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€91
pledged of €500pledged of €500 goal
7
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, October 31 2018 8:02 AM UTC +00:00
€91
pledged of €500pledged of €500 goal
7
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, October 31 2018 8:02 AM UTC +00:00

About

Background

I have been developing Virtual Breadboard since 1999. It's a fun way to learn about micro-controllers and basic electronics in a virtual sandbox.

The latest version of Virtual Breadboard is available in the Microsoft App Store and is strongly focused on modern App concepts like touch and visualization.

Like most digital natives these days, my 12 year old son and 11 year old daughter are fully immersed in the digital world of games, YouTube and the rest. As parents we are constantly trying to balance this with real world activities, sports, adventures, self learning.

This is one of the reasons I created TLC - Touch Logic Control. As a way to teach my own children something about programming in a way that's easy and visual enough to compete with their media rich environments yet powerful enough to be able to build practical projects.

Touch Logic Control Examples
Touch Logic Control Examples

Kids teach Kids

If you haven't noticed YouTube is full of kids teaching other kids stuff. Mostly it's how to play games but many other channels are quite crafty. My daughter is learning all sorts of recipes for 'slime'.. who say's that entirely bad? She learns to organize ingredients and co-ordinate their introduction to cook up something new. Very maker.

I think the bottom line is that kids are just better at knowing how to present to each other in a way they find interesting.

So this is why I am handing over the reigns of presenting the TLC tutorials to my kids. They are just way better at it than I am ! 

Teach the Teacher

So what i am planning here is a mini course on logic and programming that will be planned by me but presented by my kids. I think it has a much better chance of engaging the minds of kids to learn these valuable concepts than if I try to present it myself. Most of all I want it to be fun.

YouTube/Udemy Channel

The lessons will be recorded as short bite size videos and posted to either YouTube or Udemy (or both). We are still experimenting with the format and we will be asking for feedback to fine tune the content.

Here is another pilot lesson.

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    • English

This series will be the building blocks of logic and how they can be combined to build projects and solve puzzles. 

Concepts will include 

  • State Machines 
  • Logic AND, OR, XOR etc
  • Arithmetic operations, ADD, SUB, MUL, DIV etc
  • Comparison operations >, >=. <, <= etc
  • Function operations, conversions etc.
  • Loops
  • Variables
  • Asynchronous Execution
  • Events

The Power of Virtual

Normally to learn about electronics you need to have hardware kits and spend time building the hardware for each lesson before the learning even begins.

But with Virtual Breadboard we can keep the hardware virtual and use the micro:bit as an interactive tactile programming widget allowing us to better control and pace the lesson.

It could be argued that assembling things together is a valuable lesson itself, and I agree, but I think that's a lesson best left to a later stage and future courses will follow up with breaking projects out into the real world.

What will you need to follow the lessons?

To follow the course you will need:

  • Windows 10 Computer ( Ideally with touchscreen )
  • The Virtual Breadboard App ( Free mode supports TLC )
  • A micro:bit micro-controller. ( About $15 you can buy locally )
  • The micro:bit firmware ( this KickStarter! )
  • Internet Access ( the course will be a YouTube/Udemy channel )

Full instructions will be provided to backers.

The Reward

micro:bit App (firmware): 

The reward is the firmware that will run in the micro:bit to allow the IO, buttons, L.E.D's, accelerometer, compass, temperature sensor, bluetooth -  to be accessed from the Virtual Breadboard App.

The reward will come in the form a CODE that will be entered into Virtual Breadboard and the software will take care of the rest.

With this firmware you will be able to use the micro:bit as the tactile input and output device used throughout the lessons. 

Update 

Added a new technical article on TLC at hackster here

TLC technicals on Hackster
TLC technicals on Hackster

Risks and challenges

The Beta version of the firmware is already developed using mBed. Version 1 will be finalized when released to the backers and then it will be be continually updated as to match the needs of the coursework as we progress.

This is a software only reward so the risks are limited to alignment of expectation of what is to be received.

For example:
Backers may not understand they need to purchase a micro:bit separately
Backers may not understand the language in the course will be English with subtitles
Backers may not understand that only windows 10 computers are supported
Backers may not understand that an internet connection is needed to run the Virtual Breadboard software and watch the video lessons.

Hopefully other misunderstandings can be addressed in the FAQ

Comments on the micro:bit hardware

I thought long and hard about if I should support the micro:bit hardware as a reward. I don't manufacture the micro:bit and have no special reselling arrangement so I could offer no special pricing. Supplying hardware requires the extra degree of difficulty of shipping and import taxes. Fortunately the micro:bit has become universally available and so is best purchased locally. If you are not sure where to buy one please add to the FAQ's and we can accumulate recommended places to buy one in your country.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €15 or more About US$ 17

    TLC Firmware for micro:bit

    Firmware that will run in the micro:bit to allow the IO, buttons, L.E.D's, accelerometer, compass, temperature sensor, bluetooth - to be accessed from the Virtual Breadboard App while working with TLC to follow the course lessons.

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Funding period

- (14 days)