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Winning work at Intel Maker Teaching Contest

Smart surveillance of computer facilities room:

Schoolchildren are also able to play with internet of things production

Zeng Junfu, a teacher at the New Taipei Municipal JiSui Elementary School, is successful in his promotion of a Young Maker Studio in New Taipei City by working a group of like-minded peers. They get together whenever they can for the exchange and sharing of maker subjects.  An issue often discussed among them was that students always scratched their heads about their project directions, not to mention hands-on production, although they had already learnt how to assemble automatic guided vehicles and could write computer programs. Therefore, through a maker association at his school, Zeng guided students to actively discover pertinent issues and resolve such issues by autonomous learning and DIY, providing a brand-new perspective of maker education.


d4_photo-1Didactic unit: Smart surveillance of computer facilities

room: Schoolchildren are also able to play with internet of things production

Discipline: Information science, natural science, and mathematics

Suitable grade: Fifth and sixth grades

Developers: Zeng Junfu, teacher at New Taipei  Municipal JiSui Elementary School

Didactic unit summary:

Designed for a maker association, this didactic unit helps stimulate students’ maker spirit with the cases of innovation provided by teachers. After the research subject was confirmed this time, the teacher only taught basic circuits knowledge and basic programming to students, leaving all the experiments to students for them to independently learn experiment implementation from online curriculum. The teacher only provided guidance and assistance when necessary.  The didactic unit implemented this time helped students learn how to transmit humidity and temperature data to an internet of things platform for surveillance. In the future, computer facilities room temperatures can be managed with an infrared transmitter module control in conjunction with a flame sensor as well as independently developed app to enable a smart computer facilities room surveillance system.

Design philosophy

The didactic unit derived from students’ learning from innovative cases and their emulation attempt to try to improve or resolve certain issues in daily life they observe by using the tools that they make themselves. After they took the initiative to express their interest in computer facilities room management, they were guided step by step to familiarize themselves with smart computer facilities room-related issues and necessary tools. They were provided with the knowledge and skills required for resolving such issues before they got their hands on the computer facilities room.

In this project-based learning and student-centered didactic unit, teachers guide students to actively discover issues in daily life, propose resolutions with maker elements factored in, and transform what they have learnt and their ideas into feasibilities. In addition to facilitation of learning of relevant skills, the process helps strengthen autonomous learning, cooperation among peers, communication and coordination, and even some soft strengths such as innovative thinking that can hardly be developed by curriculum in general.

Words from the developer

Because students tend not to know what they want to do, teachers may first introduce some cases of innovation to them to stimulate their thinking to discover relevant issues in daily life and analyze such issues. The prototype design and design realization that follow may require a relatively longer time.

Because this didactic unit was implemented in a student association this time, the schedule of implementation was relatively flexible. Moreover, because students once used Arduino for programming and already had some knowledge about circuits, their learning experience transfer was rapid enough for them to learn to how use Galileo Development Board within a short time.  Since the experimental didactic unit was implemented, the unit’s relevance to daily life has strengthened students’ learning motives significantly to enable a basic understanding of the internet of things as well as effective data observation through the web.

Because this didactic unit is a more project-oriented case similar to real world development and even business startup, what students think and/or the directions of their development may sometimes be inconsistent with what teachers expect. Therefore, ongoing modification or fine-tuning throughout development is likely, and the didactic process must be flexible enough to encourage different ideas and enable different possibilities.

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