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Join Us On Our National Tour


You might remember back in November/December when we ran an (unsuccessful) Kickstarter to help fund a “SparkFun National Tour” - an event where we would travel the country teaching students, teachers, librarians, and other educators about DIY electronics and how they can be part of the modern classroom. It was our goal to reach every state in the U.S., but the Kickstarter campaign ultimately failed.

The good news is that we learned a lot and made a ton of contacts through the process and, in typical SparkFun fashion, we aren’t going to let a touch of failure keep us down. So today, we are proud to announce the SparkFun National Tour.

The SparkFun National Tour has one goal - to share our passion for electronics with students and teachers across the country. We want to stop in 50 states on 50 dates, teaching lifelong skills such as programming, soldering, and building circuits along the way.

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The way it will work is like this - we’ve created a SparkFun National Tour page where you sign up your school, hackerspace, institution to participate in the tour. The cost is $2,500 which includes all the hardware for your workshop (enough for 25-40 students), supporting materials, and a team of highly-trained SparkFun employees showing up at your location for a full day of training. When the workshop is over, you’ll not only have a bunch of hardware, but also the knowledge and skills to continue to explore the world of embedded electronics.

If you’re looking for ways to raise the requisite funds, we encourage you to explore crowd-funding sites like FundRazr and IndieGoGo. These sites make it fairly easy to pool money together!

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We’ve divided the country up into sections and will tackle each part of the U.S. one region at a time. When you sign up, you’ll select your region and we’ll get in contact soon to hash out the details about the visit.

For many of us, this tour is a lifelong goal. We want to share our passion for electronics exploration with students across the country! We hope that you’ll join us in helping change the face of education! Join the SparkFun National Tour today!


Comments 25 comments

  • There is nothing more motivational than having SparkFun stop to teach in the community. 4 months after the stop in our town, kids now think of prototyping as an activity, and look forward to the monthly meetups/projects. Thank you!

  • You know I still want my SparkFun National Tour T-Shirt! I hope you guys plan to offer that on the site as a way to help fund this another way.

  • Just a thought… it would be great to be able to sponsor a visit to a poorer school or community center that helps at-risk youth. I could see such a visit as empowering to those students. Let me know if you can figure this out and I’d be happy to make a donation.

  • I’m pretty damn excited about this. I’m a trying to get a posse together in Seattle that might make something happen in my area. Not having kids myself, I don’t have contacts with any schools/youth groups, but I’m working on it :)

    fyi, Having a tiny kiskstarter to raise $2500 I think would be pretty darn easy :)

  • The tour description mentions three different possible kits. I am confused as to whether a single tour stop (e.g. at a hackerspace) will only use one kit or all three. Is the hardware left behind at the end of the day a classroom set for a single kit or for all three kits?

    • Emcee is correct - each stop on the tour will focus on one of the three Lab Packs (based on age/experience level) but all of the hardware (enough for 20-40 students) is yours to keep!

    • A single stop will involve one kit. The age/experience level of the students will determine which kit is most appropriate.

  • Each lab pack has 20 kits, so for class sizes over 20 do they have to share or does everybody (up to 40) get a kit of their own?

    • The Lab Packs were designed after working with educators to find the best way to maximize potential and minimize cost. In a class of 20, each student will have his/her own Arduino-programmable board, breadboard, and guide - the students share sensor packs and accessories. For a class of 40, the students work in pairs building and programming the circuits together. Hope this helps! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at education@sparkfun.com!

  • Georgia FTW!

  • Oooh, my state’s purple. Does that mean Barney the dinosaur is teaching?

  • Come to Canada too!

    • Word. A lot of the Canadian cities are not too far away from American Cities, eh?

      • We’re not totally ruling out our friendly neighbors to the north! We just have our hands full with the fifty states. If you happen to sneak through a purchase before we prevent “international” orders, we’ll just have to make it work :)

        • Well since the main mode of transportation apparently will be an RV, Vancouver wouldn’t be that far out of your way. If you plan to take the Alaska Highway, Whitehorse basically would be on the way regardless if you are going to Juneau or Anchorage.

  • This is really amazing. Unfortunately, I wonder how this is going to work. I was looking at the dates for the various locations and most of the tour seems to be happening over the summer. Aren’t you limiting your potential audience by scheduling this for a time when school is not in session? Or are you thinking this is more of a summer camp type of thing? I’ll be looking into how I can set up something in my city.

    • We are hoping to capture summer workshops as well as professional training for educators. It’s very difficult to plan a national tour that works with the academic year and doesn’t put our folks driving the RV through winter. We’re hopeful that we will be able to reach as many people as possible given the constraints! Hopefully we will be visiting your city!

      • I’m sure it’s difficult. I’m glad I’m not the one doing it. :-)

        I hadn’t thought of professional training for educators. That’s a great idea. One of the problems I was struglling with is how to advocate to the local school district for an event that might leave 95% of the district’s kids without the opportunity to participate. Teaching the teachers is a great idea. Thanks!

      • Does this mean that we’re getting a sweet RV?

  • Great news!

    Updates to the learn site look a lot better too!


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