The fourth Monash Tech School Creator Class, ‘Tinkering with LittleBits’, was held on the 17th of July. Creator Classes are designed to introduce attendees to new technologies that they might use in their future careers or hobbies. A focus of the classes is on teachers to allow them to take the opportunity to learn about different technological breakthroughs, and how they can take that back to their school are include it in their classrooms. These classes also represent a great opportunity for the wider community to get involved with Monash Tech School and learn about design and testing of new products.
Matt Jarvis, Technology Manager of Monash Tech School started the program by asking the question, ‘What is electronics?’ and we were given the traditional basic electronics materials, breadboards, shoulders, buttons, wires, batteries, and LED light to create our very own circuit. However, coming to the workshop without a background in engineering and technology, the task seemed complicated and time-consuming. Then we were introduced to LittleBits.
What is LittleBits? LittleBits is an open source library of modular electronics that snap together with tiny magnets creating infinite possibilities. This made the task simpler and we were able to light up the LED light in no time!
The class was divided into groups with each given a different challenge (light up a buzzer, make a fan spin, and a logic based one to makes circuits turn on and off). Each challenge demonstrated the versatile use of LittleBits. After mastering our problem we were given a design challenge - create an air conditioner with the help of LittleBits, which was quite challenge but working in our team we managed to create one.
Afterwards, Matt showed us what Year 7 students were able to achieve with this technology through the Superhumans programs. It was inspiring to see how this technology can so easily get students involved with electronics, something that would otherwise be out-of-reach for most students. I really enjoyed the pacemaker created by these students which had many commendable features
This workshop allowed us to engage with a new technology which wouldn’t otherwise be possible without the Creator Class. Additionally, this gave all the attendees a new tool to incorporate into their teaching career to make learning fun and hands on.