Tag Archives: Educational

Hardware: Design Your Next Project With Fritzing

As an electrical engineer, I have used many freeware, shareware, and very expensive paid software packages for circuit design.

The best I have ever found, for any price, is Fritzing

You’ll find it in your Package Manager, just do a search for it, and then do the install. It will install the main program, plus the data files.

Package Manager installing Fritzing

Package Manager installing Fritzing

The beauty of this software, is that it’s not just software, there is also an entire community on their web site *(above link) where you can learn not only how to use the software, but also how to get started designing electronics projects yourself.

Using the software, you can drag and drop components directly on to a breadboard, hook them up with wires, and then click over to the schematic tab or the circuit board tab so you can even etch your own circuit board for your project.

Fritzing breadboard, with some random parts stuck to it.

Fritzing breadboard, with some random parts stuck to it.

What I really like is that not only do they include basic components like resistors, capacitors, inductors etc., it also includes entire modules for systems like the Raspberry Pi,  Arduino, and many of the great kit boards from Sparkfun

You can spend hours and hours on their web site, and if you’re new to electronics, I’d recommend you start Right Here

Fritzing Web Site

Fritzing Web Site

So turn on the Maker inside of you, and start learning, designing, and playing with your new creations!

 

 

Educational Software: Learn Code With Xcwcp

There is a skill that amateur radio operators take for granted, that can be very handy for anyone. That skill is a basic knowledge of the Morse Code!

The development of Morse Code is an interesting read, and you can learn more about the history of it HERE

While you may think it silly, knowing Morse, could actually save your life! There have been regular cases of coma patients, close to being unplugged, who have communicated with Morse and were eventually saved. My family has been told over and over, if I can move anything, I’ll be sending Morse, so don’t unplug me!

Trapped in an overturned car? Buried in the rubble after a hurricane or tornado? Injury may prevent you from crying out, but even just tapping out and SOS *(dit dit dit – dah dah dah – dit dit dit)  might save your life.

To that end, there is a great Linux program called Xcwcp that’s available in your Package Manager.

XCWCP Morse Code Tutor

XCWCP Morse Code Tutor

After you install the software, it might not create a menu shortcut, but you can do this yourself by adding it to your main Linux menu. Or, you can simply open a terminal and type xcwcp and it will launch.

When I am teaching Morse Code to groups for amateur radio uses, I train at 15 words per minute. For those just wishing to learn the code for emergency purposes, set the tutor at 5 words per minute, and start learning the alphabet! Those of us who use Morse Code daily,  no longer hear each letter, but instead decipher entire words at a time. This lets us use Morse at much higher speeds. 30 to 40 words per minute are what I usually use when on the radio.

Watch the  fun youtube clip below, a race between Morse Code and text messaging, then go starting learning your code!


Indiana University classmates have a race in sending a text message and sending a Morse code message. PaulKennyReports

 

 

 

 

Educational: For The Little Ones

Have a youngster or two in the house, or coming to visit? A wonderful, educational software package to keep them busy can be found in your Software Manager. It’s called Gcompris.

Once installed, Gcompris has a nice collection of educational memory games, as well as just plain fun games to play!

Learning the Keyboard

Learning the Keyboard

Many of the activities involved learning how to use a keyboard and mouse. Essential sills that little ones need to learn. Later, the software can take kids through reading, understanding the difference between capital and lower case letters, basic maths and many other early learning skills.

Later, there are several fun games to play, like chess, and connect 4.

Connect 4

Connect 4

A world of warning though, when launched, the software jumps right to full screen mode, with lots of loud music. You’ll want to set the window size and music volume ahead of time, to your liking.