Gadgetronicx is an educational website and online community of electronics enthusiasts who share their creations, ideas, and tips and tricks for working with electronics and bringing ideas to life. Founded in April 2012 by Frank Donald and powered by many Enthusiasts around the world, members can learn from and share their projects with readers across the globe.
Recently Gadgetronicx started an interview series called “Meet the Motivators” which interviews makers around the world who are educating and inspiring others. We were so excited that they selected our founder and CEO, Jen Fox, as their first Motivator! Gadgetronicx collected questions from their member base which Fox answered. Here are some excerpts of the interview:
Q1: What you enjoy most? Being a Maker or Educator ?
Both! Being a maker helps me be a more effective educator because it puts me in the position of a student. And being an educator helps me be a better maker because students teach me things, inspire me, ask great questions that make me curious to know more, and help me figure out what projects folks are interested in. It is a beautiful and perfect blend ?
Q4: Why JenFoxbot ?
Hah good question! My actual last name is “fox” but it is a hilariously common name. Which meant all of the standard handles I was trying to get were taken! So randomly one day when I was in college I said “oh I dont know jenfoxbot” and it was available! So I gobbled up all the emails and usernames I could get my hands on and it stuck! Fun fact: the first name of my company was “foxtronics”, but I switched it to “foxbot industries” because allows me to have a broader scope and mission. And it just sounds better!
Q7: Interesting Raspberry Pi project ever built ?
The pi is so awesome!! I love that it is an affordable computer, which makes it a powerful way to build custom electronics projects. Personally, I am fascinated with the ability to convert a pi into a local access point! For my Halloween costume last year i was a “server” — I used a Pi to host a local webpage where people could order candy, and then I delivered it to them ? I want to dive into that project again at some point and make a personal and local chat app for places that dont have cell service! Here is a link to that project: http://foxbotindustries.com/turn-pi-local-server/
Q8: Modern Education system is so flawed in my view, Your opinion ?
Hah. That is certainly a big topic! Yes, there are many problems in the US educational system. The current method of standards implementation has resulted in teachers being forced to “teach to the test”, which means students are largely memorizing rather than understanding. Personally, I believe this has contributed to a view that science is a collection of facts (which one could then choose to ignore), rather than an understanding that science is a process of asking questions and seeking answers. I am working hard to help provide standards aligned curriculum that teaches understanding. It is very hard for educators to do all of the things, especially with huge class sizes and little resources. So I am trying to make their lives easier and better by creating more effective curriculum and educational approaches to learning. My hope is that once enough teachers adopt a project based method, the school districts, state and federal policies will update
Q9: Advice to budding Electronics Engineers or Enthusiast ?
Practice and get experience in the areas you are interested in and want to learn. Build up/point to a portfolio of projects you have done solo and with groups. Go to job fairs and figure out what you like and don’t like. What do you like doing and where do those jobs exist? Think creatively and talk to people. Be candid about what you want to do and where you are at. Seek mentors in the fields you want to work in and ask for their advice and suggestions for people and companies. And perhaps most important: be well rounded! Learn about humanities, cultures, and history. Talk to and be friends with people who are different than you. Talk to people who will be using the things you create so you can better meet their needs. By understanding the diverse world we live in, we can create better and more effective products!
For the full interview, visit the Gadgetronicx website. While you’re there, check out some of their members’ projects to learn more about electronics and tech!