One of my classes this semester (Design Studio) focuses on learning particular technologies. I recently finished the Arduino section and wanted to share it!

Arduino is a small computer (an open-source single-board microcontroller) that works with flexible, easy-to-use, and inexpensive hardware and software. It is intended to be used by artists, designers, and hobbyists to create interactive objects or environments.

My Project

After completing introductory exercises that controlled LED lights, I became interested in using the Arduino to regulate sounds. I found a few tutorials online that used different accessories to make noise through the microcontroller, particularly one that used a potentiometer to regulate pitch. While I really liked this idea, I thought the design and code I found online was far too complicated for such a simple task. Using other project tutorials (controlling the speed of a LED light, coding a song through a speaker), I pared down the original coding to match a simpler layout. The final result included a small Piezo speaker attached directly to the Arduino board and a potentiometer connected to the computer through a breadboard.

Controlling a Light with a Potentiometer

Light/Potentiometer Code

Coding a Musical Tune

Musical Code

Controlling a Tone with a Potentiometer

Original Tone Adjustment Code

My Code

Simple Tone Adjustment with Potentiometer

// set pin numbers:
const int speakerPin = 11; // the number of the Piezo speaker

const int sensorPin = 2; // the number of the potentiometer
// variables will change:

int sensorValue = 0; // the value read from the pot

int noteValue = 0; // gets converted to a “note”

void setup() {

pinMode(speakerPin, OUTPUT); // set the speaker’s pin for output

void loop(){

sensorValue = analogRead(sensorPin); // get the pot’s value

noteValue = ((((1024 – sensorValue) / 1024.0) * 959) + 956); // convert

digitalWrite(speakerPin, HIGH);


digitalWrite(speakerPin, LOW);



Pictures from Traveling to Minnesota

I took a bunch of cellphone pictures on my travels up to Minnesota. For the next three weeks, I will be taking an immersion course on the Ojibwe. I will also try and tweet (real time) about what I’m up to, visit to view. Enjoy!

Nice prices at a fishermen’s truck stop just over the boarder from Ohio (in Michigan)

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge (the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere)

Mackinac Bridge

Welcome to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

New friends inside the St. Ignace Truck Stop Restaurant, where we ate dinner on Sunday night.

Bottom right: advertisement for their “fresh pasties”

My sleep accommodations at a Hotel in the Upper Peninsula

Next to those sleep accommodations…

Lake Superior view from this morning

Happy Ides of March!

Maybe that’s like saying, “Happy Lent” or “Happy Day of Atonement” during Yom Kippur. Alas.

Here’s the Wikipedia page on The Ides of March for your enjoyment/future trivia knowledge.

Here’s the Senate room where Julius Caesar was killed 2,054 years ago that I took on a trip to Rome a few years ago):
And here’s a view outside of this room in the Roman Forum with my friend Suzanne:

If you’d like to learn more about Republican Rome, check out my Art History notes on the topic. Wish me luck, I have a test on these this week!

Art Ed Posts

I thought I ought to catch everyone up with the posts I’ve written for my Art Education class. Click on the links below to checkout what I’ve been doing in school.

Week 2 (Facilitator of group discussion) and Week 3 (Identity and Contemporary Arts Education)
Week 4 (Postmodern Art and Visual Culture) and Week 5 (Diversity & Multiculturalism)
Week 6 (Thematic Instruction) and Week 7 (Art Criticism)
Week 8 (Art History in Art Education)


Bought a Desk, Started Classes

In response to last class, I did finally buy a desk. Found it on craigslist, and managed to buy it for $25 less than it was offered for (and much less than new from Ikea). I love that I have a room big enough for a big desk! Although I know I’ll now be tethered to it…I suppose graduate work just never stops.

So here are my classes:
Art Ed 101 (oh yes, intro to Art Education)
Ed Psy 421 (Educational Psychology)
Art Hist 111 (survey class covering Ancient to Medieval Art)
CI 597 (Arts Across the Curriculum)

The undergrad classes (Art Ed and Art History) have so much more work associated with them than the grad classes. Well, at least a lot more assignments due.

We have a quiz every week in Art History f0r a specific section (Ancient Egyptian art, Roman art, Byzantium art, etc.). Since it’s an online class, the lectures are just videos posted online…but instead of taking the usual 2 or 3 hours per week (like a regular class), the video lectures average about 6-8 hours each week. And I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist and end up writing every thing the professor says down in my notes.

As for the Art Ed class, we have to write a short paper every week on what we learned in class. Hopefully I’ll get into a groove of posting them on here…might be a bit boring, but at least it’ll give an idea of what I’m learning? Here’s the first week’s post, about what makes an effective arts educator.