Arduino – an inexhaustible source of imagination

Publication Date March 23 2020

A small microcontroller, easily to be used not only by beginners, is making a revolution throughout the world.It is about Arduino, an open-source software based electronic platform which inspired thousands of people in the world to make things the most interesting they can think of – starting from toys to complex scientific equipment, thus serving as a controlling and commanding equipment. Through After School Support for Teens – ASSET Program, Arduino is being used by students of Program partner gymnasia through extra-curricular activities.

Open-source revolution

When one starts understanding how Arduino works and what it is capable of creating, he/she can create unlimited real projects. The same is happening in Kosovo, through the ASSET Program, which is funded by USAID. Program team together with the experts of partner organizations Free Libre Open-Source Software (FLOSSK) organize trainings for students of grades X, XI, XII in 16 partner gymnasia of ASSET Program.

A student working in Arduino, during the training

But why Arduino based lessons are excellent in school activities?

1. They are an excellent starting point for the development of critical skills: Arduino is an excellent experience to start experimenting with coding and programming. It is an electronic system where students advance their counting skills and learn different languages of programming.

2. They are efficient: Unlike other experiments, experience with Arduino you can create and do tens of experiments with no additional cost. This means that the initial charge can be high, but the equipment can be used for long and in many forms. This is very appealing to students because they can experiment for a long-term period

3.They offer transforming learning experiences: Since most teachers do not have sufficient knowledge in coding, Arduino training develops creative skills by experimenting on your own.

Experience with Arduino

His good experience with the training was also shared by a student of Hajdar Dushi Gymnasium - Gjakova, Olti Këspuska. His interest in the field of programming led him to continuously attend sessions and competitions in Arduino.

“Last week I attended training on basic knowledge of Arduino organized by ASSET. Although 4 hours might seem a lot, the training was very attractive all the time and I did not feel bored. In the first part there was information that I had learned one year ago, but the most important thing is that in addition to learning the basic knowledge, we also put it into practice – said Olti.

During a conversation with Besfort Guri from the Non-Governmental Organization FLOSSK, which through the Program provides training on Arduino/Electronics, we understood that students have a tremendous interest in it. He also pointed out that Arduino was discovered in 2007, but in Kosovo it has been used only after 2011. According to him, Arduino started being integrated in the education system of Kosovo in 2014-15 after the Ministry of Economic Development supported schools of the country with the provision of few Arduino starter kit products.

ASSET Program supplied all 16 partner gymnasia with various technological equipment, including a package with Arduino and various electronic components so that students and teachers can make different creative ideas happen in school environment.

"Students are extremely interested in trainings on Arduino, because they see themselves involved in the industry of programming and they are very well connected with each other, thus accepting this training very positivity" - he says.

"During the pandemic, the training has been conducted online and Tinkercad is used as a simulator, but if these trainings were held physically the practical work would have been more effective. It would be another feeling if the work would be performed in physical presence "- continued Besforti, emphasizing the challenges of online training.

Hajdar Dushi Gymnasium students - Gjakova during their informative session on Arduino. This session was organized by Career Club after the training conducted by the program on Arduino

During the conversation with Olti, he told us about how the Tinkercad was used and what has been worked with Arduino.

"In the second part of the training, we managed to put in practice the knowledge learned, i.e. connecting a circuit for LED activation. This was made possible with the Tinkercad platform, following the trainer’s steps and challenges. Coding and connecting the LED to Arduino was a kind of game for the brain and raised a lot of interest in continuing the training. In the end, we created a traffic light"- said Olti passionately.

Besfort, who has been collaborating with ASSET for 2 years, highlights the most important cases of cooperation:

• Completion of sets in schools;

• Summer school;

• Trainings with students;

The trainer Besfort Guri together with students of Gjon Buzuku Gymnasium in Prizren

The training on Arduino is organized by After School Support for Teens - ASSET Program, in partnership with the organization Free Libre Open-Source Software (FLOSSK). We encourage all partner gymnasia students to attend it.

The After School Support for Teens Program is a USAID funded Program, implemented by the Kosova Education Center (KEC) in partnership with FHI360 and Crimson Capital Corp.