Since 2011 I've had a set of NICTA ed1 boards that I've used extensively in classes to introduce students to the Arduino platform. Where the standard Arduino required you to wire up hardware components and build your own circuits, the ed1 comes equipped with a whole stack of built-in hardware components including an accelerometer, pull-up resistors, potentiometer, light sensor, temperature sensor, LEDs, an LCD screen and even Infra Red transmitter/receiver. The advantage of the ed1 over build your own boards is that it eliminates the complexities of the hardware and allows students to focus on the software and creativity within a defined set of limits.
As a programming exercise this is excellent, and its a nice way of getting students past the first hurdle of learning to program without having them also tussle with troubleshooting hardware and circuits. From here, moving into a full blown Arduino environment where they build their own kit is relatively straight forward, so its a nice introduction to #maker activities, even if it is a bit restricted when compared to a truly open maker experience.
The video below isn't one of my students, but gives a great demonstration of the many features and capabilities of the ed1. The game is being demonstrated by the student who wrote it, and he goes through the many features he's been able to write into it. It's a great example of how creative a student can get even when working within a restricted environment.
one plus one, 3 comments
- Michael McClune: I have a set of the ed1 boards as well and found them to be a fantastic resource for introducing Arduino. I use them in an embedded systems unit.
- Bruce Fuda: The main difficulty with Arduino is having to troubleshoot both hardware and software, and it can get really tough when you don’t have Oscilloscopes on hand. Arduino provides infinite extensibility, so things such as Bluetooth communication, Wifi etc can all be added as additional modules that increase the power of what is possible. The ed1, however, is awesome for developing the fundamental skills, and gaining an understanding of the differences between programming for embedded systems against regular software applications. I see Arduino as the platform that allows students to build anything – the ed1 is very much a small subset/introduction to what is possible. I would love to work with a bunch of educators to come up with a new specification for an “ed2” or similar, that provides a bit more extensibility but includes the kinds of hardware components we all want to use for student projects.
- Michael McClune: I backed this kickstarter project https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hackarobot/hackabot-nano-compact-plug-and-play-arduino-robot and hopefully it should arrive in August. If it tests out OK, then I will look at a class set. Like the ed1, many of the extensions have been wired into the board, so the students can focus on the programming task over the hardware.
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