With a summer nearly over and a new semester at a new school in sight, some reflection on the academic year past is in order. It was my 20th semester teaching.
So very little programming but a brand new challenge of learning electronics and learning how to teach it seemed in order. It was a welcome departure from over two years of rearranging deck chairs, bailing out when it became oppressively clear where things were heading.
I assumed that attempting to learn or relearn a complex and difficult topic would clarify the difficulties students faced in the semesters ahead. Or so the idea went. The catch is that I'd already done some work in the field in the 90s, so it seemed impossible to pretend to start with s clean slate. But there are plenty of potential problems and errors in the field to level the field a bit, so not such a head start after all.
The initial goals were something like a weather sensor, quadcopter, wheeled robot, something. But the theory was more interesting than following some kit instructions. The problems with educational "learning kits" struck me as too many steps, too many chances of errors, and learning outcomes that were very vague. Wiring from a list of connections isn't very educational. But it has the saving grace of being interactive, and sometimes relatable. Kits generally suck at teaching fundamentals.
After a bit digging through electronics documentation and accumulating piles of integrated circuits, I think I could work through basic arithmetic with integers implemented in logic chips. Add, subtract, multiply and divide. Almost all of that understanding is finally finding the right example circuits and articles to extract and reassemble.
But there's still some time left this summer.