Directed by Matthew Faerber and located in Raleigh, North Carolina in the new Nature Research Center (a part of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences) the Visual World Investigate Lab (aka VisLab) is highly experimental and is not easily defined. It is a Maker Space, it is public outreach tool, it is a class room for children and teachers, it is free, it is visited by about 2,000 people a month, and it is open every day. It teaches science using scientific visualization techniques such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and GIS. The VisLab encourages kids to learn how to code and build with impromptu electronics demonstrations and classes. It boasts many different type of software and hardware technologies such as augmented reality, GIS, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, robotics, 3D modeling, and 3D printing. Its’ formal goal is to teach science and how science is done.
Matthew had been wanting to teach a class on Climate Change for long time, but he knew that the challenge would be keeping middle and high school kids engaged and interested. He didn’t want it to just be another class that they had to take, but an experience that they would remember and learn from. His answer was to create headsets that utilize both augmented reality and virtual reality technologies. Because of the headsets he doesn’t have to just show the students a photo of the arctic, he can virtually take them there, and they can look all around. Instead of showing a map in Power Point he can project a 3D model of the Earth on their table tops, and they can pick it up. These techniques are extremely novel and keep the students interested in the topic.
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.