March 2011 Hackerspace Challenge

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Draft letter to Mitch Altman

  • See [1] for guidelines
  • Due 8PM EST 3/11/2011

Challenges in elementary education

Project Ideas

  • Trig. Tablet: a right angle device, reads trig functions as angle of armature changes -PROBABLY NOT -jcrews
  • "Player Piano Pen": pen or car with LEDs and light sensors, reads and plays notes as it's rolled along a musical score
  • the baroo indicator: students can anonymously register their confusion during a class.
  • bouncy ball that uses accelerometers and LEDs to teach kids about force and motion.
  • Blocks: communicate w/ eachother to teach sets, arithmetic, etc
  • Garden Sprite, a bunch of sensors for discovery of gardening and botany.
  • A Cartesian coordinate game system: 2 axes, buttons or touch pads at all intersections of the coordinates. Games are all built around (X,Y) format: variation on Battleship, or punching given coordinates for speed, etc.
  • Fraction teacher: a grid of 5x5 LEDs. Select the denominator and the proper number of LEDs turns red. Select the numerator and the proper subset of those turns green and the decimal equivalent is shown on the readout. (I am using the simple red/green LEDs here).

The Project Team

People who are definitely in:

  • Alan Dipert (1-2 hours a week + a marathon: C programming, miscellany, CAD (sketchup and rhino)
  • JC Sackett (2 hours a week + a marathon: arduino programming, software development (python, lua, ruby))
  • Justis Peters (5 hours a week: project management, software development, and Arduino)
  • Skippy Hope (2-3 hours a week + a marathon: C, perl, some Arduino, degree in music, has taught private lessons)
  • Jeff Crews (2 hours a week until later: fabrication, CAD)
  • Peter Reintjes (8 hours a week: electronics and PIC microcontrollers, schematics)
  • Mike Broome (3-4 hours a week (no weekends): programming (C, perl, java), low-level chip stuff, electronics, minor fabrication)
  • Dino Segovis (3 hours a week: hardware, electronics, 555 timers, fabrication, electronics CAD (FreePCB))
  • Darren Boss (4-5 hours a week + a marathon: perl, ruby, java, photography)
  • Ashley -- I'm in. 1-2 hours week, lots of experience in classrooms and how to keep things "educator friendly" :) I'm interested in using this somehow: w/ our microcontroller integration so that even educators w/ no programming experience could "program" the project. I promise to be at the next meeting :)

People we need to chase down as potential team members:

  • Tom Karches (audio synthesizers, electronics, circuit bending, old electronics)
  • Tom Billman
  • Bill Farrow
  • Dirk and Sarah

People we need to chase down as potential project advisors:

  • Kristin Bedell
  • Maria Droujkova
  • Greg Dekoeningsberg
  • Paul Overton
  • Robin Mays
  • Emily Mays
  • Michael Stewart

Lenore will take pictures.

Dream ideas from teachers in the field

  • A device that helps ELL students understand syllabication in English (e.g., you say a word and a light flashes to represent the number of syllables)
  • Digital Divide conquering: a way to provide low-cost connectivity to students who lack connectivity in the home/some sort of inexpensive handheld device that students could transport between home and school that would enable students to continue working on their projects outside of school hours
  • A device that could attach to a SmartPhone, scan a word in text, pronounce the word and use the web to bring up an image of the word to illustrate meaning
  • Fraction blocks that can wirelessly communicate and work for adding unlike denominators/finding equivalencies.