Saturday, August 1, 2015

Why the Switch from Robotics to Electronics???

This year, I proposed teaching Electronics, instead of Robotics. The driving force behind this proposal was due to challenges we were faced with at Camp TechKobwa 2014 such as (1) the lack of reliable electrical outlets to charge laptops for programming robots, (2) the equipment limitations that forced us to have the students working in groups of 4, and (3) the shipping equipment to Rwanda obstacles.

By changing to Electronics, the fundamental teaching materials included Elenco's Snap Circuits Jr. Kits and AA batteries, no major shipping obstacles, and the students could now work in groups of 2. By allowing for smaller groups there was more time for each student to experience more hands-on problem solving through completing circuits projects. We were also able to send each teacher back with a kit to use in teaching electronics at their home schools, and to leave 10 kits with the Peace Corps for use in other camps and at community fairs and other gatherings.  (Rwanda import control rules prevented us from leaving the laptops in country in 2014--the teachers would have loved to have them, but the government considered them "too old"!)   The lesson plans were designed around the manual provided by the Snap Circuits Jr. kits

Special thanks to the Elenco executives for agreeing to help TechKobwa 2015 by discounting the kits for the camp and to all of those who helped make sure the kits safely arrived in Rwanda (Mary Anne Walker from MSU).

Be sure to check out the Electronics Module blog entry for more details about what we did this year :)

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