SparkFun is really lucky to get a lot of great people coming through Boulder to visit. We also get to go into the world and see fantastic projects, great research and some truly inspiring classrooms.
Last fall, on a tour, we met with Derek Runberg and spent time in his classroom outside Portland. Derek is a middle school teacher who has embraced much of the maker model. He’s running Arduino with middle school students and teaching computation and STEM topics with new technology. Much of our discussion going into the workshop was around what we could bring into the classroom that would add to the arsenal of hardware Derek had amassed.
We hit on teaching kids Processing, and as it turned out, it was a hit. That day was an eye opener for me in terms of the value of Processing in early stages of tech instruction for children. The kids love it, and the program has spawned a website that introduces Processing to teachers in a step-by-step guided experience. In the following months we’ve sent many teachers to Derek’s resources. They, in turn, have adopted Processing as a classroom tool.
Derek teaches a raft of other classes around Portland. If you’re lucky enough to live in the area you can catch an upcoming series of Ardunio and interactivity classes with Derek at ADX, Portland’s Fab/Hackerspace that has to be experienced to be appreciated.
Derek has an Intro to Arduino class coming up.
There’s also a follow up Making and Mechatronics class, based on Derek’s Global Awareness Lamp (seen assembled above, and disassembled below).
We’re offering a class with Derek at SparkFun centered around his classroom material with Processing. This workshop will focus on using Processing to introduce coding, computational thinking and interactivity to a broad range of students and targeted at teachers. We’ll also use Makey Makey in this class to get participants building control and interface with basic craft techniques. The class details and how to sign up are here.
As if this wasn’t enough, we have a Simon surface mount soldering class coming up on Wednesday, July 17th. As the base of skills grows around the DIY world, more and more people are using chips that might only come in the SMD package. In addition, the very small size of SMD components makes it very attractive for cramming a lot of circuits into incredibly small spaces. The full class description and how to sign up are here.
With the Autonomous Vehicle Competition, Drone Con and the Popup Circuits class all happening in the next couple months, summer is a grand time at SparkFun! Hope you can join us for one (or all) of these great upcoming events!