What is the big deal with Arduino? What does it do and why is it important to making?
Arduino is a gem in the maker ecosystem. It is an open digital platform that bridges the digital world with the one around us. It is the perfect mix of low cost hardware that can be mixed with very inexpensive off the shelf electronic components. It is the raw material to invent some truly original and useful items. Its enables a learner to innovate, experiment, and give agency in ways that were nearly impossible a few years ago.
Want to make a light that only turns on at night? How about a light that pulses like a heartbeat? How about send that information around the world over the internet? Arduino and its various bits of hardware and software makes this truly possible and accessible to anyone.
Computational thinking, design, iteration, problem solving. We talk at length about these concepts. Yet do we truly understand them. Making a light flash or a buzzer sound may not sound like a big deal.
But it is. Its a very big deal.
Its the beginning of making connections and applying learning that so often escapes students. A simple light flashing can lead to taking a trigonometric concept in math and use it to compute and model light intensity is like an artist mixing paints and using different brushes on a canvas. Would you send someone into a kitchen and not let them cook or eat? We never instruct art by filling in the blanks. But we do this all time in other subjects. Making and modelling something out of trigonometry is going to teach more to the student about its properties and uses than some made up problem on a worksheet ever could.
Of course you need to be a learner too. Have you had your "aha" moment yet? If not, go out and make something until you do.