This Monday I am starting the Arduino with my two advanced kids. They have been using Scratch and the Kinect to write some simple games. We could write some more but I think they had exhausted the concepts. I am also not too crazy about Scratch when things get complex. So in my idiocy I will switch to something I know nothing about, has the added complexity of building electronic devices, has no lesson plans and involves non-free hardware on a $0 budget. I think it will be fun. I bought the book “Arduino and Kinect Projects” by Melgar and Diez to have a target to shoot for. It is important to have goals. This is all part of that bigger goal of having a little robot rolling down the halls wirelessly controlled by a Kinect. One step at a time. The two kids taking the advanced programming class are really sharp but if I do not give them something challenging they have a tendency to wander focus-wise. This is one of those classes I have to abandon regularly in order to do my second job as the school’s computer fix-it guy. So I need something to keep these two busy while I am away and yet have something they will learn from and have fun with. They are also the types that can explain to me what they learned so I can learn also. Being the tech dude ensures I am never ahead of my students when I decide to go off on a tangent like this. With the right students I can give them the tools, a direction and have them teach me.
I had originally intended to use VB or C# to interpret the Kinect data to feed the Arduino but after digging around the internet there were simply too many holes in the explanations that I could not fill this semester. Most of the stuff posted on the internet for this kind of stuff is written by people who really know their stuff and is written for other people who know their stuff. It is not written for high school teachers who do not know much stuff and do not have a lot of time to experiment with stuff. (I am losing my focus; there is leftover stuffing in fridge calling my name.)