This December, NewTechKids added Arduino as a new teaching tool during our ‘Discover Computer Science’ bootcamp for 10-12 year olds.

Kids received multiple lessons as an introduction to Arduino. With its open source platform and active community of developers, Arduino is a great teaching tool. Kids received a basic introduction to programming in JavaScript but that’s not the main reason we are teaching Arduino.

Arduino offers another learning environment where kids can identify and creatively apply the fundamental computer science concepts we’ve taught earlier in the bootcamp through pen and paper exercises, games and LEGO Mindstorms. These concepts, found in all technology and which never change, include loops, if-else statements, variables and sequences. Also, programming with Arduino supports our pedagogy which states that primary school students learn computer science concepts effectively when using tangible objects.

Our intention is to teach kids to identify how and where they can apply these concepts, in current programming languages and prepare them to use these concepts in programming languages of the future which haven’t even been developed.

Next, we’ll be exploring the Micro:bit as a teaching tool. According to the BBC, “the Micro:bit is a pocket-sized codeable computer with motion detection, a built-in compass and Bluetooth technology….” Via the BBC, the Micro:bit was given to every 11 year old student in the UK as a means to engage them with computer science.