Art meets Arduino!
What happens when you take a DIY Technologist, a multidisciplinary artist, a handful of Arduinos and a room full of eager students? – Creativity! STEAM inspired creativity…and a whole lot of hacking talk. Yes, this morning, kids got out of bed – on their day off from school – and voluntarily attend an educational session! Sounds incredible right – of course I would have gotten out of bed on a holiday to hack a robot…if only Johnny 5 were really alive (insert 80s Short Circuit movie reference).
Seriously though, the Arduino focused session hosted by S@WR (Halifax-based collaborative duo Shawn Wolchyn and Sally Raab) was great. This awesome young duo volunteered to share their skills and love of DIY electronics as part of the Lumiere 2016 Art Festival.
The artists created a hands-on session to build a working stop light using the Arduino, LEDs, resistors, breadboard, wires and of course code. The students ranged in age from I’d guess 7-15…and not one looked overwhelmed. In fact, at one point Shawn said he would invite the group up and do a demo of how to connect the wires and LEDs so students could see how everything was connected before they attempted to do their own project. This was met with some chatter among the students with one student saying ‘I think we can just follow along easily, let’s just start building.’ And so they did! Without having seen how to make a completed project they jumped in and step by step built it.
If you’ve never been to a session where kids are interacting with tech it really is inspiring to see – and this session was no different. The students worked in groups – asking questions if they needed – but mostly demonstrating that ‘look ma, no hands’ tenacity.
With only an hour planned for the session – the group actually built their circuits and got started on the code. But, with time running out, Shawn and Sally brought everyone together to download the code from one computer…and then, the chatter really started. Sure enough, the circuits started flashing --- lights were going from red to green to yellow – and here’s where it got interesting….as I heard ‘Can we hack a real street light?’
Their minds started racing to what they could now build and control…and the buzz in the room became electric as the conversation moved from street lights to code to makey-makeys to toys to robots and on and on….till the session officially ended. Because this session did what all great sessions do…inspired a desire to do more, to learn more, to build more…hack a Furby anyone?
I know we can! @kimDesveaux
Special thanks to Lindsay Uhma and Ardelle Reynolds of Navigate Startup House for hosting this great session!