By: Zach Espinosa
At Rogers New Technology High School, learners discover programming through the use of Arduino boards. Arduino is an Italian-made open source micro-controller, which means the product’s design is open to the public and can be copied. Arduino boards are usually used in prototyping, where a computer chip and a circuit board would replace it. “It’s very fun to mess with circuits and programs. The only aspect I don’t really like is the plugging in the wires,” said RNTHS Junior, Josh Coonfield, when asked about his opinion of the Arduino projects being done in C++. “I have small fingers, and it’s not really easy.” The wires used in the Arduino projects are known as jumper or breadboard wires. A breadboard, a kind of solderless circuit board for prototyping, uses miniature binder clips to simulate different wires being soldered together. This makes it much easier to take apart for the next class. Contrary to Coonfield’s point of view, a miss Elizabeth Daniel prefers the circuitry and wiring over the programming. “I like the circuitry part of [the Arduino projects], I think that’s really fun and entertaining,” Daniels explains, “the part I don’t like is the programming. I am not a programmer by any means.” The programming language of the Arduino is, of course, the Arduino language. This programming language, a variation of C++, hence it being taught in a C++ class, is very tedious, as it requires each line to be ended by a semicolon, which tells the compiler, the built in program that changes the program typed into something the Arduino can do, that this command is over. This usage of the Arduino makes the idea of what programming does a little easier to digest, bringing it from the idea of coding a supercomputer, back down to blinking a simple LED.