Skip main navigation

Round up

A round up of everything that you discovered and experienced in Week 1
Laptop with micro:bit showing Maker Code

Welcome to the end of Week 1. How did it go? Let’s look at everything you achieved this week and what you can expect in next week’s activities.

This week, you learnt exactly what is physical computing. You explored examples of real physical computing in the world. Did you read any examples from the discussion board? You might be surprised what your fellow learners mentioned there.

Before you went ahead to learn about the architecture of physical computing, you looked back at the history of physical computing. From looms to calculators to Ardunio, physical computing has a surprisingly long and rich history. Next week we’ll look at more contemporary real world examples.

We broke down physical computing into software, hardware and ethics. You saw how physical computing enables you to do many things. You don’t need to build the hardware and code the software, you just need to know what the possibilities are. You could also try to research about different sensors, actuators and development boards, or try out some micro:bit programs on the simulator.

Ethics may not have been the first thing that comes to mind when you’re making, but perhaps it should. We should all stop and think when we’re making something that is interacting with people: what are the ethical decisions behind this project? Who is making these decisions? Are they even being considered? We hope that you’ve learnt about the importance of ethics in physical and day-to-day computing.

In the final activity we showed you a case study of a project that we’ve worked on that is happening in UK schools right now: Energy in Schools. You explored how to recognise the hardware from the software and discussed the ethical questions at the heart of the project. We hope you shared your reflections with the other learners on this course.

Now, onto next week. We’ll be moving onto the areas of creative physical computing, careers and the Internet of Things. We’ll show you creative projects that use physical computing, and ask you for examples. We’ll look at people and companies who work with physical computing and what skills they have, and explore pathways and careers in physical computing.

Finally, we’ll move on to the future: the Internet of Things. Physical computing seems to be heading in this area, but what is it? We’ll talk to experts in this area for their opinions on where physical computing is going.

Looking forward

What did you most enjoy about this week? What areas did you struggle with? Did anything surprise you?
What are you looking forward to next week?
Share your thoughts with your fellow learners in the Comments and we’ll see you next week.
This article is from the free online

Introduction to Physical Computing

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now