The 4th Industrial Revolution: Why Implementing Arduino Tech into the Classroom will Benefit K-12 Students
If you haven’t experimented with Arduino tech, we highly recommend it. This simple open-sourced technology is what some would consider the 4th industrial revolution, offering the best user experience to get something done quickly. Whether you want to create a DIY drone, bake a cake, mute the T.V. or feed your cat — you can do it with Arduino tech.
If you are not familiar, Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards can read inputs - light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message - and turn it into an output - activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board. To do so you use the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring), and the Arduino Software (IDE), based on Processing (“What is Arduino.” Arduino Foundation, // https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/Introduction.)
The best part — Arduino tech is inexpensive, can be used in any platform, and is easy-to-use for beginners yet flexible for advanced users. This type of tech is perfect for the K-12 educational environment. It offers an opportunity for students to develop experience with the engineering design process, coding in C/C++, and digital prototyping.
We met up with two advocates that have always had a strong passion for hands-on, experiential, and context-based science education, Ms. Mendiola and Mr. Haydock. Mendiola and Haydock saw the power and flexibility of the Arduino family for learners in science.
Whether the topic is sound, waves, and frequency or abiotic factors in an ecosystem the platform is readily engineered to enhance a learner’s experience with science. The platform actualizes the vision of the STEM/STEAM approach to learning as outlined in the newest science standards. For example, a student studying light frequency, wavelength, and color in physics, can engineer a circuit with a power source, RGB LED, and resistors controlled by a program on the Arduino to produce thousands of different colors based on mathematical operations and light color mixing rules to make a work of art.
Using the inputs and outputs connected to the Arduino microcontrollers, both Project and Problem based Learning become available for implementation to the science teacher. Students will engage in constructing and communicating their own solutions using the knowledge they obtain, tools of inquiry they design, processes they formulate, data they collect or observations they make. The level of engagement as individuals and even more powerfully in teams puts the learner at the center of the educational process.
After seeing how students responded to using Arduino in their classes to study physics and chemistry, the authors wanted to make it possible for others to easily see the same benefits in their own classrooms and have begun developing resources. The first is available now as The Arduino Classroom: Volume 1. Mendiola and Haydock took their experience as teachers, curriculum writers, and project-based learning advocates and have made plans for a series of books on the Arduino platform. They hope that other teachers will see the value of integrating Arduino projects into their STEM/STEAM classrooms and incorporate engineering design, digital prototyping, and coding into science.
Arduino is now leading the world in the realm of IoT, the Internet of Things, devices connected to the internet to share their data which includes, security systems, health monitoring devices, house controls for lights, temperature and even window shades, as well as cars, watches, and refrigerators sending data to their owners. There are even toilets that can monitor and report body temperature, blood pressure, and other vital signs of the user under development.
As you can see, Arduino tech is an extremely versatile learning experience that teachers can bring into their classrooms. Yes, it is hard to implement even more into a jam-packed curriculum; however, in the long run, this will be beneficial, vital, and will provide students’ with the skills highly sought after by businesses and universities.
Posted September 10th, 2019 By Lindsey Bartelt, Communications Manager, STEM Forward; Peter Haydock; Isabel Mendiola.
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