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);



Community Collage

I created a collage for an assignment that described community through the lens of Wenger (1998) for my Disruptive Technologies class. It took such a long time, but it was very well received by my classmates. You can check out their comments on the class blog.

Click on the following PDF to see all of the images that went into this collage: CollageElements.pdf

Identifying Identity (for Disruptive Tech)

Cross-posted from my Disruptive Technologies course blog

This week’s readings (“An Introduction to Discourse Analysis Theory and method” by Gee (1999), and The Medium is the Massage by McLuhan & Fiore (1967)) provided interesting fodder for an analysis of identity. In particular, Team Tiger (aka Group 2) focused on the following themes as they related to the concept of identity: d/Discourse Analysis, Recognition, Individualism/Authorship, and Context.

Language and communication impact identity. Gee shows (through Discourse Analysis) the ability to deconstruct a speaker’s personality and values. In essence, we “enact” language for purposes of representing a particular identity, while at the same time, language constructs an identity for us. It provides the ability to share our inner thoughts and ideas, but also shapes how we can communicate these effectively.

Many members in our group found the ideas in Gee’s “Real Indian” section particularly compelling. Roi has personally experienced the contextually-defined aspect of Japanese-American identity while navigating different spaces. Laura spent last summer living on an Ojibwe reservation and found it disconcerting that Gee did not mention (what she had experienced as being) the biggest deciding factor of “Real Indian” recognition–poverty. MJ posited that student groups also hold strong opinions and ideals that directly influence their identities. Recognizing, identifying, and understanding the implications of those interactions is something that is often not a focus for teachers, but should be.

While the two may seem dichotomous, it may be possible for collaboration to feed and nurture individualism. Individual identity [at least in the United States] is still the dominant definition of ‘identity’ and collective identity seems to take a back seat. However, the two can develop alongside each other. Just because more than one person contributes to a piece of work, individual input can still be important and recognized.

McLuhan & Fiore illustrates how context and content are inherently intertwined in The Medium is the Massage. Our senses cannot be turned off. They play a huge role in how we situate ourselves within our communities the roles that we play. With new technological advances (and their impact on how we receive communication), comes the “reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life” (McLuhan & Fiore, 1966, pg. 3).

Identity influences (and is influenced by) multiple and interrelated factors. Gee and McLuhan & Fiore tease a few of these out–d/Discourse Analysis, Recognition, Individualism/Authorship, and Context. Understanding the links and their relationships help educators appreciate both students and the learning process.

Image is Girl Before a Mirror, Pablo Picasso, Boisgeloup, March 1932. Oil on canvas, 64 x 51 1/4″ (162.3 x 130.2 cm). Gift of Mrs. Simon Guggenheim. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York