Introduction to team collaboration in learning about a microcontroller
Key components and concepts: STEM, BYOD, microcontroller components, collaboration, creativity, problem solving, communication.
Explanation and purpose of activity: This is an initial activity for a new elective course that I volunteered to create and teach this semester (teaching a class not part of my job description as an Instructional Technology Specialist; in fact, is discouraged by the district central admin due to responsibilities). I call the class "STEM for All" since I specifically asked the counselors to enroll a diverse range of students (GT, Special Needs, students in alternative programs, etc.), students not in our state recognized campus STEM Academy program, a balance of ESL and non-ESL students, and it be gender balanced to encourage more girls into STEM interests. This STEM activity is two fold: 1) introduce the concept of team building and collaboration in taking ownership of the learning process, 2) rapidly have the students rapidly dive into microcontrollers as a key building block of future projects such as Mission to Mars, Transportation, Environment, Energy, Make the World a Better Place, etc. Having successfully leveraged as force multipliers my own learning disabilities (Aspergers, dyslexia, ADHD, dysgraphia, color blindness) I have discovered "jumping into the deep end of the pool" method empowers many students who are conditioned to being micromanaged in the learning process, which this activity does as well as gives the teacher much flexibility in integrating the activity. Sit back and enjoy because the kids totally get it!