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08 Oct

Be in the know: how to spot a counterfeit Arduino product

 

 

HOW TO SPOT A COUNTERFEIT PRODUCT (AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT)

We recently spoke with Sara Therner, Trademark & Licensing Manager here at Arduino, about the importance of recognising counterfeit products and what process to follow if you come across one. An expert in all things trademark, Sara has previously worked on international
projects concerning the EU, energy, and Intelligent Energy.

Arduino Education: Hello Sara! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Can we start with you telling us a little about yourself and what your current job involves?

Sara Therner: No problem at all. I joined Arduino in 2014 as a Project Manager, and have had a couple of different roles within the company since then. I have touched upon almost every aspect of Arduino, apart from the actual hardware and software development.
For the last two and a half years my focus has been our trademarks, and this is really the most exciting thing I have worked with at Arduino. My job today has so many levels and I never know what my workday will look like. I spend a lot of time on locating and removing counterfeit products from the market, but I also work with our partners and resellers on proper trademark 1 usage, collaborate with different marketplaces, make sure our trademark portfolio is updated, and advise others who email me with questions or concerns.

AE: Wow, it sounds like some complicated stuff! Let’s start with the basics: what are trademarks?

ST: A trademark is a word or a logo that is legally registered to be used to represent a company or a product. Trademarks are applied per country or geographical region (for example, the EU). Even though Arduino doesn’t have many different trademarks, we have over 300 registrations to get worldwide coverage.

AE: So, why are trademarks so important for a company like us?

ST: They’re incredibly important as Arduino is open source, which means that we share our design files and encourage others to further develop and build upon our existing products. As counterfeits are not documented, we cannot ensure the quality of materials used, and we don’t know how they’ve been made. In turn, that means we can’t guarantee they’ll be safe for our customers to use, and obviously, safety is something that’s really important to us all. Additionally, Arduino products are made with sustainability in mind, and again, we don’t know how manufacturing these counterfeit products may be impacting the environment, nor do we know where the products have come from or who’s made them – for example, it’s possible they could have been made in poor working conditions.
Our trademarks are very important mainly for two different reasons. Firstly, it’s a common misunderstanding that since we are open source, our name and logo can be used freely. This has led to a number of products that are compatible with Arduino technology using the word Arduino in their name. This is not only damaging because it is a violation of our trademark, but it’s also misleading to customers, who may believe that they are purchasing an Arduino product.

Secondly, we have an issue with counterfeits. Since we share our design files, anyone can make a direct copy of our boards. This is allowed, even though we’d rather see our designs being developed into something else. The bottom line here is that it is ok to copy our boards.
It’s when our trademarks are placed directly on a copy of our boards that it becomes a counterfeit, which is an illegal product. This is concerning to me, not only from a legal point of view but also because I care about our customers and users. I feel really bad for those who contact our Tech Support and ask why their “Arduino” doesn’t work, and we have to tell them that they have been fooled.
As I mentioned before, we also want customers to have a great experience, to know that the products they’re using are safe, and to know that they’re manufactured to excellent standards of practice. Using original Arduino products is the way to do that.AE: Do you see many Arduino counterfeits?

ST: Yes, but the numbers are decreasing. I am very happy and confident that we are not only removing counterfeit products but also, thanks to good collaboration with different online marketplaces, we manage to prevent these counterfeit products from returning.

AE: What happens when you find a counterfeit?

ST: It depends on where it is located. Larger online marketplaces, such as Amazon and Alibaba, have brand protection programs where you as a trademark owner can report counterfeits for removal. If the counterfeit is sold though a smaller online store, we contact the store and ask them to remove the product.

AE: How do you spot a counterfeit?

ST: There are a couple of key factors to look for on the board: color, silk design, logo and components. Counterfeit boards are often deep blue, whereas a true Arduino board is our signature teal. They’re often more similar to old versions of Arduino boards, so if you see a board with the Italian map on the back, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at it. The shape of the logo and the font used on other text is, for me, the easiest way to detect a counterfeit. The text is usually not as sharp and detailed on a counterfeit board. Finally look at the overall execution, for instance sloping components.

AE: That’s incredibly helpful information. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

ST: I receive a lot of emails regarding how to properly use our trademarks when, for instance, writing a book, developing a product, making a poster for an event or setting up a social media fan page. I’m really happy when people reach out to me about these things, and anyone is welcome to contact me with questions or concerns.

Article source: Arduino Education

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17 Jun

The Transition to Remote Learning

 

With the backdrop of the immediate, global move from in-classroom delivery to remote learning due to temporary and sustained school closings, the AWS Educate educator community wants to help educators during this transition.

AWS Educate is supporting the transition to remote learning with webinars and more for educators, by educators, designed by educators, for educators, and based on educator input from a recent survey capturing current challenges. These webinar series are now available on-demand.

Educators like you will definitely find these webinars useful as you try to plan your remote learning lessons. Even though we are approaching Phase 2 of Circuit Breaker, some schools have opted to continue with Remote Learning for selected school programmes.

 

Here are some of the topics:

Doug Bergman

Project-Based, Interactive Learning in Virtual Education for K12

Project-based learning works great in person, as well as online both synchronously and asynchronously. Hands-on, student-led experiences make even more sense now that we are all virtual. Instead of passively watching as the learning passes by, they can be busy creating something. Learn to blend relevance, content, the real world, and active learning into your classes.

Speaker: Doug Bergman, Computer Science Department Chair and Upper School Teacher, PorterGaud School

Watch on demand »

 


CML_7714_SMALL

Transitioning to Online Learning

Are you just getting started with online instruction and looking for best practices? Join us for this session to break down the basics of shifting to remote instruction. Hear examples of how educators have made this transition and see where you can tap into these great ideas and resources from educators around the world.

Speaker: Sherry Crofut, Education Consultant, Classroom Instructor, 2007 recipient of the Milken Award

Watch on demand »

 


Michael Soltys

Teaching Online: Ten Suggestions for Success

As you shift from traditional instruction to online instruction, learn the things you should consider and actions you should to take for a successful transition. Don’t think of this move to online teaching as a one-off. Think of it as an opportunity to build an online offering that can serve your department and students for years.

Speaker: Michael Soltys, Chair of Computer Science, Information Technology and Mechatronics Engineering, California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI)

Watch on demand »

 


 

 

Gaurav Malik

Transitioning from Face to Face Teaching to Online Teaching

Gaurav will share lessons learned in making the transition for a large cohort of students to online teaching. We will look at best practices, how to leverage online in your teaching, and getting institutional support and help from fellow educators.

Speaker: Gaurav Malik, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and Informatics, University of East London

Watch on demand »

 


Dave Braunschweig

Best Practices for Online Grading and Assessment

Online learning doesn’t just change how we approach content delivery and how students engage in learning. To be effective, we also have to adapt our approach to assessment. In this webinar, you will consider a variety of best practices for online grading and assessment, including:

  • Online activities and assessment techniques
  • Individual assignments and team projects
  • Formative assessments and summative assessments

Speaker: Dave Braunschweig, Professor of Computer Information Systems, Harper College

Watch on demand »

 


Do visit AWS Education for more Webinar series on-demand designed by Educators, for educators.

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20 May

UNDERSTANDING BASIC CODING TERMINOLOGY

 

 

If you want to help your child learn programming and coding, it’s also important for you to understand basic coding terminology. And that’s something we can definitely help with!

Helping children grasp basic coding concepts and terminology is a good first step for them to learn coding skills – and you don’t need any prior knowledge of electronics and coding to do this.

 

 

WHAT IS CODING?

Coding is basically telling a computer program what to do by entering coded commands and instructions that it can read and execute. It can be as simple as visual drag-and-drop software or as complex as C++.

 

 

BASIC CODING TERMINOLOGY

 

 

 

 

Here are some basic coding and programming terms to get you started. Understanding these terms will allow you to grasp some of the basic concepts in computer coding.

 

  • Algorithm – basically the set of instructions, a bit like a recipe, that you use to code. Algorithms are conditional statements that may involve loops, arithmetic operators, arrays, and functions (more on those below!).
  • Arrays – groups of similar types of data. For example, locations in a grid map could be an array as they all share the same type of information.
  • Arithmetic operators – the four basic arithmetic operators used in programming are addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), and division (/). These are the foundation for other more complex math operators. Operators are used to specify mathematical processes.
  • Autonomous – refers to being independent, such as with autonomous control. For example, a robot can be programmed to autonomously avoid obstacles.
  • Binary numbers – these are numbers that are expressed in zeros and ones. They may represent other types of data like letters and image pixels.
  • Bit – a bit is a basic computer memory unit. It is a combination of two words: binary and digit.
  • Bug – an error in the programming or coding that needs to be fixed.
  • C++ – a high-level computer programming language that can be used for a wide range of purposes. It can be used to create software applications or program machine motions.
  • Coding languages – interchangeably referred to as programming languages and may also include web development languages like HTML and CSS.
  • Computer program – a set of instructions that a computer can execute. It could be a simple or complex set of instructions like a software application.
  • Conditional statements – logical statements in the form of “if-then” statements. They may also include other logical operators such as “or” and “and”.
  • Constants – mathematical values that never change, such as the value of Pi. They are useful in mathematical calculations.
  • Debug – when a computer has bugs, they need to be debugged. To debug means to locate and remove or solve the bugs or errors in programming. A bug can be as simple as a misplaced comma or as complex as an entire string of command.
  • Else statements – the options that need to be chosen by a computer in executing a program if the if-statements are not true.
  • For loops – these allow a programmer to run a specific block of code repeatedly.
  • Functions – pieces of codes that run only when they are called or referred to.
  • If statements – conditional statements that provide options. They may fork into two or more steps depending on the truthfulness of a given condition.
  • Java – one of the flexible general-purpose computer programming languages. It is designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible, allowing developers to run it on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation.
  • Linux – an open-source programming language that can run on various devices, including mobile phones and robots. The Android open-source mobile OS, for instance, is written in Linux.
  • Loops – instructions that allow a computer to repeatedly run a code block until a specified condition is reached. For example, a loop instruction may repeatedly run video scans until no motion is detected in the field of view of a camera.
  • Program – a program is a set of computer instructions. It can be simple or a set of very complex instructions.
  • Python – a powerful programming language that has a wide range of uses, including game development.
  • Scratch – a graphical, drag-and-drop programming language ideal for kids or anyone who wants to get started with coding. A programmer can create interactive stories and comics.
  • Scripts – parts of specific coded instructions or steps that a computer can follow. It may either be a complete instruction or just part of a syntax of an instruction.
  • Statement – the exact codes and syntax may vary depending on the programming language. It is basically a sentence that a computer can read and execute.
  • Variable – a variable can stand for any type of data like number or word. A programmer can assign any value for a variable.
  • Variable types – variables can stand for any value but the basic variables are strings, characters, integers, decimals, and Boolean values (either true or false).
  • While loops – these are similar to if statements. A block of code can repeatedly run indefinitely until the condition is false.

 

 

 

Want to start coding at home? Try our Arduino Start Kit Online Course, which has been specially designed for remote learning. It includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for hands-on coding and electronic projects. You can find out more about specific functions for controlling Arduino boards here.

Article Source: Arduino Education

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13 May

HOW THE PANDEMIC IS HIGHLIGHTING THE NEED FOR DIGITAL SKILLS

 

Working from home and remote learning feel like an inevitable part of our new normal, especially now that some countries are trying to reopen their economies after more than a month of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.

For those who continue to work from home or choose remote learning, there is a need to improve and enhance digital security and tech skills.

 

ADAPTING TO THE NEW NORMAL

 

Going back to the old normal is not feasible in the foreseeable future as experts predict that the pandemic is likely to last for months or perhaps years to come. That means we must adapt, and one of the ways we can do that is through technology.

As many aspects of everyday life become increasingly dependent on digital technology, demand for digital skills also increases. Professionals, educators, and students alike are now required to learn and use various digital platforms in order to sustain their roles or their learning.

This could include using previously unknown online platforms or learning new skills like creating infographics, editing videos, and computer programming. For instance, educators who might not traditionally have been that tech-savvy must learn to adapt and innovate in using digital tools for remote teaching.

 

DESIGNING DIGITAL SERVICES DURING COVID-19

 

Learning new digital skills is not limited only to individuals. It also includes companies, educational institutions, and government agencies. As the pandemic continues, the dynamics of the business and education landscapes are also rapidly changing.

 

Designing digital services has become a critical skill, one that is highlighting not just the need for people with a STEM background, but also for people with strong communication and collaboration skills. That’s because digital services need:

 

  1. To focus on the user – for example, if you develop an app that helps facilitate product delivery, it needs to work for the people using it. Key skill: critical thinking
  2. Decisions based on data – it’s important to be able to understand and analyse data to come up with a great design that solves any problems your users have. Key skill: problem-solving
  3. To avoid vague language – digital platforms need to be clear in what they’re delivering and how to use them. Key skill: communication

 

At Arduino Education, for example, we have created a specialist electronics and coding kit that’s designed to help students learn at home. To do this, we had to work collaboratively, figure out how to produce the kit quickly enough to meet educator, parent, and student needs, and then ensure that everyone knows about this new kit. The kit itself teaches students the skills that we have found so necessary during this time.

 


Also, at Duck Learning, we’ve created an online course for the Arduino Starter Kit where you get step by step guided projects tutorial to guide you through your Arduino projects. There is also an assessment module for us to assess your project and a certificate of completion upon completing this course.

 

WHY DOES TECHNOLOGY DEVELOP MORE QUICKLY DURING A CRISIS?

 


As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Many great innovations in history have been motivated by crises, particularly wars or the threat of wars. One very prominent example is the space race between the two superpowers, the US and the former USSR, during the Cold War (1947-1991).

The Cold War also motivated many technological leaps not only in terms of space exploration and weaponry but also in terms of computer science, computer networks (from the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network to the internet), communication satellites, and nuclear power.

Unlike the Cold War, however, the crisis that we are facing now is resulting in wider cooperation between countries across the world, particularly in the race to find effective treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. We all now have a common enemy. Aside from the medical aspects of the pandemic, many innovations have been achieved in digital and communication technology as the world economy shifts its paradigm.

 

THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

 

The pandemic is also highlighting a digital divide, with many students without access to a computer or tablet device at home. According to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, about 73% of Americans have high-speed internet at home but in rural areas, the average is only 63%. This means that many American households are not ready for working-from-home or remote learning.

 

This digital divide is not only about internet connection and hardware but also about knowledge and skills. Many workers, including those who have office jobs, are not sufficiently skillful when using digital and online tools. Many educators are also learning to be more proficient in using tools and technology in their lessons.

 

INNOVATIVE USES OF TECHNOLOGY WE HAVE SEEN

As the pandemic continues, many existing technologies are being put into good use. Some new technologies have also been developed either as a direct or an indirect response to the pandemic. Here are a few examples of innovative uses of technology:

 

  • 3D printing – now being used to print medical equipment, from PPE to components of affordable ventilators
  • Hands-free door openers – with hygiene a primary concern, doors into public buildings are potential vectors for the virus. The demand for hands-free door openers that can be retrofitted to any door is now high, and various designs have been developed
  • Digital contact tracing – phone apps, facial recognition software, body temperature scanners, RFIDs, and AIs are now being used for real-time contact tracing of possibly infected individuals. Governments are collaborating with private communication and tech companies to facilitate monitoring of the pandemic
  • Digital education platforms and tools – educators and parents are now using digital platforms such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, and digital/physical educational kits are providing hands-on lessons.
  • Remote working tools – many collaborative tools and open-source digital resources are now being utilized at home, from teleconferencing to online classes.

 

Source: Arduino Education

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28 Apr

7 Reasons Why Coding Is Important for Kids to Learn

What is Coding?

Coding, or computer programming, is a creative process a programmer performs to tell a computer how to perform a task. At its foundation, it involves writing computer programs using programming languages. Coding for kids is usually taught using content that is high interest while creating projects that involve creative input.

In short, coding for kids is typically gamified making it fun for kids to learn!

Since coding can be gamified, kids as early as age 4 can start learning how to code using visual block interfaces or age appropriate text-based coding classes.

Here are 7 reasons why coding is important for kids to learn:

1. PROGRAMMING HELPS CHILDREN LEARN TO PROBLEM-SOLVE

Learning and mastering the coding basics helps kids gain an understanding of how things work. This also shows them how software engineers use math to logically and creatively solve problems. This is a significant reason why coding should be taught in schools, so kids learn these skills when they are young.

The ability to solve problems is a trait that is generally useful in life. We just want our kids to be better problem solvers so they can conquer whatever obstacles they face. Code learning gives children the opportunity to learn this kind of skill while they are young, and it can help them along the way in life. This is one of the big reasons why learning to code is important.

 

2. COMPUTER PROGRAMMING GIVES KIDS A CHALLENGE AND HELPS THEM DEVELOP RESILIENCE

When children learn to code, they gain the ability to rebound after failure. They learn that failure is sometimes not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact, it can often be a good thing, because it serves as a learning opportunity. It is among the most important reasons children should code because they can soon learn that ‘debugging’ the code isn’t that enjoyable.

You will learn from your mistakes when you fail and then try again. Coding gives kids the opportunity to try again before they succeed and deliver the result they are looking for.

 

3. CODING TEACHES CHILDREN HOW TO THINK

Learning to code teaches kids how to think. Computer programming is not only about teaching them how to type lines of code. It is more about teaching children how to think differently. Being able to code effectively, a programmer needs to make use of logical thinking. They need to see a large problem and break it down into smaller parts to be able to tackle it effectively. It is called decomposition, that is one of the key computational thinking characteristics.

Children learning to code will need to take a vague idea and use their imagination to make it something meaningful. If the first solution is not efficient, then they should try another. If that one is not working, then they must try again before the problem is solved. Coding helps to develop this way of thinking, and these kinds of thinking skills are highly sought after.

 

4. COMPUTER PROGRAMMING IS THE FUTURE

Looking at how the world is developing; coding is an extremely useful skill to possess. There are an increasing number of companies that rely on computer code, not just those in the technology sector.

A child who learns how to code will have an advantage in life with more job opportunities available to them in the future, no matter which industry they choose to enter, whether in the technology, finance, retail, health or otherwise sectors. This is a particularly important reason why coding should be taught at a young age.

5. THERE IS A LACK OF SKILLS IN THE SOFTWARE INDUSTRY

Experienced computer programmers are in demand, and with the advancement of technology, job opportunities are increasing every day. Employees who can code are the future and are highly sought after in any industry.

If children learn to code at a young age, their experience begins at a young age and they are more likely to grow up with an interest in the software industry, thus contributing to our future.

Article for reference: www.straitstimes.com/business/tech-talent-shortage-shows-up-in-job-mismatches

 

6. CODING HELPS CHILDREN LEARN HOW TO HAVE FUN WITH MATH

Coding is a math language. Learning to program involves many skills, including the organization and analysis of data. Children can develop their math skills while coding, without even realizing it. Using their logic and computing skills while creating something of their own can make math more attractive and fun.

 

7. LEARN CODING AND HAVE FUN AT THE SAME TIME

If you want to give your child something fun that really will also be educational and help them learn, learning to code is the perfect gift. You can read about the reasons why coding is important, but one of the main reasons is to challenge them while they are having fun!

Children will learn different skills and practice, gain some important skills that can help them through all walks of life, and if they can do all this while having fun, why not?

There are so many ways to get started with teaching kids to code! Here are some suggestions from our site:

Start out unplugged

You can get started coding with your kids today! It’s easy, and all you need are items you likely already have around your house. To first start learning the basics of coding, you don’t even need a computer! One of our most popular unplugged coding activities involves learning to code with KUBO! You can find out how to learn to code UNPLUGGED, a screen-free way with KUBO here.

 

Take an online course

Kids can learn how to code from the comfort of their own house with an online course through STEAM Learning @ Home by Duck Learning. STEAM Learning @ Home offers a variety of online coding courses for students in preschool, primary, secondary and even adults! These courses are done via recorded online lessons so that students can learn coding skills at their own pace, and you can even reach out to our trainers with questions. You can check out the full list of STEAM Learning @ Home courses here.

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20 Apr

Tips for Parents on Home-Based Learning

Tip 1: Get Ready Together

Set up a conducive area for learning if you have not done so. Check that your child has the necessary resource such as:

Password and Login IDs – It will be good to bookmark the relevant websites your child needs to access such as their Student Learning Space (SLS – Ministry of Education) and their email account providers (such as Gmail or Hotmail). Teach your child how to log in to the relevant sites and pin up their relevant login names and password at an accessible place.

 

Tip 2: Child keeps asking you for help? Create routines! 

It is natural for your child to approach you for help, but there are ways you can make this more manageable for yourself.

Set Ground rules with your child – for instance, exercise responsibility such as following the timetable, no TV or games until assignments are completed.

Be respectful – such as not interrupting when someone is engaged in a teleconference.

Set boundaries – such as determining what does your child need to seek permission on, when should your child approach you.

Agree on check-in slots for your child to seek your help or advice (such as 10 minutes every hour). This will help you juggle your work while supporting the child.

Devise a work hour and “who is going live” timetable.

 

Image source: Ministry of Education

Image source: Ministry of Education

Tip 3: My child is often bored.

Don’t confine learning to the work assigned by their teachers.

There are online platforms that offer non-academic lessons that will keep your child engaged such as our STEAM Learning @ Home Activities.

Kids can dabble in engineering and design, as well as Scratch coding courses that give an introduction to programming. The lessons aim to engage children of different ages and abilities, develop their creativity and critical thinking skills, and help them discover their passions. Choose to try the activities together with your child or have them follow the step-by-step instructions on their own.

 

Tip 4: Let your child pick up a new skill and get certified!

We highly recommend Coding with Scratch 3.0 Online Course which aims to introduce kids to the basics of coding. The block-based visual programming language is easy to navigate – kids can look forward to creating cool animation and games through guided tutorials. The course consists of five hands-on projects plus quizzes, spanning across 10 hours of lessons. After they finish the course, participants will receive a certificate of completion.

 

Tip 5: Schedule in play time with your kids

It can be hard on your relationship with your child if your interactions are purely centered around following schedules and doing homework on time, make sure to set aside some fun time together such as playing board games or doing family YOGA together or even engage them in interactive stories!

 

Tip 6: Download the Parent Kit from Ministry of Education
Did you know that Ministry of Education has created a “Parent Kit” that provides tips on how you can support your child’s home-based learning? Click here to find out.
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