Free children’s educational website for hardware design

Hot on the heels of the Government’s announcement that ICT education will focus on programming, US firm SparkFun is to set up a website dedicated to electronics education for 4-18 year olds.

SparkFun sells hobby electronics, including Arduino computer boards, and already supports its sales with a large amount of on-line information.

 

“From teaching classes and workshops to supporting educators and the open source community, SparkFun is creating a repository of free information for teachers, parents, administrators and anyone else that is interested in getting started in DIY electronics,” said a company spokesman.

Coincidentally with the Government accepting criticism that the ICT curriculum has become too focussed on the use of pre-written programmes such as Word, UK educational charity Raspberry Pi Foundation has released production versions of its £20 computer inspired by the BBC Micro of the 1980s.

Raspberry Pi aims to encourage children to learn programming by osmosis – giving them hardware that can play videos and games through a TV, that is also easy and tempting programme.

An acronym related to ICT in educational circles is STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths.
SparkFun has been thinking along the same lines the Government and Raspberry Pi.

“There have been some very interesting shifts in science, technology, engineering, arts and math, which SparkFun refers to as STEAM education. The arts play just as an important role as the science and math curriculums in encouraging young minds to use their creativity and imagination,” said the firm. “We firmly believe that relevant, engaging and tangible projects would greatly enhance the STEAM experience in children’s education. As a technical company, we understand what qualities employers seek in future STEAM workers.”

SparkFun will offer a combination of “affordable”, it said, classroom kits and free supporting curricula designed around the future STEM standards set by the US National Research Council.

 

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