Toronto District School Board
Innovative technology lights up JPCI

Innovative technology lights up JPCI

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

The Grade 9 SMR (Science, Math and Robotics) program at John Polanyi Collegiate Institute (JPCI) completed Engineering culminating projects recently for an impressive high tech display of electronic wizardry, art, and science.

Students were inspired to create innovative projects integrating Arduino technology and limited only by their imagination.  Arudino allows students to create innovative devices through an open-source electronics platform.  From motors for robots, to lights and sound to enhance art, Arduino brings motion, sight, sound, and interactivity to student projects.   Wall-E, Dancing Baby Groot, Robo Darth Vader and a Polar Bear DJ were some of the robotic creations of students in the JPCI SMR program that utilized Arduino's ability for robotic motion control. Others were able to integrate art and technology (STEAM) to make things like a Totoro light up music box, which integrated the use of multicoloured lights and an mp3 player all programmed by the student.  


Teacher and past winner of the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence Vernon Kee said that three JPCI students were the first in the TDSB to venture into wearable technology, which normally is developed in senior years at the Ontario College of Art and Design.  “They produced a blinking-heart t-shirt, light up shoes, and a light-up dress,” he said. This technological breakthrough integrates electronics into everyday clothing.  “Advances in electronics technology have allowed designers to hit a new level of innovation through miniaturization of parts and easier access to prototyping tools like Arduino,” added Kee.  The Globe and Mail recently published an article where it is predicted that the wearable tech market could reach $19-billion worldwide by 2018.

According to the largest Arduino supplier in Ontario, the TDSB is the first school board in Canada to integrate this technology into its programs and JPCI is mentoring and leading the TDSB on how to become more innovative with robotics and tools like Arduino to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and STEAM education for all schools. John Polanyi's program was asked to design the kits, train the coaches, and provide the lessons for TDSB STEM and Model Schools lead schools using Arduino this year. JPCI has mentored dozens of coaches and teachers on how to use the technology, and also helped start up after-school clubs, and integrate robotics into curriculum from Grade 2 and up. 

For more information on the SMR Engineering program at John Polanyi CI, visit the school's web site.

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