We mentioned earlier about the very special geek way of entering new year 2013. So here is a first hand, un-altered account of Tricia Blickfeldt who participated in the Arduino workshop for kids held there. We now are richer by one more arduino user! Yay!
“Before I tell you about the conference, I have to say that I work in Special Education at an elementary school. I am surrounded by children all day every day. Many of them with disabilities. I am not an engineer. I am not a hacker. My gifts do not include technical things. I came to the conference as a friend of one of the presenters. Many of the presentations were foreign to me. I felt very welcomed though and learned a lot. The staff were all very helpful and kind.
I was excited and nervous to participate in the arduino workshop. My friend told me that the class was created for kids with no experience. This was comforting. Kid things are right up my alley. And I certainly had no experience. There had been some last minute changes in teachers for the class, but I was very impressed with the guys who presented the workshop. It was clear that they knew and were very experienced in what they were teaching. When we arrived and there were no kids and, much to my dismay, they changed up what/how they were going to teach. I was soon put at ease though as they began at the beginning and explained what arduino is, what it does, and why it is so amazing and useful. They adjusted to their audience without making it more complicated.
I got really anxious again as they started handing out several little parts for us to build on the arduino board. The directions however were clear and precise. Illustrations were shown and questions were welcomed and answered. I set up an LED light and programmed it to go! The programming was not difficult because we just had to look up the codes for the task we wanted and apply them to what built. To do this we had to name the light in the program so it knew where to apply the command.
Then we added a button and programmed that to make the light go when we pushed it! We had to make some modifications to the code to add the button. I was so excited. We had some time to add more lights and see what we could make them do. I lined them up and programmed them to flash in a row and then back! This was a little trickier to program because we had to name each light individually and tell it to go in sequence. Who knew that I was capable of that?
Finally, we added a knob to control the speed of the blinking. This was definitely the hardest for me to understand. We had to set a delay that corresponded to the position of the knob. I was so excited that I took pictures and videos to prove that I really did it and that it really worked!
I was very impressed at how professional the presentation was. It was given in a way that created meaning and understanding without being overwhelming. It allowed me to create things that I hadn’t ever imagined myself doing. I am motivated now to find a project to work on using what I learned in the arduino workshop.
The entire conference seemed to be a lot like the workshop. It was very pleasant and friendly to all who were there regardless of background or expertise. It was professional and the presenters were all very knowledgeable. I learned a lot and enjoyed my time at the conference.”
PS: Many many thanks Tomek and his friend, for filling in the last minute!