Our classroom glows with activity. One kid drafts a how-to article in which he explains the steps involved in wiring a cardboard Minecraft controller. Another writes a branching-path, choose-your-own-adventure story in Twine, a free, downloadable interactive fiction app. A student who’s claimed throughout his middle-school career that he isn’t a writer leans close to his laptop screen, finding and fixing coding errors. He composes, compiles, and debugs more than 100 lines of code to light up a three-by-three-light LED display plugged into his laptop.
A pair of especially curious students sits huddled around our newest computer, an exposed-faced circuit board smaller than a paperback book. It’s called a Raspberry Pi. They’re watching how the code they write in one window changes the course of a game in another. They may not know it yet, but these kids are playing with an open-source computing platform that just might change the way we teach young people how to interact with computers.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.