We have an organization in our city that holds classes for teachers, among other groups, called IT-ology. On Feb. 18th I had the opportunity to take a class for something called a Hummingbird created by Bird Brain Technologies. It resembles an arduino, but is geared for maybe 4th - 8th grade. I've been trying to figure out how to incorporate ideas, AND I wanted to do something "arduino-ie" but I don't program with python, or anything at that level. I'm also finding it a bit IMPOSSIBLE to find a "programming for teachers" class that is actually a class that holds me accountable for completing tutorials. I need that..... I get distracted by other things. This Hummingbird class was geared toward making puppet type robots that I thought would be a good place for me to start.
When we got there we listened to a presentation of how this product came to fruition, which was rather interesting because it really is just getting on its feet. It began as a PhD thesis and then was piloted in the Pittsburgh area. We were one of their first classes to an audience outside of the pilot area.
The Hummingbird looks like a little mother-board, but is labeled quite well so I knew exactly what needed to be plugged in everywhere. It used the scratch program, which is free and online, and a program that we've been playing around with sense our Hour of Code week in December.
We ran through how to plug things in, and then opened the connection to scratch. It was pretty easy to see what ports we were using, as well as how to program to turn lights on, or make a servo move. In the morning time we spent working the program, and doing the basics. Once we got the hang of everything we were shown moving robot type puppets made from craft supplies that could move. Then we got the chance to make our own.
I'll update soon with my finished puppet. The card with those pictures is not at school.