I have taught Arduino to over 100 local youth, adults and seniors through the Nelson Tech Club over the past four years. One of the most useful tools to explore this subject in educational contexts is plug-and-play sensor packs. These packs are worth the investment, many of the parts can be sourced individually. Small starter packs can be found for about $50 on many websites, and up to several thousand dollars for educators looking for a well-rounded inventory. Those who are inexperienced, but interested in Arduino can harness easy to follow plug-and-play logic and focus more on coding by utilizing interchangeable electrical circuit “bricks” to remove circuitry guesswork.
Arduino Accessory Packs, including sensor shields.
You can find great deals on Arduino components, as well as Beagleboard and Raspberry-Pi accessories at canada.newark.com.
The Nelson Tech Club has a large inventory of Arduino UNO micro controllers, sensor shields, network shields, motor shields, real time clocks and over twenty unique sensor bricks. Many of these types include: LEDS, buttons, servos, steppers, photovoltaic, thermal, magnetic, metallic, potentiometers, etc. There seems to be an endless variety to choose from, all of which are easy to incorporate into any project.
Arduino is a great compliment to any Hackerspace and I highly recommend sensor packs for any age to learn with. The NTC offers Arduino resources for Hackerspace members to explore with every week at out Public Wednesday Hackerspace.
It just might be the fastest growing club in town.
Nelson Tech Club started out in the back room of a local computer store and as word spread – almost in a rumour-like fashion, more and more new people came to check it out, said club president Brad Pommen.
“It seemed every week someone new would come through the doors,” he said. “We almost had to keep it under wraps sometimes because we knew if we had another influx of people, we’d have nowhere to put them.”
North America was built by makers — curious, enthusiastic amateur inventors whose tinkering habit sparked whole new industries. At TED@MotorCity, MAKE magazine publisher Dale Dougherty says we’re all makers at heart, and shows cool new tools to tinker with, like Arduinos, affordable 3D printers, even DIY satellites.
Nelson Scouts recently visited the local technology “hackerspace” at the Nelson Tech Club (NTC) and were given a tour which included demonstration of a 3D Plastic Printer and a Laser Cutter. The NTC offer’s a public meeting every Wednesday night at Selkirk College Tenth Street Campus – Annex Building in which members of all ages and skill levels learn about computer programming, electronics and robotics. The local scouts group experienced first-hand how the two pieces of equipment allow students to turn digital designs into real-world objects. Jason Taylor, Chair – School of the Arts and Brad Pommen, President of the NTC were on hand to demonstrate the technology offered by the tech club and the college audience.
The Nelson Tech Club (NTC) was awarded a Columbia Basin Trust – Youth Grant to hold “Arduino Boot Camps” at the local college hackerspace. Sponsoring organization, Selkirk College, backs the NTC with the physical space where they hold their weekly “hackerspace” meetings which are open to the public. The Arduino “Uno” is a small computer about the size of a pack of gum which lets you connect sensors, control motors, buttons, LED’s and you can program it from any computer. Students find it a fun and easy way to understand and to learn about electronics and computer programming. The investment will go towards the expansion of the club’s computer resources. The NTC President, Brad Pommen, will host the boot camp events in early 2013, utilizing laptop workstations for each participant. Through the club’s motto: “Build, Learn, Share” the NTC provides a face in the community and establishes itself as an innovative leader in the areas of science and technology. For more information, please visit www.nelson-tech-club.info.