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Electronics Lab for Children in South Africa

A lab that teaches children STEM concepts and programming, using electronics & MCUs (Raspberry Pi/Arduino), based in South Africa.

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For children between the ages of 6-16
who are curious about or interested in electronics but don't have the facilities, equipment, components and/or know-how of building electronic,
the Electronics Lab
is an educational not-for-profile centre
that offers children the opportunity to learn STEM concepts and programming through building electronics.
Unlike traditional computer labs and the Weekend Robotics club
our project uses electronics, micro-computers (like the Raspberry Pi) and micro-controllers (like the Arduino) to teach STEM concepts.

As a father, it's my observation that there isn't a lab/incubator/hub-like facility, that offer electronics-based STEM programs/workshops for children in Cape Town, South Africa.

I should declare that I know nothing about starting such a program, but I am encouraged by the community that I am surrounded by.

As I make progress with this project, I aim to log my experiences so it may aid other that would like to setup their own labs. I'd also like to invite you to call me out if I fail to make timely updates and progress.

  • MVP

    Mitchell Wong Ho07/08/2015 at 06:29 0 comments

    So, I got around to build a MVP (minimum viable product) prototype board made from scrap chipboard and nails. Add to that some croc-clip cable, battery, buzzer and wire and you've got yourself a Wire-Loop kit.

  • Testing the hypothesis...

    Mitchell Wong Ho05/26/2015 at 20:37 0 comments

    In true Lean startup tradition, my first step is to validate my idea: I want to test that there is a need/market for an electronics lab for children. The way I go about this is to build a launch webpage that has the details about the lab and a signup page. I send this link around my social circles and see how many signups and site visits I can get. If I can gather enough signups, the this will validate my hypothesis that there exists a market need/interest.

    On a separate channel, I've managed to get the attention of a member of the Computer Society with in the IEEE of South Africa, as well as a friend that has experience running non-profit operation. I have meets setup with both.

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Mitchell Wong Ho wrote 06/10/2015 at 01:36 point

Hi John,
Apologies for the late reply.
I'm currently gathering "course" material together.  My first test is to "test" on my 6yo son and one of his friends on a play-date.

Any advice or ideas would be appreciated.

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johnowhitaker wrote 07/08/2015 at 08:23 point

Hi, this slipped past my feed somehow :P Wire loops are always fun, and that was a good one to start with. Another one that gets people really engaged is some sort of a makey-makey type touch board. They can be made cheaply (http://shrimping.it - the shrimpkey is a cheap option to build, and I made one a while ago https://hackaday.io/project/1500-kwese-musical-instrument) and are super fun, especially when you hook up exotic things as inputs (cheese, play-dough, plants, the dog :). Easy enough for a child to build is something like the drawido - a 555 timer tied to a pencil that lets you play different sounds as you draw. (https://learn.adafruit.com/drawdio is a more advanced version that runs off one AA). 

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Mitchell Wong Ho wrote 07/08/2015 at 08:26 point

Thanks, Johno.  I'll look in to those.  I like the idea of the drawido.

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johnowhitaker wrote 06/05/2015 at 14:45 point

A nice idea! I'm an EE student at UCT, I'm sure there'd be some interest in helping out at an event or two. How is the early market testing going?

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