Posts Tagged ‘circuits’

So, I’ve been thinking about summer reading. I’ve also been thinking about my Arduino skills, or lack of Arduino skills.

Learning more and doing some significant practice has been on my to-do list for several years at this point. I keep trying to get back to it, but never really get anywhere. I admit I have never really gone all in. Every time I decide to give it another go, I get overwhelmed by how must there is to know and how much I don’t know. This is probably because I decide to look around the interwebs rather than just getting going. Then, I see all the advanced this and that, get confused by various system and components and run away. I’m not proud.

Time for another strategy. No more looking at all the complex things I could do in several years. Time to start small and just start. As luck would have it, my STEAM department chairperson gave each department member this for our “summer reading.”

There’s a lot of potential for me to be overwhelmed here. However, there is a small project I have in mind that would be a very reasonable start. The small, realistic plan is not my strong suit. I’m really going to try though. I know from working with students that sometimes a kit with a set project is a great way to start. This is not that kind of kit, but I think I can find some simple projects to try. I seriously will feel so proud if I can make some progress here. I took a three-session class at The Hacktory, but the class started too far along for me. I needed a step zero class that gave me some lingo and some basic circuitry review. Things just went too fast for me. My stepgrandmother who spoke many languages used to swear that the way to learn a language in school was to take first-year French, Spanish, whatever three times rather than moving on to the next year. I think that is where I am with Arduidos, at least that’s where I hope I am. I have tried an intro class, read an intro book, and now I have another opportunity. Maybe this will be my third time’s a charm.

My first project is a light and photograph idea that’s been sitting on my work shelf, waiting. I have photos of faces with good freckles. I poked holes in the images at the freckles and have a simple string of Chibitronics lights in the same pattern underneath the freckles. I plan to code the lights to blink the name of the person in morse code in response to sound or light and dark. I can write the blinking code. I started that already. It’s not hard, just tedious. Next step is setting up a test circuit that includes the sensor. That’s harder for me.

Monday is a new week.

So, I’ve been thinking about paper circuitry recently.

A colleague shared a post from Instructables called”Conductive Poetry”.

I adapted the idea to poetry with my circuit scribe. I wanted to be able to pull out words and change the poem–to play with the language. I started with Billy Collins’ poem Introduction to Poetry which I always read with my class. Personally, I find that it makes for a good starting poem, takes a not too serious attitude, and has some great imagery. Plus, it then gives me a reason to show some of the short films that were made of some other Billy Collins poems. Three videos are in his TED talk. Really great stuff in my opinion.

Back to my take on conductive poetry. First I wrote a number of lines, but that was too much for the current to get around. I settled on a line or so with interchangeable nouns. I made a little cover for the lights with images on them, just like the Instructables example. Here’s a prototype.

keep a poem light

This line is keep a poem in your pocket from the poem of the same name by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers. I changed it to keep a lightbulb in your toolbox. I have some other examples, but this gives you the idea.

I thought this would be a fun way to play with language. Physically moving the words in and out of the sentences and phrases appeals to me, and I think helps make poetry seem less like a rarified persuit and more like a building trade. This might not be completely accurate, but it is interesting to consider, plus is fits nicely with Billy Collins’ poem.

I have yet to do anything with this in class, but I’m planning. Since we will be working on some poetry when winter break is over, I’ve got time to let the idea roll around in my head. I think it’s got some potential. Having a few light colors for options and being able to draw different images for the words injects a little visual literacy into the situation without getting as involved as movie making. When you are the poet laureate you get movies made of your work. When you are a random English teacher and Ed Tech coach you make your own little circuits and feel pretty pleased with yourself.

Another reason this visual connection is at the front of my brain at the moment is that the 12/1/14 #EngChat was on the topic of visual literacy (archive here). I have some other plans for incorporating visual analysis as a bridge to literary analysis also, but no electronics there. All of these idea are really coming together nicely, yes?

Finally, I’ve been obsessed with Chibitronics, Hack Your Notebook, and related projects lately. I made this little notebook with a light up cover.

I really had no idea for this relates to poetry or English class, but maybe I will make this little notebook a place for great phrases and sentences that we find as we read poetry in class. Although I am often in favor of a digital storage space for collaborative collections, I think there is something to having a special place for special work or words. I am thinking this out as I type and wondering about having a shared, digital collection place to start off with and then using my little light up notebook as a final tangible “best of” collection.