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Newbie Project for 100+ college students
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Newbie Project for 100+ college students

by gallaugher on Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:14 pm

I'm teaching two sections, 100 students total, in an Intro to Business & Tech course. Students enjoy the managerial content, but since I also teach an iOS App Development course, I know how much students enjoy "building something". This Fall I'm experimenting with having each student buy a Circuit Playground Express. Am planning to dedicate a class or two to demonstrating first Make Code, then Circuit Python:
- Building a "Bag of Shame" to hang on the door to beep loudly after class starts
- A snow globe that flashes in school colors (close enough) and plays first few notes of the fight song

Am also hoping to offer an outside-of-class optional seminar on a wearables project, like Sparkle Skirt for CP, but with scarfs and hats (although they can do anything).
https://learn.adafruit.com/sparkle-skir ... troduction
- materials expected (confirm or correct)
- neopixels (can I use sequins for similar but single-color flashing control or should I stick with neopixels?)
- silicone covered thread - 26awg Silicone Stranded Wire
- Circuit Playground Express (rather than a specialty and cheaper wearable microcontroller - they'll all have CPEs).
- AAA battery housing

Wondering best way to advise "stitching" into something like this scarf:
https://www.apparelandtshirts.com/index ... EoQAvD_BwE

ANY advice on managing these kinds of projects w/50 students at a time is most welcome. I'll be new to Circuit Python, but I teach Swift, so I'm expecting to pick it up quickly. Qs:

? Am expecting to use CPEs, alligator clips, and neopixels as part of tutorials that don't require sewing. Is this a fair assumption & that any code written with this setup can be easily migrated to a project that is eventually wired?
? Any advice on tools for getting 50 newbies at a time doing the kind of soldering in this project? Equipment? Dos/Don'ts (I'm not experienced at soldering, so this'll be new).
? Is it possible to connect the wiring up to CPE and make it fairly stable, but also removable so they can use their CPE in other projects? Is there some sort of snap-on or clippy connector they could put on a scarf or hat and simply unclip the CPE without having to do a final solder?

Recommendations welcome.

And a gift: I'm really trying to get more underrepresented groups interested in tech. I've drafted up some <3 min "Be Inspired" videos for the Fall that I plan to link in my syllabus (LadyAda is mentioned in the last video in the current 4 vids on the playlist. I will likely replace these videos as I update them (Doesn't seem YouTube can have persistent links to replaced videos), but I should be able to keep the playlist URL. Feedback is welcome!
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... uhN2WpNuGy

Also: I if any of you (or colleagues) teach iOS/Swift/App development, I've worked with a low-cost publisher to create a flipped class curriculum that goes from no code experience to "full stack" with Google Firebase in a semester. Video of how I use this & more info at:
http://gallaugher.com/swift

Tremendous thanks for any advice,
John

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Re: Newbie Project for 100+ college students

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:22 pm

? Am expecting to use CPEs, alligator clips, and neopixels as part of tutorials that don't require sewing. Is this a fair assumption & that any code written with this setup can be easily migrated to a project that is eventually wired?

Yes. Sewing, alligators or soldering all work. Obviously, alligator clips are temporary. Sewing is best suited to smaller projects where the runs will be short. Stainless thread has much higher resistance than copper wire. For more permanent projects, silicone coated wire is the best choice. Just be sure to strain relieve the soldered joints to prevent breakage from repeated flexing at the joint.

? Any advice on tools for getting 50 newbies at a time doing the kind of soldering in this project? Equipment? Dos/Don'ts (I'm not experienced at soldering, so this'll be new).

Some tips on tools here: https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-gui ... ring/tools
These are great entry-level irons: https://www.adafruit.com/product/180

? Is it possible to connect the wiring up to CPE and make it fairly stable, but also removable so they can use their CPE in other projects? Is there some sort of snap-on or clippy connector they could put on a scarf or hat and simply unclip the CPE without having to do a final solder?

I've had good results with 1/8" nylon snap rivets. Put the stripped wire through the hole, then push a rivet in with it and snap it to lock it in.

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Re: Newbie Project for 100+ college students

by adafruit2 on Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:26 pm

hiya sounds fun!
your best bet is to pick up some CPX base kits (or the parts within) https://www.adafruit.com/product/3517
and neopixels w/alligator clips - we have two types
https://www.adafruit.com/?q=alligator%20neo

you're probably going to get frustration with such a large group if you try to add soldering/sewing, so using the above sets, and then having them 'thread' or 'hotglue' the neopixels to fabric will be much much more successful. we've found that you can't really have a soldering project with mroe than maybe 10 students without ending up more time spent on soldering than coding, and kids like coding a lot more :)

to attach strongly, use https://www.adafruit.com/product/1170 or https://www.adafruit.com/product/2838

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Re: Newbie Project for 100+ college students

by gallaugher on Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:12 pm

Realized I hadn't shared what my students did. Thanks for advice & here are some links to materials that you're welcome to use (if you do, please let me know!).
We had one session introducing MakeCode and another CircuitPython.
Students prepared by following along with some videos (all shared on YouTube - you're welcome to use or suggest updates).

I had all students buy the CPX Base kit + I got a grant to distribute Neopixel Light Strips w/Alligator clips to the students. I also had a stash of some additional components - copper tape, conductive paint, extra alligator clips, a desktop speaker they could use for amplification.

Links to materials & videos of student projects are below:

MakeCode: [I noticed the forum software is filtering out bitly links, so just put bit dot ly in front of the paths below to get there. Longer direct links are below, but I find bitly easier to remember & find again:
/cpxatBC
https://medium.com/@gallaugher/a-coding ... 4a49f102ba

CircuitPython:
/CircuitPythonAtBC
https://medium.com/@gallaugher/unexpect ... daa1bf8434
The quick-cut, 1 sec / project video above is a fun one to watch.

Videos for these & other projects (including a series on how to build an iOS controlled Pi robot) are in playlists at:
bitly link /GallaugherYouTube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8LSi2 ... EBhNXzENHQ

Thanks again!
John

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Re: Newbie Project for 100+ college students

by adafruit_support_bill on Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:37 pm

Thanks for the follow-up and the videos. :)

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Re: Newbie Project for 100+ college students

by adafruit_support_carter on Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:12 pm

Wow! Those projects look awesome. Thanks for sharing. It's always so fun to see what cool ideas students come up with and create with this stuff.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.