We’ve personally used the Annoyatron in a holiday workshop format so are happy to provide some recommendations on how best to use it as a teaching tool.
One of the first questions teachers are keen to ask is whether they can use the Annoyatron without sound. While kids love the idea of making a burglar alarm, the reality of 25 children all running an alarm project at the same time would be frightful for most – unless everyone has a set of earmuffs (and for the teacher possibly earplugs under the earmuffs).
The good news is that with the Annoyatron there’s a range of projects that use LED lights or can simply output results to a monitor. In addition many of the projects that do involve sound, for example, the burglar alarm, mostly can be replicated to work with sensors triggering a light rather than emitting an alarm noise.
Where you do want to run projects with the buzzers, to take the edge off the noise involved with multiple being operated in the one room you can dampen the noise by putting tape over the top of the buzzer, or taping on a small amount of dense dampening material like a strip cut off a pencil eraser.
The second most frequently asked question is how does the Annoyatron align to the curriculum. Below lists a number of Content Descriptions out of the Australian Digitial Technologies Curriculum where the Annoyatron may be used by teachers.
Foundation – Year 2
ACTDIK001 – Recognise and explore digital systems (hardware and software components) for a purpose.
ACTDIP004 – Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems.
Years 3 & 4
ACTDIK007 – Identify and explore a range of digital systems with peripheral devices for different purposes, and transmit different types of data.
ACTDIK008 – Recognise different types of data and explore how the same data can be represented in different ways.
ACTDIP009 – Collect, access and present different types of data using simple software to create information and solve problems.
ACTDIP010 – Define simple problems, and describe and follow a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve them.
ACTDIP011 – Implement simple digital solutions as visual programs with algorithms involving branching (decisions) and user input.
Years 5 & 6
ACTDIK014 – Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data.
ACTDIP016 – Acquire, store and validate different types of data, and use software to interpret and visualise data to create information.
ACTDIP019 – Design, modify and follow simple algorithms involving sequences of steps, branching and iteration (repetition).
ACTDIP020 – Implement digital solutions as simple visual programs involving branching, iteration (repetition) and user input.
Years 7 & 8
ACTDIK024 – Investigate how digital systems represent text, image and audio data in binary.
ACTDIP028 – Design the user experience of a digital system, generating, evaluating and communicating alternative designs.
ACTDIP029 – Design algorithms represented diagrammatically and in English, and trace algorithms to predict the output for a given input and to identify errors.
ACTDIP030 – Implement and modify programs with user interfaces involving branching, iteration and functions in a general-purpose programming language.
Years 9 & 10
ACTDIP039 – Design the user experience of a digital system by evaluating alternative designs against criteria including functionality, accessibility, usability, and aesthetics.
ACTDIP040 – Design algorithms represented diagrammatically and in structured English and validate algorithms and programs through tracing and test cases.
ACTDIP044 – Plan and manage projects using an iterative and collaborative approach, identifying risks and considering safety and sustainability.