Adult education and lifelong learning is changing a lot within the last years. Traditional universities and lecturers often do not accept the fact that time and technology has changed and that the next generation of scholars will learn differently than the generations before. One famous lecturer that recently talked about this change is Peter Norvig, one of the leading Artificial Intelligence experts worldwide.
The American computer scientist and Artificial Intelligence expert startet a virtual class along with his college Sebastian Thrun on artificial intelligence. His class was visited by 175 students from Stanford and more than 100,000 via an interactive webcast. Peter Norvig is talking about the fact that we are teaching knowledge in classes with the same methods today as we did hundreds years ago. So he argues that today we have the possibility to change the way we are teaching and that we could produce a lot more positive educational effects with our modern infrastructures.
In order to use the economics of the Internet, Udacity was founded to connect some of the greatest teachers to hundreds of thousands of students all over the world. Udacity emphasises to offer high quality Web delivered lectures all over the world, no matter if you are sitting in UK or in Africa. So far Udacity offers a good number of mostly technical courses by different quite well known teachers.
Udacity was founded by three roboticists who believed much of the educational value of their university classes could be offered online. A few weeks later, over 160,000 students in more than 190 countries enrolled in our first class, “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.”
image taken from udacity.com, 21st century university
Today, i received one of the first samples of the new Arduino Educational Starter Kits by RS and i have to admit that beside it’s cool design this educational starter kit is one of the most exiting collections of electronics i have ever tested. It comes in combination with an Arduino Projects Book that gives a detailed description of each Arduino experiment on more than 170 pages. For each project, Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino gives an online video instruction, in which he explains the details. The tutorials start from the very beginning, how to set up your Arduino development environment and explain in simple incremental steps how to build more complex examples, that include all kinds of sensors, motors and even a LCD display (all part of the Arduino Starter Kit).
Unboxing my new Arduino Starter Kit
The entire Arduino Starter kit really contains an impressive collection of electronic components and all parts you need to start immediately. It consists of following major parts:
Arduino Projects Book
Arduino UNO Board
LCD screen 16×2 characters
Lots of LEDs
H-bridge motor driver
Diodes and resistors
Here are some pictures i took during the unboxing of the Arduino Starter Kit.
LEGO’s revolutionary robotic and microcontroller education kit Lego Mindstorms NXT, allows kids to do their first experiments with moving robots by controlling 3 servos and a collection of useful sensors. The kit includes a light sensor, noise sensor, a mechanic bumper and best of all an ultrasonic distance sensor, that works like a charm. You can find my own design for a Lego NTX controlled telepresence robot here.
I recently found out that LEGO published a new education kit for renewable energy that sounds really interesting for teaching kids how wind turbines and solar panels work. The LEGO Renewable Energy Education kit includes a solar panel, turbine blades, a motor/generator, LED lights, an extension wire, a LEGO Energy Meter and full-colour building instructions for six real-life LEGO models to build.
As an additional feature owners of the LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit are able to add the components of the Renewable Energy kit as sort of sensors and data loggers. Connected to the Mindstorms NXT brick, the energy meter works as a sensor and can be used for both programming and data logging.