Well, after five weeks, many late nights and not a little bit of craziness, the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge has ended.
Jude, Karin and I were at the shop until contest’s end at 2am Central time this morning. We generated a lot of content and I think we have a good shot at going to Maker Faire.
Here’s a little more about the project…
The Hack Factory Big Board project has a simple goal: make it as easy as possible for students to get the electronics bug. To that end, we have created a 10x scale breadboard, with components to match, to allow instructors to demonstrate the construction of a circuit to students in a round-table or lecture type setting, especially settings where demonstrations involving a projection screen and computer are infeasible due to lack of infrastructure or funding.
Those with a passion for electronics likely have a clear memory of when they first developed the obsession, and many of us will also recognize that following that passion has afforded us a good career doing something we love. The hope here is that by providing an inexpensive tool to allow an instructor to expose low-income students to the wonders of electronics, some of those students may find themselves motivated to pursue this topic through college and into a better life.
By allowing students to build a circuit without first having to make the big conceptual leaps from schematic to real-life realization, the instructor can introduce concepts to students through living, breathing circuits that do interesting things (we have used an optical theremin, for instance). Building a functional circuit fosters a sense of accomplishment which is absent from many school curricula surrounding introduction to concepts in electricity.
For younger students, the act of building the outsize components can be a good introduction. The tangible experience of shaping a resistor or capacitor imprints the name for that object in the student’s mind, providing a framework for the uses and function of that component to later be added.
Most of our content is on the main Hack Factory Element14 blog
Thanks to the Agent Silverfox team and Element 14 for putting on this wonderful event, and congratulations to all the teams!