Episode 43 — Context

contextualelectronicsWe talk about context and learning with Chris Gammell, founder of the Contextual Electronics series of instructional videos.

  • Adam’s favorite lab course in school was Bituminous Materials, which investigated the properties and characteristics of asphalt.
  • Our guest, Chris Gammell, recently tweeted about Christmas Ale from the Great Lakes Brewing Company, and we inquire about his affection for this particular beer.
  • Chris took a few photos inside the brewery during a recent tour:
  • A list of Christmas beers (from a few years back) can be found on the Draft Magazine website.
  • Jeff mentions a cooling jacket for brewing lagers that he originally saw on Kickstarter.
  • Chris has recently launched a venture, Contextual Electronics, which aims to teach practical skills to those interested in electronics.
  • An interactive teaching method, known as Peer Instruction, was created by Harvard Physics professor Eric Mazur to overcome the difficulty that experts have in teaching concepts to beginners.
  • A book titled How to Teach Adults provided our guest with some insights about how to organize his instructional material.
  • Chris surveyed listeners of The Amp Hour podcast to determine what subject matter should be included in his instructional videos.
  • Some existing online resources, in the area of electronics, include Dave Jones’ EEVblog, the Curious Inventor website, and videos by Ben Krasnow, Jeri Elsworth and Alan Wolke.
  • Conceptual Electronics is using the open source program KiCad for designing printed circuit boards (PCBs).
  • Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are currently a popular topic in the education community.
  • Chris has been working with a beta-test group of students to smooth out the rough edges of the course.
  • Our guest took inspiration from instructional programs such as Destroy All Software and cadjunkie.
  • Fedevel Academy offers a training program for Altium Designer.
  • An introductory video program titled Getting to Blinky is available on the Contextual Electronics YouTube channel.
  • Chris is quite pleased with his experiences using Vimeo for video distribution. He has already produced 150 videos for his instructional program.
  • On a monthly basis, Chris gets together with the Charged Conversation group, comprised of electronics professionals from the Cleveland, Ohio area.
  • One of our guest’s sources for marketing ideas is Seth Godin, who often talks about the power of story-telling.
  • A project dedicated to creating all the tools needed to build a small village is Open Source Ecology.
  • More information about Chris’s instructional program is available on the Contextual Electronics website.
  • You can follow Chris on Twitter as @Chris_Gammell, and can listen to his weekly podcast with Dave Jones at The Amp Hour.

Thanks to Chris Gammel for allowing us to use a screen grab from one of his introductory videos as the main image for this episode. Podcast theme music provided by Paul Stevenson