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March 3, 2017
A Celebrity Moment
Life is exciting when you're recognized by a "celebrity" on social media, especially when the celebrity is your favourite inventor. Grade 10 students Sophia and Charley know this firsthand after their Computer Engineering project was acknowledged with an unexpected tweet.

For their Programming with Micro-Controllers class in Branksome's new STEAM Studio, Sophia and Charley decided to make a stamp of the logo of the software tool they were using called Arduino.

Arduino is a unique prototype platform that enables interaction through the translation of inputs such as a light on a sensor, or a finger on a button, into output (turning on a light, publishing a paper and so on).

"During the first class for the Arduino project, we researched the creation of Arduino and got some background on the Italian inventor, Massimo Banzi," says Charley. "He encourages everyone to share their projects with the open source community."

In fact, Arduino is open-source—meaning the code is shared freely with other makers worldwide. Computer Sciences teacher Joe Smith explains that because Arduino is based on sharing and collaboration, it is a perfect fit for IB inquiry, which encourages students to work together to make the world a better place.

"People take the Arduino projects and iterate them to suit their needs," says Mr. Smith. "Our students work on projects which they then share with the open source community. Everyone is working towards adding value and building on the work done by others in the global Arduino community."

In that vein, Smith suggested the girls make a video of their project and tweet it. So Sophia made a short video of Charley talking about their project, and they posted it on Twitter. Imagine their surprise when their mentor, @mbanzi, tweeted back: "Nice!"

"Later that evening, [Sophia] texted me a screenshot of his tweet and I was so excited," says Charley. "I called her right away and we laughed together about how crazy it was that he tweeted back. We have been working with Arduino for so long and he is like a celebrity to us."

Sophia adds, "Receiving the tweet was really exciting and kind of a surprise, because with all the tweets he must receive each day it was surprising that he responded to us. This showed me just how powerful Twitter and social media can be, because high school students like us can be in contact with anyone around the world."

Next up for their class: 3D printing. Just imagine the possibilities!

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