Quin Etnyre has been a featured speaker
at Maker Faires in the United States and abroad, invented a product, founded
his own company and taught introductory electronics classes to alumni of MIT
— a school he one day plans to attend when he finishes middle school and
graduates from high school.
The 13-year-old first became
interested in electronics after attending a Maker
Faire, an exposition based on the DIY maker
that promotes hands-on learning.
Shortly after that, Quin started
making things with Arduino, an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible,
easy-to-use hardware and software. He tinkered around with the platform and
invented ArduSensors, plug-and-play components for making electronic devices. He
launched his own company, Qtechknow, in 2012, and sells ArduSensor kits through sparkfun.com.
is perhaps most passionate about teaching others about electronics and promoting
hands-on learning as an education model. That's what prompted him to approach
officials at his school district last year. Arguing that typing was the only
"technical" class offered at his school, Quin and his father pitched the idea of
teachers using electronics kits in their classes. They were so impressed by his
presentation that the district now plans to have a DIY electronics program up
and running by the time Quin enters high school as a freshman in September.
Eventually Quin would like to start his own STEM
school based on the Montessori model.
According to his plan, elementary, middle and high schools would be situated on
the same campus so that older students would be available to mentor the younger
ones. "It would focus on kids just building things themselves in groups," he
said. "The teachers would occasionally have a lesson, but the kids should learn
on their own a little bit too."
technology would be the school's primary focus, Quin has ideas about how
teachers could also incorporate other curriculum areas.
think they could teach most everything, but blend it with technology — like for
language, maybe build an application," Quin said. "For some of the science or
the leadership classes, they might find problems in their community and use
technology to solve those. And for social studies, you could definitely research
and go on Google Maps and look around and view visually from really far away,
but you could still see about 360 degrees around you so it kind of feels like
you're in that place."
homework and sports — Quin loves volleyball, swimming, cross country and
track—maintaining a healthy balance is a bit of a challenge, according to his
is constantly coming up with new ideas," Ethan Etnyre said. "He has multiple
projects going at the same time. I'm not sure how he keeps them straight, but he
despite his hectic schedule, Quin also finds time to do kid things like hang out
with family and friends. Of course, he's already planning his project for next
year's Maker Faire: robots controlled by text messaging.
article first appeared in the March/April 2014 issue of Learning
& Leading with Technology.
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