Orel Makerspace Classroom
is a solution aimed at revolutionizing learning and bringing out the best of the next generation of innovators
with a range of tech and IoT-based educational devices, services and solutions.
The concept originally took form in 2017 when Orel Corporation was commissioned by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure and the Ministry of Education to develop a training kit that would enable students to learn about electronics and programming. Being a partner of Farnell as well as the official distributor for the BBC micro: bit and the Raspberry Pi, Orel began work designing a solution around these two pieces of hardware. The result was a product by the name of OrelBits and the Orel Makerspace Classroom initiative begun.
The Orel Makerspace Classroom solution also consisted of several electronic devices built for teaching and inspiring students. These included IoT kits, sensor kits that could be used with OrelBits, and a line of 3D printers.An online learning space and forum as well as an archive of tutorials for the devices, learning material and lesson plans would be available online and be accessible to the students.
In the 1980’s the BBC introduced a computer called the BBC Micro for the first time as part of an educational program in the UK called the “BBC Computer Literacy Project”. TheBBC Micro was notable for its ruggedness, expandability, and the high quality of its operating system.
Over three decades later in 2015, the BBC launched a new device aimed at teaching students and beginners programming. Named as a homage to the original Micro, the BBC micro: bit was built to continue the same legacy in the digital age.
The BBC micro: bit is a tiny programmable computer designed for students and hobbyists.Programming a micro: bit can be done by simply dragging and dropping “code blocks” that snap together to build a fully functional program. The programming interface is easy-to-use and user-friendly and allows programs to be directly downloaded to the micro: bit. The device can be used to build all kinds of amazing inventions with endless possibilities.
Commissioned by two ministries and designed and built by Orel, OrelBits provides a steppingstone into the exciting world of programming, electronics and IoT. The solution consists of a fully functional Raspberry Pi computer with a specialized OS, along with four BBC micro: bits and an assortment of sensors, each with their own set of experiments designed for the public-school syllabus in Sri Lanka. A student can open the learning device and immediately begin to interact with the system without any prior knowledge in these areas.
Essentially “A classroom in a Box”, OrelBits was designed for use in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades and it provides a platform for teachers to introduce and foster learning about the basics of programming. As a hands-on tool, OrelBits and teachers together can inspire creativity, analytical thinking and problem solving.
The kit allows students to learn how a program works and how to build their very own projects usingthe many included sensors and actuators included in the kit. Students are encouraged to use the assortment of sensors and develop different programs to complete tasks or solve problems. From using waves to measure distance to automating the growth of a plant, OrelBits was built to complement existing syllabuses while ensuring that students have fun learning.
Boson Starter Kit
The Boson Starter Kit is an expansion kit for the BBC micro: bit. The kit contains 8 modularized electronic blocks designed for students and hobbyists alike to start their hands-on journey of creation.
The modules are fully compatible and easily connectable to the micro: bit and safe to use. The kit includes 12 project tutorial cards for beginners to quickly set up both electronic and programming connections and create their first projects.
Included in the kit is an expansion board that provides even more functionality for the micro: bit andallows the connection of multiple modules to a single micro: bit. The expansion board comes with an edge connector, 6 foolproof 3-pin sockets, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a volume knob. Additionally, the expansion board can be easily powered through the USB power port and can provide a steady-current output for more advanced projects.
The OrelCloner line of 3D printers was designed to be affordable enough for classrooms, while still delivering excellent print quality and an abundance of features. The printers fit on a tabletop andthe user-friendly interface allows students and hobbyists to easily set up and start creating their own designs.
The test bed and extruders are automatically calibrated, ensuring minimum error in each print.Projects with multiple components no longer need to be printed part-by-part as OrelCloner allows full assemblies to be loaded in and printed in a single go. The printers can also be accessed and controlled wirelessly over Wi-Fi and are capable of printing resolutions as small as 100 microns.
To complete the range of learning-based products the Orel Makerspace Classroom provides a library of accessible learning resources in a cloud repository. These resources include student project tutorials and extra (more challenging) activity guides for the micro: bit. A large collection of 3D models is available for OrelCloner and these can be downloaded, modified and printed with ease.
The Orel Makerspace Classroom online portal will also consist of a learning center and forum where students and teachers can ask questions and help other learners with their projects. Lesson plans and supplementary material for teachers are also available for different grades and subjects and customized content for specific applications can also be created andprovided on request.