I’m freshly returned from a trip to Houston to work on professional Development with  CASIS.  Brian and I spent our days there teaching some of the basics of programming Arduino and using sensors and data logging in preparation for sending experiments to the International Space Station.


For the last several years we’ve been running programs with the NASA HUNCH program.

In working with NASA we made some great friends and had some great adventures. As a result of our time with HUNCH we were referred to the CASIS people and SparkFun has been chosen to  do development with CASIS and NDC.

This was a really action packed two days and the attendees in this group were  great to work with, we were very impressed by their ability to tackle difficult material at a really fast pace. SparkFun Education is moving towards a project based model for teaching and this workshop was no different. We didn’t do the standard lesson delivery, “Do this, then do this and finally this is what you should see.” Instead we worked from the idea that code based literacy is formed from being able to read code. If you think about how we teach language, we teach reading first. This is not the predominant approach we see code being taught by. The change that we’re trying to initiate is to introduce a chunk of simple code, teaching people to read the code line by line and then write companion code based on the inferences they arrive at from reading first.

This group of teachers grabbed the model and moved really well through the material. The larger goal of this workshop is to get teachers familiar with the Arduino hardware/software environment and to prepare them to use the Ardulab experiment platform.

It was eye-opening and very enjoyable to work with a new education model on cutting edge  technology and I feel like we learned as much as the teachers. All in all the two days was a great success and we are looking forward to future collaborations with CASIS and updates on the Ardulab project.


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