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?

  • I work in a FabLab and we use a lot of Open Hardware. The students work on developing their own prototypes and Open Hardware is great because all the information about the technology is public available. The online learning environment are often well-developed and I have the opportunity to guide students in many different directions, depending on the project they want to do, and what they need to learn. A really good open hardware often has multiple online channels that provide the opportunity to find knowledge written and presented through video. And an active online community that contribute with inspiration and forums where students can get individual advice from other technical skilled people in the world.
  • Open Source Hardware is the next step in programming as it catalyzes the manufacturing and engineering of both hard and soft layout and function - lars.persen lars.persen Nov 19, 2016
  • Students workging with Open Hardware (and programming) enables a high degree of problem solving, real life learning and collaboration in the classroom.- lars.persen lars.persen Nov 19, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Open Hardware provides at very god frame for me as teacher/coach to bring a practical and tactile element to learning. It is a very good platform for learning about technology, collaboration, writing and reading English and it has the flexibility to become a “material” for the students, that can be used to make up the projects they have design. That is very motivating for them. It is also a very strong example of collaborative work and knowledge exchange.
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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