Why do you need an Arduino Classroom?

The official Arduino website is located at: www.arduino.cc (yes that is .cc and not a typo). With that website and reasonable Google skills you can find everything you could possibly want to know about the Arduino – so why do you need the Arduino Classroom?

Well, if you’ve spent much time wading through the material available on the Internet you’ve seen that it is of varying quality and not well organized to promote stepwise learning. What you want is a logical progression for the presentation of information from the simple introductory information to the more advanced electronic and computing concepts.

This Internet based virtual textbook presents written materials for a sensible learning sequence and has supporting hands-on labs with tested examples using the Arduino and an affordable hardware projects kit. Having this structure helps you move quickly thorough what you need to know and provides you with a base of knowledge and skills that you can use to pursue more advanced projects that you find on the Internet.

We start assuming nothing on your part. This will help both those who really are novices and those who know a bit but can use the review. Our goal is to present three sequential textbooks for Arduino 101, 102 and 103. We have, as of 4/4/15 posted 11 of the 12 chapters for Arduiono 101 and are well on our way to creating the materials for 102 and 103.

Arduino 101 will teach you how to use a microcontroller (a tiny computer used to sense and control things). You'll get a good introduction to the fundamentals of electronics that you'll need for building projects. Arduino 102 will show you how to use Fritzing with the Arduino to take a concept from a breadboard prototype through a schematic design to a printed circuit board. Arduino 103 will bring it all together and show you how to build a robot and a data logger. When you finish you'll have a solid foundation for more advanced learning about computing and electronics. 

This Arduino Classroom is a work in progress. Some of the above information may change as we learn more about the needs of our students. As of 4/4/15 the first eleven chapters of Arduino 101 are posted. We expect all 12 chapters of Arduino 101 to be finished and posted by the middle of the year. Each chapter will be modified as feedback from readers dictates improvements.


What hardware will you need for this course?

For Arduino 101, you'll need an Arduino board. I recommend the Arduino UNO R3 and you can get one from www.sparkfun.com or www.adafruit.com. Also you will need the Arduino 101 Projects Kit that you can get from the Nuts&Volts Web Store and from www.smileymicros.com. Please note that this latter kit provides the sole source of income for this website, so if you like the free textbook, then please purchase the kit to assure continued developement of the website.


And to make this work - PLEASE HELP!

This is only going to work if I get help from students and teachers. I’ll need some novices to decide to be dedicated students and tell me where they are having difficulties with these materials. Also, I’ll definitely need some teachers to wade through this and offer suggestions as how this can be done better to meet what they know are the real needs of real students. So far I’ve got my most excellent friend Jay Flanders helping out. Jay taught electronics at Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Illinois so he has a lot of great insight to provide (and he laughs at my stupid jokes which helps keep me moving forward). If you are a teacher and want to discuss these articles and the website please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The version of these articles on the website will have pretty much the same text as in the Nuts&Volts article, just fancied up a bit with accordion folds that let you open each section separately and it will have check boxes that let you mark each text section, exercise, lab, and quiz as you complete them so you can keep track of where you were at the end of each study session. 

In Memoriam: Jay Flanders

My best friend Jay Flanders passed away while I was writing chapter 12. Jay edited all the chapters before this one and I'm sure that this chapter and all my work from this point forward will be less from the absence of his wise input. We will never again talk about nerdy stuff like the Arduino while having salads at McDonalds. He had a great laugh and for me, a light has gone out of the world. I dedicate the Arduino 101 series to him.