Hello world! In my first post, I would like to use this opportunity to introduce myself.
I’m a high school technology education teacher of three different automation and robotics courses. The curriculum in my lab is mainly centered around the Arduino microcontroller, which I’ve used successfully in the classroom since 2008.
I believe in providing students with opportunities and resources to pursue any field that interests them. A Makerbot Thing-o-Matic, a 50 watt laser cutter, a PCB mill, Microsoft Kinects, Arduinos and sensors of every shape and size are just a few of the items that we have in the lab that help their ideas become reality. STEM education is something very important to me. In addition to getting students interested in engineering, my other goal is to help students become more comfortable with technology rather than be intimidated by it. I get no greater satisfaction than when a student tells me he was able to repair his headphones because I taught him how to solder or that she fixed her guitar because she noticed that the knobs on it were just potentiometers. I want to empower my students so they use these skills in every area of their lives.
I’m also a coach of a FIRST Robotics Competition Team, an international robotics competition for high school-aged students. I am a great supporter of FIRST’s mission, to inspire youth to pursue STEM-related fields.
Phillip and Limor have been very generous in allowing me to join their blog and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with everyone.
First off, I would like to thank PT and Limor for the chance to post to the blog, this is an awesome opportunity.
I teach three high school courses in Energy Systems and am an avid developer/enjoyer of open source hardware, primarily Arduino based. Each of my courses focus on physics principles pertaining to energy (primarily electrical and mechanical) and reinforces them through in-depth lab projects that physically demonstrate the math. I really like the students to break out of theory and get their hands dirty with a lab, such as dissecting, measuring and reassembling internal combustions or making bio-fuel.
Over the past two years, I have integrated two Makerbots (a Cupcake and a Thing-o-Matic) into my curriculum, which the students have avidly been using to produce everything from compressed gas jet engine nozzles to hubs for scale wind turbines. I have also installed a 50watt Epilog Helix 24, which has been priceless in the design of shiftable gearboxes, enclosures, etc.
Some of my open source projects include:
- ArduSat, an Arduino based motherboard for what is to be historys first high school designed and built cubesat, TJ3Sat (www.tj3sat.wikidot.com)
- The VEXMAS shield, a joint endeavor with my good friend and fellow tinkerer Charles delaCuesta, which creates an interface between Arduino and ALL of the VEX hardware (http://code.google.com/p/vexmas-shield/)
- The Kilroy board, a Arduino compatible PICAXE 20X2 based development board that we use at the high school to teach 500+ freshman how to program and interface with hardware.
In contributing to the Adafruit blog, I would like to make as much of my expertise available to the community as possible and look forward to hear your questions, comments, complaints, etc.