electronics thinkering tanks

Arduino Workshop at bmwguggenheimlab with Stefan and André

One of my favorite places are the socalled Volkshochschulen. At these schools you can take (mostly evening) classes of all sorts for mostly affordable prices (like there are reductions for officially registered unemployed) they are somewhat in the spirit of Arbeiterbildungsvereine and intended for life-long learning. I am taking rather regulary classes there, especially in the Volkshochschule Marzahn-Hellersdorf, which has even its own building, but which is nonetheless unfortunately rather long closed between semesters.

When I was a child (i.e. in the seventies) my father was teaching electronics at the munich Volkshochschule classes. The program went from basic circuits to flip-flops. The Volkshochschule was however not really prepared for these kind of classes that is there was no equipment. So my father soldered model circuits and over the years he bought breadboards, multimeters and other electronic equipment for each participant of his classes, because the main objective of the class was to learn by experiment. Partially it was rather difficult to handle the equipment, since storage facilities at Volkshochschule were very limited as the Volkshochschule usually took place in the evening in normal schools. So actually I often had to help him carry and help with the equipment and thus I partially took part in his classes, which amongst others resulted in this wearable electronics. At some place he gave up on the classes. He donated his really neatly built model circuits to a school in partner town Bärenstein and some part of the equipment is still in his basement. I couldn’t find any electronics classes at Volkshochschule Berlin.

Since these times I didn’t do much electronics, but since my kids are now in the age where this may get interesting for them I recently started to think what to do about the rests of his equipment and electronics education.

So yesterday I was very glad to take part in a Arduino workshop at the socalled bmwguggenheimlab. Arduino is a microcontroller board. The pure electronics component of Arduino is usually not too big, because with a microcontroller the main thought is to use the logical components of the board and steer them via a computer program in order to make things work, but of course you still have to plug in resistors and other stuff and the teachers of the Arduino class let us play around with these. It felt a bit like being in my fathers classes.

The bmwguggenheimlab is a privately sponsored kind of ultrashort Volkshochschulcomunitycenterthinktank event.
The workshop didn’t cost any money at the bmwguggenheimlab. It was only yesterday (and today) at the bmwguggenheimlab but one can still take workshops at fritzing.org (30 Euros).
But apart from the Arduino workshop there were many more interesting events at the bmwguggenheimlab and I might go there again.

The bmwguggenheimlab was very disputed here in Berlin. In particular the lab had to move to another place of the city because of protests against the lab and there was even a small demonstration against it while I was there. One of the main objectives of the protesters is that the lab is kind of an attempt to “greenwash” the budget cuts in education and social institutions. That is while rather big cuts are taking place in Berlin (like for example the Schülerladen right next to the bmwguggenheimlab has to close at the end of the year and at Volkshochschule Marzahn-Hellersdorf I heard people talking about a budget freeze) the (official part of the) city tries to show off, as being an educationally and socially open place. Moreover due to the short time of the event you can learn about things just very briefly and you have to pay for this brief education by being part of a kind of a (“greenwash”) promotion for BMW and the Guggenheim family . (In fact there was actually really an amazing amount of media there and I think even my toes were fotographed).

One Response to “electronics thinkering tanks”

  1. mo Says:

    its great that your father was inspired by the maker movement.

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