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SPARKFUN TO OFFER WORKSHOPS, PRESENTATIONS AT POSSCON 2013

SFE logo

Leading conference for open source enthusiasts and experts features world-class panels, speakers and classes on open source movement

BOULDER, Colo., March 26, 2013 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, is excited to announce its participation in the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference (POSSCON), taking place March 27-28 in Columbia, SC. The conference brings together visionaries, representatives and enthusiasts from the burgeoning open source community.

SparkFun’s Director of IT Chris Clark will speak on using GitHub for open hardware. His session will address the risks, challenges and rewards of open sourcing hardware projects using a highly collaborative platform like GitHub. Clark will detail the challenges faced by SparkFun as it began loading an entire catalog of open hardware projects into GitHub and collaborating with the community to fix bugs, add features and advance the technology.

“Releasing the source is only half the battle. Collaborating with the community to improve it is what can set an open source project apart,” said Clark. “Turning to GitHub, we’re now developing a sustainable open hardware feedback loop across a wide swath of our product line.”

Lindsay Craig, one of SparkFun’s educational outreach coordinators, will speak on open source education, the emerging definition of open source education in connection with SparkFun’s upcoming National Tour (https://learn.sparkfun.com/tour), and helping educators bootstrap their tech and STEM education efforts. His discussion will highlight how to effectively use open source in education, as well as its pitfalls and advantages.

SparkFun will also host two workshops and a demo for 30 attendees. The first workshop will teach through-hole soldering with the Simon Says kit (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10547?). The second workshop will add an FTDI to the Simon kit to cover the five basic concepts in an “Intro to Arduino programming” class. For the final demo, class participants will add an XBee Series 1 (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8664?) to their Simon kits and upload new code to play Wireless Battle Mode against each other.

POSSCON is hosted by IT-ology, a non-profit center for open source IT skill development. For more information, to purchase a ticket to POSSCON or to register for SparkFun’s workshops, visit (http://posscon.org/get-registered/).

About SparkFun Electronics
Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.

SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 138 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Find SparkFun on Twitter, Facebook, Flckir, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+.

###
Press Contact:
Jeremy Douglas
Catapult PR-IR
303-581-7760 ext. 16
jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com

SPARKFUN ELECTRONICS ANNOUNCES 2013 NATIONAL EDUCATION TOUR

Company’s Department of Education embarks on nationwide tour in June, aims to bring mobile teaching unit to every state in the U.S.

BOULDER, Colo., March 4, 2013 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, is excited to announce its 2013 National Education Tour (https://learn.sparkfun.com/tour). The goal of the tour, which plans to make at least 50 stops across all 50 states, is to inspire passion for electronics in students and educators across the country, teaching lifelong skills such as programming, soldering and circuit-building along the way.

“We’re trying to bring a hands-on, kinesthetic style of learning back into the classroom,” said Lindsay Levkoff, SparkFun’s director of education. “I think the most important aspect of this technology and model of learning is that it gives students a chance to have more lasting memories of the information they’re being taught. Rather than just talking about what electricity is, we’re providing a hands-on experience for the student, which creates a deeper understanding of what they’re trying to learn.”

During the tour, SparkFun’s Department of Education (http://learn.sparkfun.com/) will teach workshops to students of all ages, as well as teachers, librarians, after-school coordinators and other educators, showing how electronics can be a vital part of education. The tour will provide teachers nationwide with the ability to introduce current, relevant technology and programming concepts into their classrooms. SparkFun hopes that by providing access to these tools, interest and education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) will improve across all age groups.

“There’s a whole different experience that seems to go on when kids see that LED blink for the first time,” said Educational Outreach Coordinator Jeff Branson. “It’s not just a flat screen anymore, it’s something that’s really happening in the real world. It’s made the material come alive for the kids. And for teachers, it renews their enthusiasm about tackling some pretty thick topics.”

The cost to book a mobile workshop on the tour is $1,500 for the first 50 stops and $2,500 for each stop thereafter. At each stop, the company will provide a “lab pack” – SparkFun’s comprehensive learning kits – chosen by the coordinator to focus on one of three concepts: programming with Arduino (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10900?), e-textiles (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10996?), or Scratch programming with the PicoBoard (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10311?). Each lab pack includes enough kits for 20-40 students, three instructors, and all the supporting materials needed to teach electronics on your own. Educators will spend the day teaching kits to students or providing professional development for educators, explaining the fundamental concepts of electronics education, and answering any questions. At the end of the day, workshop participants will keep all of the hardware and educational materials, and will be armed with the knowledge and experience to implement electronics education into the classroom.

David Hodgson, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Union College in Schenectady, New York, was the first to book a stop on the company’s National Tour.

“It seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Hodgson said. “I think physical computing and electronics have the potential to spark an interest in science and math.  There is great satisfaction in using your brain and hands to create something that you can interact with.”

To sign up for a stop on the tour, or to learn more about the National Tour and SparkFun’s Department of Education, visit (https://learn.sparkfun.com/tour).

About SparkFun Electronics

Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.

SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 138 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Find SparkFun on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+.

###
Press Contact:
Jeremy Douglas
Catapult PR-IR
303-581-7760 ext. 16
jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com

SPARKFUN ELECTRONICS TEACHES SURFACE MOUNT SOLDERING SKILLS WITH POPULAR ‘SIMON SAYS’ MEMORY GAME KIT

Course offers hands-on education for people to learn techniques for soldering surface mount components

WHO:             SparkFun Electronics’ Department of Education

(http://www.learn.sparkfun.com)

SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com) is a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation. Its products and resources are designed to make the world of electronics more accessible. SparkFun also offers classes and a number of online tutorials designed to help educate individuals about the wonderful world of embedded electronics. For more information about SparkFun’s educational initiatives, please visit Learn.Sparkfun.com.

WHAT:           The Surface Mount Device (SMD) Soldering Class is SparkFun’s very popular course that teaches SMD soldering to anyone who thinks they can’t possibly solder those little pins. SparkFun’s Education team will provide all the tools, irons, solder, parts and seats for 20 to 30 students. Attendees will be soldering the ever-popular SMD Simon Kit (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10935?) together and will have a functioning Simon Says memory game to take home at the end of the workshop.

There is a minimum age requirement of 15 years old and it is highly recommended that students have a strong background in soldering, as basic soldering skills will not be covered. Time permitting, SparkFun’s instructors may even be able to show attendees some advanced tips and tricks (flux, wicking, hot-air rework, etc.).

WHERE:        SparkFun Electronics

6175 Longbow Drive

Boulder, CO 80301

303-284-0979

education@sparkfun.com

WHEN:          January 16, 2013

6 p.m. – 10 p.m. MST

https://learn.sparkfun.com/events/24

CONTACT:   For more information on SparkFun Electronics, or to schedule an interview with SparkFun’s education team, please contact Jeremy Douglas at Catapult PR-IR (303) 581-7760, ext.16 or jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com.

 

SparkFun Electronics Selected as a Best Place to Work in Denver and a Top Job Creator in Colorado

SparkFun Receives Awards from the Denver Business Journal and Inc. Magazine

BOULDER, Colo., December 19, 2012 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, was recently honored with two awards that underscore the company’s continued growth and workplace culture. The first was from the Denver Business Journal which named SparkFun as one of the top places to work in the Greater Denver Area (http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/print-edition/2012/11/16/best-places-to-work-how-the-process.html?page=all). The second award came from the Inc. Magazine, which recognized SparkFun in its inaugural class of Hire Power honorees — businesses that are adding jobs and rebuilding the economy.

Denver Business Journal named SparkFun as number seven in its list of best places to work in the Denver area among companies with more than 135 employees. Inc. Magazine ranked SparkFun  sixth among the nation’s Top 10 Job Creators in the Consumer Products and Services category (http://www.inc.com/hire-power/list/industry/consumer-products-services) and ninth in the Top 10 Job Creators within Colorado category (http://www.inc.com/hire-power/list/state/co).

“SparkFun is very humbled to receive these recognitions,” said SparkFun director of marketing AnnDrea Boe. “These awards represent the power of the DIY community which has allowed us to continue to grow. We are now looking toward the future – particularly, in the field of education. 2013 is shaping up to be another fantastic year.”

To learn more about SparkFun Electronics, please visit http://www.sparkfun.com or to see some of what makes SparkFun a unique workplace, visit (http://www.sparkfun.com/news/876).

About SparkFun Electronics
Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.

SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 135 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Find SparkFun on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+.

###

Press Contact:
Jeremy Douglas
Catapult PR-IR
303-581-7760 ext. 16
jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com

SparkFun Inventor’s Kits Part of Vermont Statewide Education Grant

Initiative aims to spread robotics, electronics education to all Vermont public schools

BOULDER, Colo., November 29, 2012 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, is excited to announce the company’s inclusion in a new educational initiative between the state of Vermont and For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics. The groundbreaking pilot program, which is currently in place at 10 Career and Technical Education institutions, offers a $3,000 grant from the state of Vermont to each participating program.

The first $1,000 of the grant is allocated to a SparkFun Inventor’s Kit LabPack (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10900), which includes 10 complete Inventor’s Kits, plus 10 more Arduino Uno boards, Baseplates, Circuit Overlays, Breadboards and Kit Guides. The LabPacks are SparkFun’s classroom entry point and combine its ProtoSnap, LilyPad, Inventor’s Kits or Arduino-compatible through-hole soldering kits with support materials, bringing all the power of the open source community to the classroom.

The remaining $2,000 of the grant provides a portion of the fees required for a school to institute a FIRST Robotics program (http://www.usfirst.org/). FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. Currently, there are approximately 300,000 K-12 students who participate in FIRST Robotics teams and annual competitions around the country. The grant will help offset the starting cost a school needs to join the program.

“To me, the Arduino is becoming the backbone for product development,” said Douglas Webster, CTE Coordinator for the Vermont State Department of Education, who worked with SparkFun’s Department of Education to create the grant program. “We were trying to get CTE centers on board to be thinking ‘robotics/automation/integration of technologies’ and Arduino training is a step in that direction. The impact Arduino has on the Maker movement, product development and inspiring youth to become engaged in STEM education is largely untapped. It made sense to offer one grant to purchase kits for both Arduino and FIRST.”

State support for the grant program also shows a significant increase in the scope of understanding about the need to facilitate a new generation of STEM education, with a parallel understanding of robotics and electronics innovation and an open source approach to both.

“It gets the state on board promoting emerging technologies within our schools. STEM education buzz to date has meant strengthening mathematics and science. But with standardized tests and other initiatives, the system has been playing that game for decades and has shown little results,” Webster said. “By supporting enabling technologies that engage youth in creating and innovating – and the integration of the arts – we may yet see an impact on test scores. However, is it test scores we really care about, or is it the innovation? I’d say inventiveness, creation and a renewed culture of innovation. We have too many problems to solve and now, not later.”

“What’s really interesting for us is how Vermont is introducing this highly-successful FIRST system, which traditionally is not open-source, while concurrently introducing the open-source model [of SparkFun],” said Jeff Branson, one of SparkFun’s educational outreach coordinators. “Introducing them together shows a depth of understanding about the value of open source – not only its intellectual value, but its fiscal value as well – that we haven’t seen before.”

SparkFun’s Department of Education is dedicated to improving the interest and diversification in the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics fields by encouraging kinesthetic and tangible learning with affordable, accessible and relevant technologies. For more information about the company’s education program, please visit (http://learn.sparkfun.com/).

About SparkFun Electronics
Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.

SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 135 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Find SparkFun on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+.

###

Press Contact:
Jeremy Douglas
Catapult PR-IR
303-581-7760 ext. 16
jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com

SparkFun Electronics Launches Kickstarter Campaign for National Education Tour

Company will use funds for the integration of relevant, hands-on computer science education tools into classrooms across the nation

BOULDER, Colo., November 21, 2012 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, is embarking upon a nationwide education tour in 2013 and is leveraging the power of the popular Kickstarter fundraising platform to secure funding for the initiative. SparkFun’s Kickstarter campaign (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2112812006/sparkfun-national-tour) runs Tuesday, November 20, to Wednesday, December 19, with a goal of raising at least $150,000 necessary for covering the cost of transportation, equipment and staff for the company’s 50-state education tour. SparkFun’s Department of Education (http://learn.sparkfun.com) looks to build upon the success of two coastal education tours it conducted in 2012 by continuing to ignite the passion for learning, playing and creating in learning centers across the U.S.

The tour will bring a mobile education unit to every state in the nation to provide training, tools and information to both educators and their students. SparkFun’s Department of Education will provide highly-trained instructors and a full-day class, as well as donate a special edition SparkFun Inventor’s Kit Lab Pack (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10900) — $1,250 worth of tools, curriculum and equipment — to facilitate access to electronics education within schools at every skill level.

The tour will provide teachers nationwide with the ability to introduce current, relevant technology and programming concepts into their classrooms. SparkFun hopes that by providing access to these tools, interest and education in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) will improve in all age groups.

SparkFun Electronics is founded on a core idea of sharing ingenuity. Utilizing Kickstarter in a new way – to promote a way of thinking as opposed to a product – will provide an avenue to spread the company’s embodiment of the open source ideology, and its leaders’ passion for education.

“The thing we didn’t expect from teaching is that it’s not a one-way street; the ‘Wow!’ moment goes both ways,” said SparkFun CEO Nathan Seidle. “We see students’ minds blown time and time again, and we get utter joy from it. We are slightly addicted to that moment when the light bulb turns on for someone.”

More information on the national tour and the Kickstarter campaign can be found on the company’s site (http://www.sparkfun.com/news/1009) or through the campaign’s Kickstarter page (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2112812006/sparkfun-national-tour).

About SparkFun Electronics

Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.

SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 135 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Find SparkFun on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+.

###

Press Contact:
Jeremy Douglas
Catapult PR-IR
303-581-7760 ext. 16
jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com

SparkFun’s New LogicBlocks Kit Enriches Computer Science Education

New product designed to help beginners learn how to use digital logic

BOULDER, Colo., October 29, 2012 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, is pleased to announce the release of the LogicBlocks Kit (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11006) – a new educational product designed to help students and beginners explore the obscure concept of digital logic. LogicBlocks represents the first in a line of upcoming products the SparkFun Department of Education (http://www.learn.sparkfun.com) will introduce as a way of enhancing computer science education. These new products enable more creativity while teaching the fundamental aspects of understanding technology.

“The concept for the LogicBlocks came out of the frustration of learning digital logic without some form of hands-on activity,” said Lindsay Levkoff, SparkFun director of education. “The different sequences of the blocks’ orientations allow students to actually see the logic rather than just having it be a conceptual building block.”

Digital logic is the basis for digital computing and is one of the driving forces behind the world of electronics. It is essential in understanding how circuits and hardware communicate within a computer. This kit includes various blocks (such as Input, AND, OR, and NOT blocks) that snap together to create different strings of logic. Based on how the user assembles the LogicBlocks, they can see how different choices affect the output. The kit is easy to assemble and requires no soldering.

“LogicBlocks is perfect for beginners who want to explore working with digital logic,” said Jim Lindblom, SparkFun engineer and LogicBlock designer. “Users will experiment using digital logic and various inputs and outputs to get a better understanding of one of the central tenets of DIY electronics.”

The LogicBlocks Kit includes all the parts you need to start exploring digital logic and is priced at $39.95. For more information, please visit (www.sparkfun.com/LogicBlocks). For more information about SparkFun’s Department of Education, please visit (http://www.learn.sparkfun.com) and get access to free curriculum, tutorials and more information about the company’s upcoming class schedule. Also, feel free to contact education@sparkfun.com for any questions about the program.

About SparkFun Electronics

Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.

SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 135 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Find SparkFun on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+.

###

Press Contact:
Jeremy Douglas
Catapult PR-IR
303-581-7760 ext. 16
jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com

SparkFun and Parallax Join Forces for One-Time Class

SparkFun’s Education Team to teach eTextiles Workshop at Parallax Headquarters

ROCKLIN, Calif., October 19, 2012 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, and Parallax, designer and manufacturer of microcontroller development tools and small single-board computers, are pleased to announce their first ever collaborative effort – a LilyPad eTextiles class taught by SparkFun employees at Parallax Headquarters.

The idea of the class came about in August 2012, when SparkFun invited Parallax President Ken Gracey and Chief of Engineering Jessica Uelmen to visit SparkFun and present information about the Parallax Propeller Chip. Afterwards, Gracey and Uelmen reciprocated the invite and asked if SparkFun had interest in hosting a workshop at the Parallax facility in California. The answer was a resounding “yes!”

“We’re excited to offer something new to the Sacramento community,” said Uelmen. “eTextiles is a field we haven’t explored much and we are very interested in learning more about it. Working with SparkFun is something we have been looking forward to.”

The ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board (https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11262) is designed to get students started in the world of eTextiles. Combining SparkFun’s LilyPad Simple Board with other LilyPad components – a buzzer, a vibration motor, a temperature sensor, a button, a switch, five LEDs, a light sensor, and an RGB LED – the LilyPad Dev Board lets students dive right into wearable electronics. When they’ve learned how to program the LilyPad Arduino Simple Board, they can break apart the components and explore the power of the LilyPad platform.

“Working with Parallax on this class was an easy decision to make,” said AnnDrea Boe, director of marketing at SparkFun. “Parallax and SparkFun have a great working relationship and we both have the same goal of enabling the DIY electronics community. We hope this class will inspire people to venture into the world of wearable technology.”

The class will take place on October 24th at Parallax Headquarters in Rocklin. For more information or to sign up, please visit (https://learn.sparkfun.com/events/23).

About SparkFun Electronics

Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.

SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 135 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Find SparkFun on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+.

###

Press Contact:
Jeremy Douglas
Catapult PR-IR
303-581-7760 ext. 16
jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com

SparkFun Holds First Halloween Costume Contest

Three costumes featuring electronic components will be chosen for SparkFun gift certificates

BOULDER, Colo., October 9, 2012 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, is celebrating Halloween by hosting its first ever costume contest. The company will reward three lucky entrants with free SparkFun goods for demonstrating the most innovative use of electronics in their Halloween costumes. Skeptical about incorporating LEDs, sounds or animated effects into a costume this year? Don’t be — e-textiles is an up-and-coming area of the embedded electronics world that invites people from all technical backgrounds (from true beginner to expert engineer) to fuse clothing, fabric or other materials with electronic bits and pieces.

The rules of the contest are pretty simple. Participants should submit a photo or video of their costume in action, along with a brief explanation of what it is and how it works to (marketing@sparkfun.com) with the words “Halloween Costume Contest” as the subject line. Entries must be received by October 31, 2012 to be considered. Each costume must contain electronic components (the more, the better) and they don’t have to be SparkFun parts. The winners will be chosen by a panel of SparkFun employees based on creativity and engineering execution.

The first place winner will receive $200 in SparkFun bucks, second place will receive $100 in SparkFun bucks and third place will receive $50 in SparkFun bucks. Winners will be announced Wednesday, November 7, 2012. May the best costume win!

If you haven’t yet incorporated electronics into a costume, it’s easier than ever before! SparkFun’s line of LilyPad products (https://www.sparkfun.com/categories/135?) was created to ease users into the world of e-textiles. The company’s resident e-textile specialist Dia Campbell has created a new tutorial (http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/396) just in time for Halloween, which details how to incorporate LEDs and simple circuits to add electronic effects to a costume.

“What I love about LilyPad products is how much they lower the barrier-to-entry for advanced e-textiles,” Campbell said. “The jump from extremely basic LED circuits to Arduino projects can be really daunting to those who have no programming experience at all. LilyPad lets people who haven’t had a lot of experience with microcontroller circuits start slow — learning how to build the circuit, use the pins and enjoy a cool animated effect — all without coding.”

For more e-textiles ideas and techniques, check out the rest of the tutorials from Dia and SparkFun at (http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/category/16).

About SparkFun Electronics

Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.

SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 135 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Find SparkFun on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+.

###

Press Contact:
Jeremy Douglas
Catapult PR-IR
303-581-7760 ext. 16
jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com

SparkFun Electronics Department of Education Heads Out on First West Coast Tour

Three-week circuit brings mobile classroom to students, teachers and electronics enthusiasts in four states

BOULDER, Colo., September 26, 2012 — SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion for electronics creation, is excited to announce its upcoming West Coast Tour. Teachers from SparkFun’s Department of Education (http://learn.sparkfun.com/) are loading up a 28-foot RV with more electronic gadgetry than you can shake a laser pointer at and turning left at the Continental Divide for three weeks of workshops, classes and makerspace visits in four states.

After the enormous success of SparkFun’s East Coast Tour in April — where the department spent almost a month traveling, teaching technology and connecting with students and makers in the community — the decision to take a similar tour in the Western U.S. was easy. On October 12, three of SparkFun’s educators will hit the road to bring microprocessors to the masses in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington before heading back home to Colorado.

Since the tour is organized by and on behalf of SparkFun’s education initiative, the group is particularly interested in reaching out to teachers who would like to get embedded computing into their classrooms, but have been shy about doing it without some hands-on training.

“Our goal is that when a teacher makes the effort to put Arduino in their classrooms, we want to be able to help train them on the basic skills needed to get things rolling,” said Jeff Branson, one of the educators embarking on the tour. “We love spending time with the community – both teachers and students – and we know it’s tough to travel. But, this is what these trips are all about.”

The tour will include classes on Arduino, soldering, electronic origami, LilyPad and soft circuits, and SparkFun’s crew will be visiting classrooms, engineering schools and makerspaces. The dates and locations of the tour are:

Chandler, AZ – Oct.14
Los Angeles – Oct. 15 -19
Central California – Oct. 20 – 21
Bay Area – Oct. 22 – 23
Rocklin, CA – Oct. 24
Portland, OR – Oct. 25 – 28
Seattle, WA – Oct. 29

While some of the tour has already filled up, there are a number of workshops with space available to the public:

On October 15 and 16, SparkFun will be doing two workshops at the Seabase Aquatics Center. Those interested can sign-up for each event on their site (http://www.meetup.com/Long-Beach-Young-Makers/events/82219622/) and (http://www.meetup.com/Long-Beach-Makers/events/81027812/).

On October 17 and 18, we are working with the Exploratory (http://www.theexploratory.com/) to teach electronics to the younger crowd using LilyPad and the Picoboard with the Scratch programming environment. For more info on signing
up, contact info@theexploratory.com.

There is a surface-mount soldering workshop on October 22 at the Noisebridge hackerspace in San Francisco. You can learn more about the space and event, and can register for the class on their website (https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Noisebridge).

SparkFun is also happy to announce its first educational collaboration with Parallax (http://www.parallax.com/). On October 24, we’ll be running a ProtoSnap LilyPad
Development Board workshop in Rocklin, CA, and we invite you to attend. Registration can be found under the classes and events section at (http://learn.sparkfun.com/).

About SparkFun Electronics

Founded in 2003, SparkFun shares its passion by providing parts, knowledge, and innovation for those looking to explore the world of embedded electronics. It helps anyone discover their inner inventor and enables individuals to create their own electronics projects.

SparkFun currently offers more than 1,800 products, ranging from simple components, like capacitors and resistors, to GPS units and Bluetooth modules. The company employs 135 people and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Find SparkFun on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+.

###

Press Contact:
Jeremy Douglas
Catapult PR-IR
303-581-7760 ext. 16
jdouglas@catapultpr-ir.com