Arduino at ECEDHA
This year in attending the ECEDHA conference, we had a mission to connect with higher education professionals. Universities face some struggles around their Electrical Engineering departments, and Arduino can contribute to solving a few of them. Declaration, Retention, and Community Education Outreach.
Success with a few Arduino projects can help motivate high school students to come to the conclusion that they want to get into electrical engineering more seriously. Universities can still use Arduino in Freshman and Sophomore classes to get more hands on and familiar with all the components because some students may not have as much experience. Arduino can also introduce programming to students who haven’t had those resources previously.
The next challenge is keeping students through graduation. Each year at ECEDHA, the attendees lament that the percentage of students who declare an E.E. major don’t always make it to the very end. We believe Arduino hardware can help students stay interested and motivated. With the latest Arduino boards, it’s all about Linux, Bluetooth, and WiFi. With those 3 features, instantly any E.E. student can take their projects to more complex levels with the software and develop unique shields. Depending on the scope of the project, and the content, some of the more advanced boards like Tian and M0 Pro could help a student more than hinder. In addition, several universities have purchased a classroom set of Arduino Yuns and use the opportunity to teach a sampler programming class for their E.E. students. Software experience is always good on a resume when graduates look for employment, and with the Yun, a teacher could choose the time to devote to teaching how to control circuits using Node.js, Java, Python, and more significant languages. Students appreciate the constant of the hardware with the variable of the software to gain valuable skills that may prove to be an edge later in the competitive job market.
Finally, the ECEDHA department heads shared that their E.E. departments do make an effort to participate in outreach to high schools in the area. Students offer workshops and attend events to inspire local high school students to get into electronics. And of course, one easy, ready-to-go curriculum is Arduino, using the Starter kit, or any other kit available to bring to the high schools. There’s little preparation and lots of variation to inspire a classroom of students with varied interests.
We interviewed the department heads of prestigious universities. When they were children, this is what they said got them into engineering and science:
The Apollo 11 mission landing successfully on the moon and returning all 3 astronauts back to Earth.
Taking apart cars and televisions with a family member
Working on radios
Playing with trains
Watching shows about space, robots, and the future
Researching famous inventors and scientists which motivate as role models
Playing with little electronic kits to make several circuits
Playing with any set of materials like Erector sets, K’Nex, Lego, Lincoln Logs, Hot Wheels, etc.