Pokittos for every school ;-)


#1

Imagine this. A computer class in the primary school. There are boxes of Pokitto parts on the table, like lego blocks. The teacher asks each group of children to pick the parts they like: different colored covers, buttons, D-pads, and PCBs, batteries, screens, etc. Each group then assembles their custom Pokitto. Then the teacher asks each group to pick a hat for their Pokitto. There are all kinds of hats to choose from: camera, temperature sensor, extra controller, accelerometer, etc.

After choosing a hat the group connects Pokitto to PC and starts experimenting with an interactive prompt over USB. Check the temperature, take a picture. Just a couple of commands! After that they make a full, simple, program which uses the capabilities of the hat, and upload that to Pokitto.

Each group presents their program and their custom Pokitto to everyone. Huge number of new ideas are thrown! At the end of the lesson the teacher tells more about electronics and programming. Next week they can improve their program, or start over with a different customisation and different hat. Everyone just cannot wait for the next workshop :wink:

Now the question: would you have liked that kind of a lessons as a kid?!


#2

Who wouldn’t! I was born a decade too late and too early for this kind of thing, that is, in the 80’s. So I missed out on the 70’s “everyone must learn this stuff” and left school by the time schools took these ideas seriously the second time around. I only really got into electronics recently because of the cheap arduino clones the you can get these days.

Schools NEED to do this, and computer manufacturers need to encourage learning to code.


#3

Agreed, I started school in 1979, we didn’t even know about computers until 6th grade when we were exposed to the apple // in the computer lab for 1 hour per week, and by the time high school rolled around only the kids who got A’s in computer class in middle school were allowed to take computer class in high school I graduated in 1992 and in my senior year they just got rid of the vintage 1984 tandy trash 80’s with 8 inch floppies (I salvaged a box of blank wabash disks before the trash was emptied one day as a souvineer) and they upgraded to some 386’s and 286’s in the library they had a //Gs and in journalism class I had the most powerful computer in the school next to the macs in drafting a 386 Dx hat I used to set up the school paper with.

At home I had a wang something or other I played CCAdventure on and a used Sinclair someone gave me for mowing their yard but never could do anything with it.


#4

I have actually been thinking on how this could become a reality, the short answer is more basic level tutorials/resources and a cheaper version of the hardware kit.

It is a great idea and what schools should be doing, i have worked in several schools (still do) and can tell you that schools also want this badly but there are some barriers; time to give to interested teachers is low because budgets are too tight to bring in specialists (especially at under 11 age), the device its self is too expensive and would have schools turn to Arduino kits instead (a lot tried pi, didnt last long) and lastly the Pokitto is still a little too new and lacks the teacher/child level tutorials/instructions/resources at the moment.

the Pokitto has the potential to become childrens No1 requested christmas present, especially if introduced at their school but trust me, introducing a product before it is ready for a school environment will do the product no favors in the long run.

To be massive it would need to be sold on bulk to distributors in packaging like bargin toy items (package: https://www.homesciencetools.com/product/solarlab-solar-electricity-kit/ cost: https://www.amazon.co.uk/14-Educational-Solar-Robot-Kit/dp/B00CRF5KKG/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1521310180&sr=8-6&keywords=littlebits) at around £20-£25.

Lego Mindstorms has had the biggest sucess as far as electronics in schools is concerned, as far as i can tell anyway and its not cheap which is why inevetably it becomes too high maintanance.

As a fair comparison look at the ArduBoy model, tutorials 1-8 written by Crait (http://www.crait.net) are great and the device can be hacked for around £20 (£45-£55 retail) with a breadboard and the free Arduino IDE; its still not at educational level and educators do not know about Arduino - its a hard market to sell to tbh.


#5

Good points. We need some pilot project at school and the community could write tutorials for it.

Btw. Did you see my Pokitto Robot Courses ? They are targeted for children also and I have gone them through with my 12 ane 15 years old kids.



#6

They’re a good starting point, but they only cover a certain set of topics. A proper set of educational resources would need several tutorials like that.

Also only 1 to 7 were written by @crait (the same crait, he has an account here),
tutorials 8 to 14 were written by filmote.

(Also tutorials 1 to 7 out of date - they use the old Arduboy library instead of Arduboy2 and don’t use Sprites.)

Did you mean free as in free software or free as in “doesn’t cost money”?
Neither EmBitz or the mbed online IDE cost money, though sadly EmBitz isn’t open source.

There’s a professor of game design at an arts college in Savannah named Cyril Guichard who has previously tried to get his students doing sprite art for the Arduboy.

There was also a teacher named Suzanna Pearce who reportedly was trying to get the Arduboy introduced to her classroom, but we don’t know how that went because she sort of vanished after a while.

In other words there are some and they try, but the biggest barrier is usually lack of time or resources.


The Pokitto has an advantage that the Arduboy didn’t have until recently: a functional simulator.


#7

The first tutorials are at a more basic user level and that is why they are better for young audiences, we cant expect under 11s to go out buying C++ books or teachers to be at that level for that age either. Its not a case of professionalism but practicality; just works better at that level but not for a wannabe pro.

The Arduino IDE as in its portability more than it being free. At under 11 age the cloud is a bit of a no go for creating accounts and introducing pupils to communities; everything must function in a lab environment offline, from example to creation and even testing. Portable Arduino + ProjectABE allow children to work on their code, make a binary and drag it onto the exe to play it; offline, free and can be done without administrator privileges on a restricted user profile.

I have actually got a pupil ArduBoy environment setup working here now, even allows them to upload to my device when plugged in (bye game… hello world…). My lessons should start in a few weeks though teacher co-operation has been poor and may mean I have to abandon until next summer; maybe by then I will be able to do it with Pokitto instead, though I think the mail man has had mine (was sent 1 month today ago).


#8

Really? I would like to follow up on that. PM me your address & name and I will check what’s up.


#9

I haven’t heard any mention of that on the Arduboy forums.
You ought to make a post about that over there, I’m sure the others would be interested to hear about your setup.


#10

haha, in fact, my school did that to me in our engineering club as a quick 1-day project that we worked on and got to bring home.


#11

That’s cool! Which device it was?


#12

just the regular pokittos, they were all green and clear (we didnt get to choose colours)


#13

That is nice to know! Where is your school? What kind of exercises you made with Pokitto?


#14

you got given pokitto’s by your school… that is cool, glad some educators are keen; the pitty here is the 1-day part.


#15

i just go to a small charter school in Florida, we didn’t really make any programming since the day we got them was the last day of the club so we just did an easy project.


#16

There’s a big science event today in Turku Finland. Kids are playing with Pokittos. Unfortunately, I am not able to attend myself.

I am adding Finnish-commented example programs for them to play with:

Circle drawing:

https://os.mbed.com/teams/Pokitto-Community-Team/code/Ympyroita/

Simple sketching program:

https://os.mbed.com/teams/Pokitto-Community-Team/code/Piirtely/


#17

Good news! Discussion ongoing to serve a school of 1500 students! :wink:


#18

Very good! Let’s hope it goes well.


#19

Ideas for curriculum are welcome!


#20

Python for younger kids, C++ for older kids.