A Conversation with James Floyd Kelly about Arduino Adventures, the book he wrote recently with partner Harold Timmis-
Scroll down the page for a review of the book.
Arduino Adventures website:
Arduino Adventures can be purchased at:
The bundle of parts needed to construct the gizmos and robot outlined in the book can be purchased at:
Arduino Robots on YouTube:
Links for Harold Timmis
Harold’s personal website:
Publisher’s pages for Harold:
James Floyd Kelly is a full time technology writer who works from his home office. He was approached by a publisher to write a book to teach kids how to build and program LEGO robots anbd LEGO Mindstorms NXT: The Mayan Adventure (2006), was the result. Since then, he’s written (or contributed to) 7 additional books on LEGO robotics. He’s also written books that teach readers how to build their own 3D printers, teach kids to program, and other topics. Additionally, he writes for a small number of blogs and websites.
Links for James Floyd Kelly
Publisher’s pages for James
The NXT Step blog (James is a former Editor in Chief): http://thenxtstep.blogspot.com/
GeekDad blog: http://www.wired.com/geekdad
Arduino Adventures: Escape from Gemini Station by James Floyd Kelly and Harold Timmis is a new book that promises to sweep students up in a flurry of fun reading and solid learning about electronics, programming, and the creation of gadgets that run the gamut from simple keypads to full-blown robots. By the time they’ve finished with it, the book will have given them a firm understanding of the Arduino, the popular and practical, low-cost mircrocontroller used by students, hobbyists, and professionals alike as the programmable “brain” that directs the robots they design and build. In all likelihood, too, their confidence, curiosity, and desire to learn more will have been strongly piqued, as well.
What struck me most strongly about this book though, is the action-packed fiction story at its core that sets the context for all the learning and that makes it such a good read. It’s a story that young readers will easily relate to and thoroughly enjoy. In short, two curious and adventurous youngsters break away from their class on a school field trip in the future to a decommissioned space station that has been repurposed as a technology museum. Striking off on their own without permission, they find themselves in one jam after another, each of which requires that they create an electronic gizmo to extricate themselves from trouble. These story chapters are interspersed with others that give electronics background knowledge, information on programming, and directions to build the “gizmos” required. The intention is for readers to actually construct, test, and run these, building their knowledge and confidence as they progress through the book. The authors informed me that the components needed are low in cost, easy to locate, and should be within the grasp of the average reader.
Educators interested in enriching STEM education programs with highly engaging, meaningful, hands-on learning experiences should find this book of interest and appropriate for use with middle school, high school, and high functioning upper-elementary students. The authors advise that the website they’ve set up to support the book will feature extras that teachers should find useful.
(Former) Director of Instructional Technology/New York City Board of Education and author of Getting Started with LEGO Robotics