I think that the build I was most proud of this class was the one with the active buzzer. It wasn’t the most difficult one to set up, but it was the one that had the most payoff for me. I think it was because as I was completing it, my security alarm system armed itself and I could see the connection instantly. My alarm was doing the same thing, though I think the alarm is probably the passive buzzer. So building something that I could immediately transfer into my world was good for me.
I would say that I started off fairly hopeful, devolved into panic and frustration and then had a little renewal near the end. I would say that I didn’t know anything about circuits or coding really before and since I try to be honest, I can’t say that I know a lot more now. But I did stick with it and so what I may have learned is that when our students encounter something that they find foreign, we are asking them to do the same thing. We are asking them to put aside lack of knowledge and disinterest, in some cases, and stick with it. So it was more learning a feeling.
My challenges were very much related to the technical aspect of the projects and in that aspect, they didn’t change over time. I can follow directions, but that doesn’t mean I understand the intricacies of what I’m doing. And because this type of project would have never been a strong area for me as a student, I didn’t worry about it too much. But I also reminded myself that in an authentic maker environment, this wouldn’t be as much of an issue. I just wouldn’t choose that kind of thing to work on. Which doesn’t mean I don’t value it, but rather it makes me really appreciate the importance of having a variety of tools, resources and experiences available for my students to explore.
Personally, my next steps as a maker would probably involve more of a craft element, but that won’t surprise anyone. However, professionally, we are looking at creating Maker Kits for circulation at our school, an idea that I got from our exploration of other Maker Spaces in the class. I think it would be a good compromise for our issue of not really having a viable space or time to have a Maker Space that is consistent. While the proposed area in my plan would actually be perfect, we have to utilize that space for classrooms. Even the small classroom space in my library has been commandeered as a class. So while I’d love to have an area, one doesn’t exist. For now, we’ll see how circulating kits might work with students and then revisit the situation at a later date.
But for now...
Well...this week, I asked for some differentiated instruction. I was pretty sure I didn't understand how to create a circuit on my own. I wasn't even sure where to start. But, after making my case to Dr. B, he gave me something else to look at: Automata.
So this is like an animation that you build. That's the best explanation I have for it. This is the site with the instructions: github.com/holasciarts/automata
This is their example of the reciprocating cam:
And here's what I came up with:
For this week, I chose to play with the active buzzer in my kit. I was looking for a project I had a little interest in and the active buzzer stood out to me because I have an alarm system that sets itself every night. Essentially, at 10 PM, my alarm arms itself and makes a variety of beeps at me. Simultaneously, my door lock beeps at me. So I'm thinking that the buzzer is kind of a variation on that.
There were two types of buzzers in the kit - active and passive - I went with the active one, but I may check out the passive one too because apparently it can make different tones which is really what my alarms do. But the active one was easy to set up. I had to use another set of wire, Male to Female ones, which I didn't think I had, but realized they were all stuck together. I thought that was some huge super wire. I peeled two off and went for it.
I used the provided code, but I was looking for what kind of variable would change and I found that in the speed of the beeps. When I changed that value, the beeps went faster or became more steady as you can see on the video. I didn't take many physical notes this time.