Friday, August 10, 2018

mobile digital education

Here are some ideas for a Middle School computing course. Feel free to steal them although I would appreciate if you acknowledge the source. Many thanks to Roland and Paul for initially suggesting these ideas to me.

  • digital wearables – take home – ownership - affordable
  • at $25 the micro:bit (cheaper with a bulk buy) could be bought by each student – real ownership of the micro:bit is empowering and invites further exploration
  • the mobile phone has become the socially preferred computer – it is desirable to find a way that students can use their phone to enhance their education, as distinct from entertainment
  • electronics, can be linked to the micro:bit (electronics tends to be a neglected subject)
  • computer coding –far more accessible these days due to drag and drop tiles of Scratch / Makecode (apparently the official term is block based coding since you drag blocks of code around)
  • Maker Education themes
  • Scratch – introduction to coding
  • Makecode (MS) free online or free app download– for coding of affordable hardware such as the BBC micro:bit (wicked simulator included)
  • MIT app inventor – writing apps for you mobile phone

BBC micro:bit $24.95 (plus $3.95 micro USB cable plus $2.41 battery holder and batteries) from Core Electronics - link - (to be owned by each student)
Features – technical specification, listed at the end

PCs to access makecode (computer lab)

Androd or iOS phone runs a micro:bit app – programs can be sent to micro:bit through bluetooth

Mobile phone programmable by app inventor

Electronics: Break out board, eg. Kitronik Inventor's Kit (for class use) $39.95 from Core Electronics


We are rapidly moving towards a world of smart homes / cities, driverless cars and digital wearables for fitness monitoring, health care and fashion statements. Commercially, the Apple watch incorporates all of this. We can anticipate a future where computers are ubiquitous in our environment, eg. the smart frig which will suggest a suitable recipe for its contents. Computers will become as common as dust or oxygen. Refer MITs Project Oxygen

This course outline represents a small beginning towards adapting the school curriculum to preparing students for this future.

32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 CPU
256KB Flash
5x5 Red LED Array
Two Programmable Buttons
Onboard Light, Compass, Accelerometer and Temp Sensors
BLE Smart Antenna
Three Digital/Analog Input/Output Rings
Two Power Rings — 3V and GND
20-pin Edge Connector
MicroUSB Connector
JST-PH Battery Connector (Not JST-XH)
Reset Button with Status LED

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