I started using Arduino, an open source electronics platform in my one semester electronics course. Arduino incorporates a microcontroller (mini computer) and allows for a lot of really cool options. Last semester was the first semester I used Arduino with the whole class. It went fairly well.
All students were required to create a final project. I gave them the option of working with a partner with the caveat that when they presented their final project I would get to decided which of the two of them would have to answer my questions.
Their projects included not only the circuitry and programming, but students also had to physically build the device. This ended up being a really good project. Even if they chose to build upon a project they found on the net they had to tinker with it to make it do what they wanted it to do.
Once completed, students had to write up and present their projects on Google Sites. If you’re interested you can go to the class site to find descriptions, pictures and Arduino code. Below is a video created by a pair of my students who used an old remote controlled car as the chassis for an autonomous Arduino controlled robot.
Crossposted from FlosScience