.NET Gadgeteer has great potential in schools due to the fact that it can be used to teach students computer programming, simple electronics and also some computer-aided design. It’s also very motivating for young people to be able to build their own gadgets. A digital camera can be built in about half an hour!

The first .NET Gadgeteer pilot in UK Schools took place from October 2011 to January 2012. There were eight schools involved in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Bedfordshire. The pilot was launched via a Teachers’ workshop in October, held at Microsoft Research, Cambridge. The teachers spent the afternoon building gadgets using .NET Gadgeteer and had the opportunity to talk to the Cambridge team about the programming skills they would need and how to use this with their students.

The teachers then introduced .NET Gadgeteer to their schools in the form of after-school or lunchtime clubs. Each club was visited and the educational social networking tool Edmodo was used to share experiences. Lesson plans were developed for eight sessions to enable students to build a digital camera, a stop watch and a game. The students were then invited to develop a gadget of their choice to present at a final “show-and-tell” event at the end of January.

The students attending the club mostly ranged from 11 to 15 years old, with one school choosing to use .NET Gadgeteer with an older group of 17 year-olds. The students worked in groups of three to one kit - .NET Gadgeteer is great for facilitating collaborative working!

At the final show-and-tell event, students presented and demonstrated the gadgets that they had built during the pilot project. A competition was held and the winning school was presented with a prize.

(Full article and prize winning projects: http://www.netmf.com/gadgeteer/ukSchoolsPilot )