This online community has had a recent influx of new members. Welcome to you all! The STEM Academy is a growing online community of professionals, educators, and hobbyists who are all, in some way, not afraid of making trouble.
The people in this community are the kind of people who solve a lot of problems with a screwdriver; the kind of people who don't let expertise get in the way of trying something out. This is a good community to be a part of.
Almost one year ago, about $3,000 was found in an account from one of my previous projects (the World's Largest Periodic Table). I was asked to think of something we could put that money towards. I decided that it would be a good idea to buy as many Raspberry Pi's (a device I had only recently heard of) and give them away to as many teachers and out-of-school educators as I possibly could. Google loaned us some space in their Chicago office, and bought us dinner. ScienceFIST put together a program, and was able to bring more than 90 people together and distribute 60 Raspberry Pi's. Element14 joined the effort and donated 60 SD cards with NOOBS.
That was just the beginning.
Since then we worked together on doing training in open source hardware and software for educators, After School Matters, and librarians. Element14 established this online community to give all of those groups an opportunity to interact, and that has been invaluable.
As you pick up equipment and try out projects, you will invariably run into problems. That is when an online community comes to the rescue. Somewhere amongst the hundreds of people who have some experience in what you are trying for the first time, there is an answer to your question and a solution to your problem. As a community member you will represent the solution to someone else's problem.
Thank you all for joining, and I look forward to interacting with you soon!