I'm Basel from Bellevue, WA (by Seattle), in MSFT/Amazon land.
I've recently started a LittleBits based after–school program (purely volunteer basis at my kids Elementary school.
This first 8–week course is a class of 17 students from KG upto 2nd grade.
(Crazy huh, how could I even think KG students could get into electronics before they can read/write properly? Read on
My journey into LittleBits started about 1.5 years ago, as I volunteered for two "Mini Maker Faires" @ Barnes and Noble.
Of all the different types of STEM focused learning toys that were laid out at the fair, the most "sticky" station was always LittleBits. I could feel the lightbulbs firing rapidly in the idea centers of their brains, as they would quickly iterate from one circuit to the next. It was like magic
After that I ordered the Gizmos and Gadgets kit (1st edition) and had a blast with my kids (then aged 6 and 4). The wireless circuits were a hit for us (I prefer the simplicity of this over the BLE, no phone/app needed).
The second year of the faire, I actively seeked out parents passing by with younger tots to let even their 3–5 yr olds take a stab at LittleBits. Oh it was a joy to see kids who are barely tall enough to reach a table quickly figure out that you can keep snapping more green bits (but always connected to the blue) to get more and more lights on
After that I got in touch with an after school educator who was moving away from teaching hardware (to software), and convinced our principal to obtain 20 sets of Starter + Extended kits for a new "Maker" program.
Fast forward to yesterday, we had our first class. Interest was great, all the slots filled up within two hours! We will likely have to followup with another set of classes on the same material + an advanced class for the "first batch"!
The biggest pain point in the class was batteries running out (these are in storage for a year).
So right now I'm on a mission to solve the reliable power problem before next week!
I'm researching these options (posted in this thread too http://discuss.littlebits.cc/t/24754), any feedback would be appreciated!!
– 9V Rechargeables (NiMh or LiIon?)
– USB power (issue: pull from cable twists circuit away... how to fasten it down to allow kids to keep building easily.. like the way the 9V cable bend allows? hmm...)
Thank you LittleBits for coming up with such a revolutionary learning tool for kids!