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Education Website Launch


Today we are proud to announce the launch of a new SparkFun website - learn.sparkfun.com. This new website is the home of the semi-recently formed SparkFun Department of Education and represents SparkFun's commitment to helping bring embedded electronics into the classroom.


Why an octopus? That's Ludus - the Education mascot.

The SparkFun Department of Education is captained by Director Lindsay Levkoff, Ph.D., and is dedicated to improving the way today's youth participates in and views science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The Department of Education is extremely excited to have the new website up and running. As Lindsay puts it, "Our hope is that the open source model SparkFun embraces as a company will improve the overall affordability and accessibility of technology and will greatly enhance a student’s classroom experience while learning about the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). We want to support a community that is dedicated to sharing knowledge and reigniting the passion for learning, playing and creating.”

Ultimately, the new education website will play host to an extensive selection of tutorials, resources, and education-based kits. SparkFun is very excited to be on the frontline of bringing physical computing into the classroom. So give the website a look - it is still a work in progress, but we are excited with the direction this journey is taking us!


Comments 31 comments

  • It’s awesome to see the site finally up. Will the site allow the community contribute with their own tutorials and teaching material?

    • Absolutely! One of our main goals is to encourage the sharing of curricula and materials in the community. We would love to host your tutorials and teaching materials! Feel free to email us at education@sparkfun.com.

      • AWESOME! I am in the midst of writing a few tutorials/guidelines on digital logic. If I can find more time to work on them I will.

        Just for clarification. What format do you all want to make your review easier? This way I don’t give you guys a LaTeX file by accident… (Yes, I am writing tutorials in LaTeX).

        • What’s weird about writing tutorials in LaTeX, especially if you plan on including formulas of any kind?

          • It’s not that it’s weird, it’s just if people have never used LaTeX before, writing for it can be an odd experience.

            • No kidding. There’s not much that produces nicer looking output, and the whole edifice is a monumental achievement in software, but it’s not so much that TeX derivatives have sharp edges as it is that they’re made of sharp edges.

        • Formats are where it gets a little messy. We understand that most educators want to be able to revise materials, so we try to offer editable formats (e.g., txt, doc, odt) as well as more polished versions in PDFs. I would recommend sending us materials in easily accessible formats, but I’m sure you’re not the only one out there working in LaTex! :)

          • PDF, in my point of view is probally the best. it is very user friendly. The printing and zooming out is pretty good too!

  • Now to the important stuff - can I get a T shirt with Ludus on it, and can I have a toy one?? :-P

  • I want to just put in a comment that the acronym STEAM is beautiful. The Arts are the perfect gateway to technology, math and science, because today as always, Art is enabled and merged with our technology.

    How many art classes could also be technology classes? How many technological pursuits could be energized by allowing their natural artistic dimension to be expressed in learning?

    • Hrmm … not meaning to be argumentative, but am I the only that doesn’t get including the A in STEAM? I love the arts - but don’t get/appreciate the connection.

      People are just barely starting to latch onto STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in educational funding circles. No need to confuse them, IMHO.

      Don’t call me a hater, I just see a need for clarity here instead of a latching onto/stealing from another very important but clear movement. Why not just make it STEEAMPH (Science Technology Engineering English Arts Math P.E. & History) and include everybody?

      • We understand the general concern. Quite honestly, I’m tired of acronyms of all kinds! That being said, there seems to be a lot of momentum for STEAM over STEM (even at the governmental level). The Education Department sees great value in including the ‘A’ as it underscores the importance of creativity in the ‘STEM’ fields. Interestingly, in our experience the art educators and technical/vocational educators are a great portion of the early adopters of bringing relevant technology into the classroom. It’s an exciting time - hopefully we’re going to see some really positive changes in education (RPCiE)… ooh, another acronym! :)

    • Happy Dance… The site is live. A bit thin in areas but to be expected for early stages. I look forward to seeing it grow.

      And very happy to see you using STEAM acronym. It is growing in use. It was heavily used at the USFabLab Network symposium earlier this month, and I’ve heard it come back from various educators in other places. Go Meme!

      User contributions would be good, although having a vetted or peer-reviewed site would be even better. Perhaps some sort of site with Levels … submitted, reviewed, etc. Then educator-authors can be happy as their products level-up.

  • This is awesome! Thankfully, I live close enough to Boulder that I have been able to attend a few classes and have brought several kids with me each time. Every one of them has said how awesome it would be if they got to do that kind of stuff in school. It’s great to see you are making that happen!

  • Somebody took a bite out of poor Ludus’s head.

  • You should have the calendar “addable” to people using Google calendar so as you add events, they appear in our personal calendars. (see “other calendars” in Google calendar.)

    How many times can I put calendar in one post?!?

  • Nice!!!Congrats to Sparkfun team.

  • Is ‘Linday’ and ‘Lindsay’ the same person? Maybe one of them is a typo?

  • So I’m thinking maybe the first circuit presented (LED, Batt, Resistor) should be functional - this one is not.

    A 1.5v battery on its best day cannot drive a yellow LED with a forward voltage of 2.2v. Even a red LED with 1.7 is immune to a single cell of the type pictured.

    http://dlnmh9ip6v2uc.cloudfront.net/learn/learn_interior_images/basic-circuit.png

  • Maybe it’s just me, but think the logo of Ludus could go 50/50 octopus or Madusa/screaming head (eyes, nose, gaping mouth, snake tongue). Maybe if the front two legs didn’t touch, and it wasn’t so symmetrical… just a suggestion.

  • You guys get a internet high five!

  • The third title in the new website is: “Recently Take a Class?” Should be “Taken

    • Correct me if I’m off, but wouldn’t it be “taken” if it were written, “Have you recently taken a class?” while it would be “take” if it were, “Did you recently take a class?”

      “Recently take a class?”, albeit a bit informal, isn’t technically “wrong” - right?

      Gotta love grammar…

      • It is informal, and it is using take as a particle, but Recently already set the tense to past, so for proper formal grammar, the past particle, taken, should be used (past tense, took, would be the best choice of the word).

        This all figurative since there is no definitive subject in the question. (Did you… vs. Have you…).

        From experience, formality would dictate that you ask in a more passive manner (did you… is more assertive/aggressive than have you…). So… My vote is taken to be the proper word to use.

      • Except that our website says “Have You Recently Take a Class?” which is actually wrong… unless it’s an inside joke, I’m cool with that, but I want in, lol

      • Both ways sound acceptable.


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