What is STEAM?

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process.

What is the difference between STEM and STEAM ?

STEAM is a way to take the benefits of STEM and complete the package by integrating these principles in and through the arts. STEAM allows students to connect their learning in these critical areas together with arts practices, elements, design principles, and standards to provide the whole pallet of learning at their disposal.

Why is STEM/STEAM important?

The US Department of Education reports that the number of STEM/STEAM jobs in the United States will grow by 14% from 2010 to 2020, growth that is much faster than the national average of 5-8 % across all job sectors.

Why should I choose the BrainPad for my STEM/STEAM program?

We definitely love to talk about why the BrainPad is perfect for your STEM/STEAM needs. Don’t you want students to learn something they will eventually use professionally? We have spent years working with educators on ironing the ideal board to get started on learning programming and physical computing. We want the students to learn things they will carry on and use professionally. Skills that will apply when they are programming a robot but then they apply when they are programming a PC.

I am a teacher, how do I get started?

You simply need a BrainPad and a PC setup with the required software. All software needed is available freely. You are now ready to start transforming your STEM/STEAM experience, simply start exploring our course catalog.

Is the BrainPad limited to the on-board peripherals?

The BrainPad includes expansion headers. Those can be wired to other sensors and circuits. This is an excellent avenue for those with electronic experience or want to educate students on electronics, take wiring an external LED for example. We actually provide courses for those interested in wiring things, see more details.

I do not have any experience with electronics. How can I expand the BrainPad?

The expansion header pinout is compatible with click-modules available from Micro Electronica. There is an ever expanding list of modules available for plug and play. We provide courses utilizing the click modules, see more details.

Can I build a robot using BrainPad?

Yes and quite easily. The BrainPad comes with 2 servo motor headers. Those can be used to add two full rotation servos.

How does BrainPad work with Microsoft’s Visual Studio and C#?

The secret is TinyCLR OS. Please visit this website to learn more about it.

My students love the BrainPad but we are building something that requires more IOs, or more memory. Any options?

Yes! TinyCLR OS, the operating system running the BrainPad, is available on other “maker friendly” devices, called FEZ. FEZ (Fast and Easy) devices have no sensors on-board but have several IOs and busses, allowing you to connect to almost anything. Learn more about TinyCLR OS and FEZ at www.GHIElectronics.com.

What is my cost of using BrainPad?

Very minimal since the free community edition of Microsoft’s Visual Studio can be used and the same BrainPad can be used with students of multiple levels. The cost of the BrinPad hardware is also minimal, with special volume based educational pricing.

I use an Arduino/micro:bit in my classroom, why switch to the BrainPad?

The BrainPad is a single board with inputs and outputs onboard. There is nothing to wire and nothing to damage. Students will quickly learn the physical computing concept, while learning programming in a fun environment. They are, from day one, learning things they will carry on into the future. The BrainPad uses Microsoft’s Visual Studio as a development tool, which is the most common development tool for professionals. They are also learning a modern language that is used by millions of developers. C# is a modern evolvement of the C language, which is the most common language for programming circuits.

Can you host a presentation to my school’s board or a class for my students?

Please contact us. We would love to help.

We are on a budget but we want to help our students. How can you help?

We want to help your students as well. There are many ways we can help. Please contact us today.

Can I power up and use the BrainPad without using a PC?

Yes. Any USB power bank, the ones usually used to charge phones, can be used to power up the BrainPad. Using a phone charger is an option as well. Once the BrainPad is loaded with an application, using Microsoft’s Visual Studio, the BrainPad will always retain this application and run it when powered up.