Classroom setting: Arduino vs. BasicStamp Board

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Re: Classroom setting: Arduino vs. BasicStamp Board

Postby stevech » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:34 pm

monk wrote:The advantages of Arduino that I see are:

* Open source hardware with many good book, starter kits and Internet resources for students wanting to take it further
* C for programming - a more useful language to know
* Screw shield - could be left in place to minimise the need for soldering


A nit: Arduino uses C++ and C, though the libraries are an abstraction atop C++. But it does make a good tool for newbies. Shows concepts of functions, data hiding, and so on. Yes, some structured basics can do some of this, but when the student lists a structured basic on their resume' it won't look so hot to a prospective employer.
Personally, I wouldn't want to teach newbies the misuse of function and operator overloading in C++. Bad news for code legibility, so its use should avoided and stick to fundamental C/C++.
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Re: Classroom setting: Arduino vs. BasicStamp Board

Postby Chagrin » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:06 pm

I agree with westfw's suggestion of the Arduino Nano or Boarduino (notably the USB Boarduino). If you're worried about students mangling the pins on those arduinos then I suppose you could permanently glue them to the breadboard with minimal fuss.
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Re: Classroom setting: Arduino vs. BasicStamp Board

Postby viskr » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:53 pm

The ARMmite PRO available here at SparkFun is $29.95, requires a programming cable like the other SparkFun Arduinos.

http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9257

Its programmable in BASIC or C. The BASIC is a structured language, and supports interrupts, pre-processing and other features. The BASIC is compiled, while the user interface maintains the "interpreter" feel of other BASICs. The C is based on GCC and provides a simple interface such that the learning curve is quite easy.

As it maintains the Arduino footprint, all the various shields are available for use.
ARM in a DIP28 running BASIC or C from http://www.basicchip.com
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Re: Classroom setting: Arduino vs. BasicStamp Board

Postby westfw » Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:34 am

Here's one of those Chinese distributors with an assembled protoshield. No personal experience; just something that came up on another forum:

http://arduino-direct.com/sunshop/index ... etail&p=93
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Re: Classroom setting: Arduino vs. BasicStamp Board

Postby 2lss » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:56 pm

Back in my high school days (approx. 6-7 years ago) I used the BASIC stamp 2 along with the BoE for a robot competition my class was involved with.

The stamp was simple, had easy hardware integration, and had a nice IDE (I don't remember the name of it) with syntax highlighting, word completion, and error finding.

The PBASIC language that is used with that platform seemed easy at the time, but now I realize that I picked up some bad habits. Honestly, I think the creators over-simplified it and in the process made some of the more advanced stuff harder.

All in all, it was a fun project but I don't think I learned much "real world" electronics/programming. The stamp platform seems more about "plug & play" and less about "hacking/learning."

The Arduino, I feel is a better choice in a learning environment mainly because it's open source, programmed in c, and has a great community behind it. Plus I think the students would walk away with more "real world" experience i.e. programming c/c++ rather than QBASIC.
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Re: Classroom setting: Arduino vs. BasicStamp Board

Postby stevech » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:06 am

The Arduino's popularity amazes me- no commercial for-profit marketing campaign. Just grass-roots/groundswell demand.
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Re: Classroom setting: Arduino vs. BasicStamp Board

Postby propjohn » Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:20 am

stevech wrote:The Arduino's popularity amazes me- no commercial for-profit marketing campaign. Just grass-roots/groundswell demand.

Microcontrollers have traditionally had a very high entry-barrier for non-engineers. The Arduino is the perfect storm of cost, approachability and availability. The Arduino platform has a high amount of polish, it plugs directly into a USB port without requiring an expensive and/or cranky programming tool, and it has a wealth of examples that are welll documented and are newbie friendly.

As a professional programmer I get asked for recommendations about techy stuff all the time. I love the fact that Arduino chose to go C/C++ instead of something like BASIC or worse, some other language developed out of thin air. I can recommend Arduino with good conscience.

I think one of the keys to its success were places like Sparkfun, Adafruit and the other webshops that cater to the hobbyist crowd. While I know how to navigate DigiKey, I'm usually looking at Sparkfun first for ideas and the discussions on the various parts. SF takes PayPal which I prefer because my CC company throws a fit on Internet orders.
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Re: Classroom setting: Arduino vs. BasicStamp Board

Postby Aristides » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:48 pm

Hello,

I just wanted to bring an update on this thread since it seemed to be pointing to having to select either Arduino or a Board of Education from Parallax. It was a “this vs. that” selection or “either-or” which made sound as if Parallax and Arduino where in opposite sides of the road or in some kind of antagonism. Maybe at the time of the question, it was true that there was not a kit to bridge the gap.

Parallax customers (teachers) from schools that switched to Arduino have been asking Parallax Education staff for a while to generate some Parallax hardware and documentation that would be compatible with Arduino.

Our answer was the Board of Education Shield for Arduino (or BOE Shield for short). The new BOE Shield was just listed for pre-order and we’re beginning to post material that not only explains how to use the Parallax BOE Shield, but also Arduino in general.
http://www.parallax.com/BOEShield

We will print the “Robotics with the BOE Shield for Arduino” book soon but first will be posting the whole book online (for free access) as it comes available chapter by chapter at learn.parallax.com:
http://learn.parallax.com/ShieldRobot

You can currently access the first chapter of the book which shows an introduction on Arduino and students can follow this chapter with just an Arduino hooked to their PC (they don’t even need any Parallax hardware in Chapter 1).

I’m pretty sure that SparkFun, as Parallax distributor, will be soon selling the BOE Shield and the Robotics Shield Kit which comes with everything you need, except the Arduino, to get the BOE Shield-Bot running, but first they need to know about it. ;-)

I’ll be in contact with SparkFun later this week, unless they also work on Sundays. :-)

Regards,
Ari Alvarez
Education Manager - Parallax US
President - Parallax Hong Kong
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