • Dopey / about 11 years ago / 1

    In! Is the plan to just do a class and motor or to do a few classes? (Like maybe one for kids.. Like 8 year olds who have some experience with a soldering iron and arduino programing.) (Asking for a friend.) (And by friend I mean my son.)

    • LC / about 11 years ago / 1

      Hi Dopey, these workshops will be for educators and we hope that those educators will turn around and teach in their community.

  • Honus / about 11 years ago / 1

    Awesome idea. I'll definitely support this and spread the word.

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