The Additive Power of BSE
Robin and I have been very busy preparing for BSE 2012 in both NYC and Houston. It was when we began to plan programming for next summer that I realized the successes of our 2011 students only begin to scratch the surface of what BSE can teach. The effect of a student’s first 6 weeks is remarkable: they learn how their project works, how to identify the best approach, and how to take a project beyond paper/models and into the real world. They gain the vocabulary, troubleshooting skills, and the basic understanding to allow them to begin seeing the world as an engineer. They can read a project description and understand what the separate components require (e.g. firmware, electronics, mechanical design).
With this knowledge in their back pocket, we can then expand the lessons that a second year student will be able to learn. Where a student already learned how to create a schematic in EAGLE, he or she can now move on to creating a custom PCB and have it made by a boardhouse. A student that learned how to create mechanical drawings last year can now be asked to incorporate standard dimensioning practices that can be understood by any machine shop for quoting of a large job. We will also have returning students do more planning to sharpen their management skills – budgeting, scheduling, and part ordering is something that they can understand thanks to the project they have already completed. There are so many more possibilities!
Now that we are planning for students returning for a second year, I cannot wait to see what we will have students do when they come back for their third year! Maybe the complete development of a kit product ready for production, similar to those offered by Adafruit or MightyOhm?