RES.2-005 | Spring 2015 | High School

Girls Who Build: Make Your Own Wearables Workshop

Instructor Insights

Preparing Volunteers

In this section, Kristen Railey shares her insights about preparing volunteers to support participants, including changes she’d like to make in future iterations of the workshop.

I held office hours the week before the workshop to prepare the volunteers to support participants. I brought in the workshop kits and had the volunteers test the projects themselves. The SolidWorks project was very straightforward for the volunteers. However, the coding was tricky, because we had issues with the software. You have to install a driver on a computer to use the Arduino board and I didn’t have the laptops ready for the volunteers. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get the software on 20 computers.

Prior to the workshop, some of the volunteers had coded in other languages, but not necessarily in Arduino. In hindsight, I think it would have been good to have more time for participants to understand Arduino. If you’re teaching someone else how to code in a particular language, you have to know it inside and out. In the future I’d like to let volunteers know well in advance that that we’ll be coding in Arduino so that they can get their feet wet a few months before the workshop. We also have our own library functions to make coding in Arduino simpler. I would like to give volunteers more time to understand those functions.

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