Teaching .NET Gadgeteering

I dig the idea of how "teachable" .NET Gadgeteer development can be. They let the students and teachers focus on bigger picture of creation and not the minutiae (which is important, but...).

So when I saw this, while there's no Solutions or direct code to download, I still thought this a great Hardware Friday post...

.NET Gadgeteer School Lesson Plans

.NET Gadgeteer can be used in schools to help students make gadgets and learn C# programming along the way. These lesson plans give teachers all the material you will need to run 8 1-hour sessions using .NET Gadgeteer. You will also need the hardware, details of which are given at http://netmf.com/gadgeteer.

The material consists of 8 sessions:

  • Session 1: A basic digital camera
  • Session 2: Extending the camera (part 1)
  • Session 3: Extending the camera (part 2)
  • Session 4: Creating a stop watch
  • Session 5: Extending the stop watch
  • Session 6: Create a simple game (part 1)
  • Session 7: Create a simple game (part 2)
  • Session 8: Create a simple game (part 3)

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Session 1: A basic digital camera

Aim of session

The aim of the first session is to

- put together the hardware components needed to make a basic digital camera

- write the code needed to create a basic digital camera

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, pupils will be able to:

- Identify input, output and storage devices on everyday devices

- Identify and put together the hardware components for a digital camera

- Understand that in C# the execution of programming code is triggered by events

- Be able to write simple lines of code to enable the camera to work.

Starter task: input, output and storage devices (10 minutes)

Show students some pictures of devices such as phones, cameras, music players etc ask them to brainstorm what input, output and storage devices these everyday devices might use.

Main session

The structure of the session is as follows

1. Identify hardware components

2. Assemble digital camera

3. Use Gadgeteer Designer to drag and drop components on screen

4. Write the programming code for the camera

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Session 2: Extending the camera

Aim of session

The aim of this session is to

- Extend the digital camera to use the LED to indicate when the camera can take a picture

- Further extend the digital camera to save pictures to an SD Card.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, pupils will be able to:

- Be able to add new modules to the digital camera

- Be able to explore and select appropriate methods for the multi-coloured LED and SD Card.

- Be able to write to the SD Card

- Be able to write code to create a new field (data attribute) and increment it in C#

- Be able to concatenate a string, including converting an unsigned integer to a string.

Starter task: functions of a digital camera

Look at a “proper” digital camera and brainstorm what its functions are. Students could discuss in groups what else their Gadgeteer camera could do, considering the modules available in the kit.

Main session

The structure of the session is as follows

1. Add an LED to the hardware and to the Designer software

2. Implement the functionality to have the LED turn green when the program starts then momentarily turn red when the camera is busy.

3. Add an SD Card to the hardware and to the Designer Software

4. Implement the functionality to save the pictures to an SD Card

5. Implement the functionality to save pictures with unique names

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Through to session 8...

Session 8: Creating a simple game controlled by a joystick (final part)

Aim of session

The aim of this session is to

- Complete the joystick ball-in-a-box game, consolidating previous skills

- Encourage students to explore how they could implement their own ideas for a gadget

Learning outcomes

- Students should be consolidate everything they have learned in the previous sessions

Session Plan

Starter

Ask students to recap what they have learned so far. For example, you could ask if they can tell you:

- How to put a new component on to the mainboard and replicate it in the designer

- How to write an if statement in C#

- How to add a new font to Gadgeteer

- How the timer works

- How to declare a whole number

- How to add one to a whole number

Main session

The activities which the students can do to finish the game are:

1. Create a new timer to count down from 60 to 0 and display on the screen

2. Start the game by touching the screen

3. Display a Game Over message with the final score when the time is up!

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If you're looking to learn or teach hardware/software development this looks like a great resource that's very approachable ...

Here’s a few more links you might find interesting:

  1. Gadgeteer 
  2. For Educators
  3. Getting Started
  4. Featured Projects

 

Page image courtesy of Teaching Programming with Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer – A Case Study

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