Thursday, July 28, 2016

TAP Lab Visit

Last night I went to the Te Atatu Penisula Community Center where they have an awesome makerspace to learn about Arduino. I heard about this through meetup. The idea was that anyone interested in Arduino could get a crash course in the basics, even if they didn't know anything about it.

Some of this may be too technical for some, but keep on reading for my thoughts on makerspaces in general.

I figured that since I want to get students making robots (at some point), I'd better learn myself. There were a good number of people there and I was given help in a small group of 4 people. We were taught how to just use the Arduino to light up an LED using both parallel and series circuits. Then we got the chance to experiment with coding some LEDs to blink and to fade. While not completely earth shattering stuff, it was a good first step with not only the physical setup of the Arduino and breadboards, but also with the coding for Arduino.

As I have been slowly sharing with people, one of the things I'm attempting to do at the moment is to actually organize the maker educators in New Zealand, so this visit was also a good way of networking with other people, outside of schools, who have knowledge. In an long discussion with some of the regulars afterwards I was able to get a good idea of what is out there in New Zealand at the moment (a growing number of makerspaces for adults, along with a network connecting them - but still a lack of organized network for school, something which I'm prepared to start - Maker Ed NZ, which is quickly or slowly becoming my pet project).

I'll be writing more about makerspaces and why I think they are important and necessary in schools later, but I did want to share what I did and what I learned. Here's a short video of the LED lights I was able to get to blink in an alternating manner.

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