What is Open Hardware?

Open hardware is a category of devices, often very small and inexpensive, that are licensed so that users are able to use, copy, and adapt them however they want. The hardware design, along with any driving software, are typically all released as an open-source package. Although open hardware is not as well known as open software, there are several promising open hardware projects (e.g., Arduino, FreeRunner), in which users share information about how to build their own boards with the possibility of adapting or modifying them to specific user needs. The wide availability of small, low cost sensors such as accelerometers; GPS; pressure, temperature, and humidity sensors; cameras in a variety of spectrums; and even more, makes open hardware a very promising and inexpensive way to both innovate and teach concepts with real-world applications.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 6, 2013In the area of technology engineering, the robotics options have been slim in the K-12 sector. With Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc. there now is a way to get a "robust" piece of programmable hardware into every student's hands.
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - kathyschrock kathyschrockI feel the area of computational thinking is missing here, and in other places. Not a technology itself, it should be an integral part of some of these other technologies.
  • - brandt.redd brandt.redd Mar 7, 2013 It's a continuing challenge to give students an intuitive sense of how math and science is applied in the real world. Open hardware and in-school makerspeces can convey this relevance, draw students to STEM fields and establish a culture of technical creativity.
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • - kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 6, 2013Having students explore and create working technology projects targets all of the cognitive skills on Bloom's Revised Taxonomy.
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon K-12 Project form.