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I’m a University Professor, and I teach an intro course in Swift for iOS Development. Students often ask me after our course is done, “How Can I Keep Learning?” Thanks to resources like YouTube, Udemy, Medium, and more, it’s easy to keep your skills current. Also note, many of the folks highlighted in one area, also have additional content (e.g. Sean Allen runs a podcast, offers a newsletter, and has paid course offerings) so do explore. If I overlooked some, so sorry. Feel free to share in the comments. Here are some thoughts on resources that I’ve found most helpful:

We want our students to get excited about coding, but too often first coding experiences involve uninspiring concepts like fibonacci sequences or find-the-prime numbers. This semester we tried something different — introducing coding through the Circuit Playground Express, a microcontroller packed with colorful LED lights, touch sensors, an accelerometer, light sensor, sound sensor, and more. Block-style MakeCode was used to introduce concepts like flow control, conditional logic, and loops, then transitioned to Python programming using CircuitPython. …

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Project Description:
I’m a professor as well as proud alumnus at Boston College, so in preparation for the School’s appearance on ESPN College Gameday, I thought I’d create a “faux neon” team logo sign using electro-luminescent wire. EL wire looks great in the dark, but don’t expect to see the sign in bright light.

Skill Level:
Easy — no soldering or programming needed

About 2.5 hrs. depending on sign size and design complexity.

Parts List: Most parts are available from Adafruit, Amazon, or if you’re near Boston College — YouDoIt Electronics in Needham, MA (fun fact for motivating STEMinists…

Boston College Fulton Hall 460 has a haunted pumpkin. Touch the pumpkin if you dare. The pumpkin’s ghost will detect the presence of a member of “the living” and will mock your feigned courage.

So how does it work? It’s a real, carved pumpkin, but the pumpkin has a Adafruit Circuit Playground Express (CPX) inside of it. The CPX has seven capacitive touch sensors. These sensors detect electricity, including the electricity inside any member of “the living” brave enough to disturb the spirit rumored to live within. A wire with alligator clips on each end is clipped to one…

UPDATE: While exercises used in this class are linked below, there are additional YouTube videos on both MakeCode as well as CircuitPython for the CircuitPlayground Express on my YouTube channel: Find this and more at:

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Our “Digital Technologies: Strategy & Use” core course for (mostly) freshmen business students combines the study of how technology influences competition with some hands-on skill (usually model building in Excel). This year I wanted to give students an experience that combined coding with some basic engineering. The low-cost Circuit Playground Express from Adafruit Industries is ideal. …

Capacitive Touch on the Circuit Playground Express allows an alligator clip attached to Baby Groot’s Leaves to receive a “touch” signal when the leaves are touched.

Difficulty Level : Easy


Circuit Playground Express (CPX): I suggest buying the $29.95 Base Kit, as it comes with a USB Mini to Standard USB cable that you’ll need to program your Circuit Playground Express, plus it also comes with a battery pack & batteries:

A single test-lead alligator clip (it’s a wire with an alligator clip at each end). You can get a bunch of them inexpensively online — Adafruit sells a dozen for $3.95

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VIDEO of the showcase is at: There was also an article in The Heights student newspaper.
Projects from the Fall 2017 Semester of the Boston College “Intro to Programing Using Swift for iOS Development.” Most students were in their first collegiate programming course. The course took students from zero programming knowledge through programming fundamentals, iOS development, and advanced concepts that included API calls, JSON parsing, and social, shared database and third-party login verification via Google’s Cloud Firestore. Want to give this opportunity to your students, or learn on your own? …

John Gallaugher

Boston College Prof. Tech/Business. Advising student entrepreneurs, TechTreks (SF/Valley, SEA, Boston, NY, Ghana). Low-cost textbook

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