Material for week 3:
And by halfway there, I mean halfway done with REVOBOTS! So far, we have built a $5 arduino clone, learned about several kinds of sensors, and finally, this week I (properly) showed them how to write code that runs on the clone. I think it went well. This class alleviated a lot of the previous frustrations people were having with the device as far as having hardware but not knowing how to use it. By the end of class several people had actually managed to build a breakbeam sensor, which I thought was awesome.
On the other hand, the actual devices that the students built are starting to show some wear and tear; often people have some trouble connecting them to their computer. Often, the problem is that the USB cable had come unstuck from the header pins and needs to be resoldered, or the ground and power wires are touching (Which shuts off the USB port), or the usb cable came out of the breadboard and was plugged in backwards (D- and D+ swapped). I think it might be worth my time in the future to cad up a board for these bootloaded atmega328s so that they are less likely to fall apart, or be put together wrong.
Despite the frustrations and the general roughness of the first pass at teaching revobots, I think it is worthwhile for both me and the students. Hopefully I will teach this again soon, but better.