Kickstarter is one of my favorite websites because it allows everyone to have a chance to have their dreams and projects realized. It is just one more of the crowdsourcing benefits of the World Wide Web.
I have talked at great length about our need to ensure that our students experience real world learning and in math/science I believe there is no greater skill than programming. Every single job is and will be influenced directly or indirectly by programming because of the enormous amount of data we collect, and those who have the most control over their data will be able to innovate and create far more than others.
Now, most will balk at the idea of programming with high school students. Especially since many of you were exposed to it in a very boring way. Thankfully there are much more interactive and enjoyable ways of learning programming and using programming. My favorites currently are Python and Arduino. Both are free to download and use. Arduino microcontrollers cost around $30 plus any electronic components you wish to use (sensors, LEDs, motors, etc). But this is far less expensive than the commerical products out there.
What I hear most often when I tell someone about a new technology they say, it will take too long or I will get to it later. This is why I create tutorials that break it down really simply so you can get started in less than an hour and see why this is so cool and perfect for your classroom. I was going to create an Arduino curriculum where students could learn an incredible amount of science while being able to program their sensors and directly interact with their data. The adage, teach a person to fish and they eat for a lifetime comes to mind.
As I was doing my initial research to create this curriculum, I came across Quarkstream and Steve Dickie's Electronics Page, both of these men, like me see the potential in Arduino and how it can reduce the cost of doing high quality physics in the classroom. Steve, has a Kickstarter project where he would like to refine and open source all of his materials to the physics community so we can all benefit from his 11 years of teaching electronics. I'll let him tell you about it:
If everyone who came to this blog each week gave the minimum $3, this project would be more than funded. Please do your part to help the open source community and your students get a quality 21st century skill that is really fun and applicable to their lives (artists, doctors, scientists, musicians, have all used the Arduino in their work). Even if you don't teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) perhaps you will see the benefit in doing so and give up a cup of coffee or pizza for a day to donate to this cause. We will do it for you when you create your Kickstarter project!
Support the Arduino in Education Kickstarter Project!