Teaching Electronics: From Building Circuits to Systems Thinking and Programming

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter addresses a number of reforms in teaching electronics in school to reflect the technological changes and objectives of education in the twenty-first century. One necessary reform in the electronics curriculum is the shift from the traditional teaching of basic components and circuits to teaching electronic systems such as sound, control, and communication systems, with a focus on understanding general technological concepts such as control, feedback, amplifi-cation, conversion, modulation, and filtering of electronic signals. A second reform required in teaching electronics relates to highlighting the STEM view-point, particularly physics and mathematics, which are an integral part of elec-tronics. A third expected reform in teaching modern electronics is the transition from using conventional electronics hardware to programmable devices such as the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) or the Arduino microcontroller. The use of programmable controllers opens up tremendous possibilities for student projects, such as control systems and robotics, and for STEM-oriented studies, such as computerized physics and chemistry labs. A fourth change in the focus of teaching electronics is placing greater emphasis on project-based learning (PBL) in the electronics class. However, one must take into consideration that the new technologies may also lead to “doing without learning,” and students must acquire some basic knowledge and skills before being able to cope with advanced technologies and PB. In summary, electronics offers a rich, flexible, and friendly learning environment for teaching technology and engineering in K-12 education and for fostering students’ broad competences such as design, problem solving, creative thinking, and teamwork.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Publication series

NameEncyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series
ISSN (Print)1388-4360
ISSN (Electronic)1871-756X


  • Embedded engineering
  • Project-based learning
  • STEM
  • Simulation
  • System thinking
  • Task taxonomy
  • Teachers’ professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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