We are very pleased to have the community participation in content development and share. Philip Le Riche has created a series of lessons which a group of Year 8 (12-13 year old) girls are currently working through. You can reach him at http://blueskylark.org
You can download all the content as a single zip file from our Github Repo
The microcontroller board on the Lightino is first designed by Sparkfun. On board, ATmega32U4 IC is an Arduino-compatible microcontroller with true USB functionality. If you are new to Arduino, it is better to read first some basics and driver installation information from the below page.
I am thinking for a while about how to teach young generation coding in a funny way. We all know it is very important to learn how to code but it is not so easy. It takes time and most of the young learners give up and fail at the beginning. You need something interesting to continue and try many times even you fail one after the other. It requires more time and practice than you might expect so you need a feedback mechanism that motivates you on trying without giving up.
Then suddenly I realized that fidget spinner hit the market and not only the young generation but also adults going crazy about this device. This toy was originally targeting children with autism and attention deficit disorders but sales statistics not showing us the same results. It’s being reported that toy stores can’t keep them in stock and online sales are frantic even if it was not introduced around any well-timed holiday or seasonal release. It is an absolute truth that this gadget finds its way into the hearts of young people.
I decided to use this popularity and create a fidget spinner with RGB LEDs and Arduino. It was a combination of two things that I love the most. Here is the picture of the first prototype:
I selected the most popular tree arm shape and each side has its own important function to place the battery, the light array, and the Arduino. As all other spinners, of course in the middle, there is a high quality bearing to grantee a long turning time. For me, the most important part of this toy is the USB connection. It helps us to upload new firmware to get a new light show pattern. This functionality distinguishes it from the others. Having an ordinary fidget spinner and turning it, again and again, makes you bored in minutes. Having an ability to re-program it adds a lot to Lightino. (This is the name I found so far :))
The real idea behind this gadget is to design a tool to create an innovative learning experience for teachers and their students in a collaborative learning process centered around hands-on experiments that include programming, mechanics, and electronics.
I hope this will be one-of-a-kind STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) experience for your kids. I will try to setup well-documented tutorials and code exchange platform. As always all hardware and software about this gadget will be open source. With the help of a great community, this gadget can draw the attention of the young generation and motivate them to learn to code.
Co-Chairman, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Co-Founder, Microsoft
Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.
I’d like to advocate for computer coding to be an institution in the public school systems right next to biology, chemistry, physics, etc. If we want to spur job growth in the US we have to educate ourselves in the disciplines where jobs are available and where economic growth is feasible.
Creator, Twitter and Founder & CEO, Square
I think that great programming is not all that dissimilar to great art. Once you start thinking in concepts of programming it makes you a better person…as does learning a foreign language, as does learning math, as does learning how to read.
Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. There just aren’t enough people who are trained and have these skills today.
We believe that coding should be a required language in all schools
There are way more exciting careers out there for people that have developed the muscle hanging between their ears than for all the sports and the entertainers combined. Learning to code is one of the fastest ways students can learn the skills they need for the 21st century.
A great article from Hackaday.com talking about our project as “We’re seeing the march of technology right before our eyes” This article helped us to reach a lot of people who want to teach coding to their children. After getting much positive feedback now, we started this community blog to share ideas and code examples.