EDITOR'S NOTE: This letter is from James (Benny) Laird, part of the Systems Engineering Faculty at Manor Lakes P-12 College near Melbourne, Australia. We were intrigued and encouraged by their use of DIYODE in their classrooms, and have published James’ description of how it’s being used verbatim. DIYODE is designed to be one of the key STEM resources around, allowing classrooms to find reliable and beneficial content, covering a range of topics.
Is your school using DIYODE as a resource? We’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story!
Manor Lakes P-12 College
Manor Lakes P-12 College is situated near Werribee to the west of Melbourne. It is a fast growing area with excellent access to further education when students move on with their careers. Many students are taking up university courses such as Mechatronics degrees following their participation in our technology subjects.
DIYODE has been a great up to date resource for the classroom that has proven to be invaluable. Every edition provides something new and entirely relevant for students interested in engineering careers or just for the enjoyment of constructing electronic devices. It showcases what others have done and is inspiring our students to go further with their interests. The varied projects and articles cover a wide range of interests, which can be explored further when a student shows interest in a particular area.
We are running VCE Systems Engineering classes, as well as technology classes for year 7-10 year levels. Our students are able to make use of the articles and projects in order to meet our outcomes as well as explore their interests.
We are running a Raspberry Pi powered PiNet lab which allows us to also program Arduino projects, as well as access DIYODE articles online. This gets past the issue of students not having their own devices to program projects. Having a dedicated server also allows for student management of their work and the ability to share files provided by DIYODE. Time is saved by downloading code and the programming articles allow students to work at their own pace.
The range of well written educational articles are perfect for the students to enhance their classroom material and the environmental articles are well used as part of the systems curriculum. The educational articles remind me of my own education and classes I have taught in the past, for example, the resistor cube of 1K resistors has been part of my own teaching for years. It covers so many of the basic concepts in one lesson.
Students have been constructing and programming the various SAM versions and developing their understanding of coding from the excellent notes provided. Modifications have further allowed the students to develop their skills. Lessons are put together using material from articles saving preparation time for the teacher. While students can follow the construction as per the article, many are able to personalise their project and modify the code in order to enhance their learning. The 3D files provided save time and can also be modified to suit the available components.
The logic probe kit has been very useful in circuit understanding, soldering skills and 3D printing use. The students are able to make use of their probes to conduct practical logic tasks rather than just learning through theory.
Our Year 7 classes are embarking on producing a small army of Otto’s to wander the classroom, but we are not using Arduino blocks preferring to get them started with Arduino IDE. An extension to the WEMOS version may be used for a future project depending on resources.
BENEFITS OF DIYODE TO OUR CLASSES
DIYODE provides a great source of information written in easy to understand terms about new technology, environmental issues, educational articles suitable for all levels of students. I use the Kid’s Basics for junior classes and for our STEM students and Moonshots for advanced students. All ages and levels are catered for. The choice of having printed and online access to DIYODE gives more flexibility in class as students can work at their own pace freeing the teacher to cover other areas or to explain any issues from articles etc.
Issue 15 saved me a lot of time by covering breadboards fully. It was used for a complete lesson with the article used as a handout for students without a device, others were given the online address. This has been the case with many of the classroom articles.
Reviews of equipment are great and we can use the reviews when purchasing new equipment. Even the advertisements provide great references for the students for ideas and making them aware of how to order parts for their projects. An introduction to Core Electronics has saved us money and provided us with hard to get parts. (The owner is ex RAAF as I am, so we have had excellent training.)
Hints for doing things easier and better come in handy for example, “Exploring 3D” in issue 15, it provided a great resource to help our students with designing and producing 3D items.
Students also love the competitions and are encouraged to enter. Reviews of new technology and modules allow students to use up to date parts in their projects and has led to more interesting and challenging School Assessed Task projects. The easy to understand descriptions of existing and emerging technologies is also well suited to our curriculum.
Overall the contribution of DIYODE has had a major impact on classes in technology at Manor Lakes and we look forward to each new issue. Thanks to the team at DIYODE for providing such a valuable resource for our next generation.