This week’s column is going to be a journey into the past and then a leap to some possible futures. Since I started at MAKE, and later teamed up with Ladyada at Adafruit, I’ve always wondered what the future of education might be like, and what the future of traditional organizations for kids, like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, will be like in a very modern, tech-savy world (with more and more people living in cities). To me, social networks and the maker movement are the perfect intersection of where the kids of today are. But I don’t see “leaderboards” for skills yet, I only see them for video games. I don’t see kids adding skills they’ve earned to their social networking profiles, I mostly see check-ins, bands, movies, and status updates. While historic groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, for many, are sometimes associated with camping and selling cookies, I think there might be something new ahead: a peer-to-peer way of sharing and celebrating skills using the internet (think Khan Academy). I think the scouts will ultimately go this way too, becoming “Scouts 2.0″.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.