Arduino, Education, Ubidots

The Power of Educating-by-Making

The Maker Movement is a rapidly growing subculture of like-minded people who enjoy building projects around electronics, robotics and 3D printing. This tech-influenced DIY community is based on sharing knowledge and information with peers and pushing each other to learn and innovate.

Walt Disney once said:

“I would rather entertain people and hope they learned something, than educate them and hope they were entertained.

As a matter of fact, this community is motivated by the joy of seeing the outcome of their projects, supporting learning-by-doing and turning people, with or without a technical background, into makers instead of consumers.

The rapidly growing tech industry offers more and more opportunities for people to explore how to make their own stuff, complemented by better access to physical places like Hackerspaces, which are starting to appear all over the world for people to gather, share and work on their projects. According to Hackerspaces.org, as of today, there are 1,777 of such spaces around the world. (Here’s the list of Hackerspaces).

Educating by Making

The Maker Movement has inevitably permeated the education field because it has proven to be a great way for students to increase their interest in STEM subjects, challenging them with problem-solving situations. After “making” something specific, most students feel they solved things they didn’t know they were capable of, motivating them to do more impressive things every time. As a 16-year-old teen once told me after a Hackathon: “I just felt like a badass”, with a super-hero look on his face.

“Making” allows people to learn through experience and turns regular classrooms into active classrooms where “one will find engaged students, often working on multiple projects simultaneously, and teachers unafraid of relinquishing their authoritarian role. Collaboration between students is flexible and teachers experience a seamless metamorphosis between mentor, student, colleague, expert, and personal shopper, all in service of their learners.” (Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom)

“Makers” for a Better World

One of the reasons the “Maker” practice has become so powerful is because it gives people the opportunity to use technology to help the most vulnerable and improve their lives. For instance, this team in Africa created a project for measuring air pollution mixing different technologies like Arduino, a bunch of sensors and Ubidots:

Africa3

This project was done during a training of the Wireless Lab from ICTP Italy.

At Universidad San Buenaventura in Cali – Colombia, a teacher has adopted this learning method to push his students to create useful projects on their own. Professor Alejandro Pustowka gave his students a Beagle Board, an Arduino and a brief Ubidots introduction, to develop the final project for his class Embedded Operating Systems. After a few weeks, this what they came up with:

A people Counting System for Shopping Centers

System for Monitoring the Temperature in Cold Rooms

  • Created for an ice cream distributor company
  • Uses Beagle Board, Arduino and Java code
  • Strict control of the temperature is needed to preserve the quality of the products
  • Check out the project’s website

Opening and Closing the House Windows through Internet

  • Connecting Beagle Board to Arduino through Internet so the windows can be opened and closed
  • A sensor measures humidity levels to send alerts from Ubidots when it is about to rain
  • Check out the project’s website

Projects like these ones allow students to see the theory in action, create useful solutions not only for them, but for the whole community, and ultimately, make this knowledge available for others to reproduce or improve. This is the power of “Making” in Education.


Do you have more project ideas? Create a Ubidots account and make them happen!