This year I wanted to give students an experience that combined coding with some basic engineering. The low-cost Circuit Playground Express from Adafruit Industries is ideal. The firm’s founder and lead engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried, is also a great role model for students interested in entrepreneurship.
There were several goals in integrating the CPX into the course: 1) provide a lab where concepts of fast/cheap computing and its relation to new product and market creation could be more deeply appreciated and explored, 2) provide an introduction to coding and hardware in a way that was approachable and inspiring, 3) introduce more students (especially women & students of color) to possibilities in tech, and 4) provide a “gateway drug” for students hooked on this experience to follow up with additional courses.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
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.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.