BOULDER, Colo., April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boulder-based SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, formally launched its new education initiative today. Coupled with the launch of (http://Learn.SparkFun.com), the program and online education portal is devoted to bringing the world of embedded electronics technology into classrooms and promoting the concept of play and tinkering. The online portal forms the cornerstone behind the company's recently formed Department of Education, headed by Lindsay Levkoff, Ph.D. SparkFun has been working with schools and educators during this past year to help enable electronics education as part of the modern classroom.
"We are excited to have a new platform for continuing our mission to lower the age and technical barriers of entry into this exciting world of technology and electronics," said Levkoff. "Our hope is that the open source model SparkFun embraces as a company will improve the overall affordability and accessibility of technology and will greatly enhance a student's classroom experience while learning about the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). We want to support a community that is dedicated to sharing knowledge and reigniting the passion for learning, playing and creating."
SparkFun, along with the entire maker community, thrives by sharing ingenuity and developing a more approachable environment for everyone, regardless of their technical experience level or age. The programs at SparkFun are designed to explore students' creativity as well as the technical aspects inherent in electronics technology, creating a positive STEAM experience and encouraging future exploration. SparkFun also helps train educators on how to teach and implement these technologies in the classroom. By providing free curriculum and support through various classes and workshops, educators can have the tools and skills they need to make the classroom experience a memorable one.
"We are thrilled to partner with SparkFun and introduce electronics education into the classroom," said Brian Huang, physics teacher at Overland High School. "Earlier this year, SparkFun and our school ran a Saturday workshop to teach basic soldering and introduce the Arduino microcontroller technology. Students were enthusiastic about their successes and several were amazed at how easy soldering and programming actually was."
In addition to hosting workshops at various locations across the country, the Education Department will continue to expand the curriculum of classes offered on-site at SparkFun's headquarters in Boulder, Colo. For a list of upcoming classes, please visit: (http://www.sparkfun.com/categories/154). The company also is developing a way for people who want to take its classes, but who aren't able to travel to Boulder, to view them online. The department will continue to work with leaders in the field to expand its content and curriculum to suit education programs nationwide. All educators wishing to purchase SparkFun kits for their classroom can sign up for an Educator Account online and receive a 20 percent discount on future SparkFun orders.
"By connecting people to a community for support, we can help them embrace new ways of learning and enhance the STEAM education experience for students and teachers alike," continued Levkoff. "SparkFun is devoted to making this initiative possible because we believe in the importance of STEAM as a basic underlying education initiative for our world's future."
Along with the new website, SparkFun is now offering two new kits that are specifically tailored for developing new skills. Mr. Roboto (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10726) is an Arduino-compatible development board designed to be used as a teaching tool for Arduino programming. Weevil Eye is a DIY night-light and e-textiles kit that responds to how dark the room is - a very fun kit for kids to learn more about electronics. For more information about SparkFun's new Department of Education, please contact [email protected] or visit the company's new online education portal at (http://Learn.SparkFun.com).About SparkFun Electronics
SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 140 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.
Find SparkFun on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/SparkFun), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/SparkFun), Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/SparkFun), YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/SparkFun), Vimeo (http://www.vimeo.com/SparkFun), and Google+ (https://plus.google.com/106084846822083498483/posts).
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SOURCE SparkFun Electronics