Back to School with This Circuit Playground Class Scheduler

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Back to School with This Circuit Playground Class Scheduler

Wow, have kids’ class schedules become so complicated that they need a dedicated computer to track what classes are on what days? Probably not. But the complexity of John Park’s son’s schedule at least inspired a cool project idea: a class scheduling computer built around the Adafruit Circuit Playground.

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I love the fact that digital high-technology has become affordable enough that an amateur/semi-pro is able to put something together that is this sophisticated and product prototype-ready. Sure, not everyone owns a laser cutter, but most of us now have access through a local makerspace, library, TechShop, etc. You could also just do this in cardboard, foamcore, etc, or just skip the display altogether.

Again, I don’t see a lot of people doing this project as a serious scheduling tool for their kids, but it shows you how you can use such products as the Circuit Playground board and available maker tools to solve real-world problems in a surprisingly sophisticated way. Imagine how much it would’ve cost to prototype something like this, to this level of professionalism, just a few years ago.


John’s Class Scheduler is little more than a programmed Circuit Playground board and a surrounding analog display used to indicate what the displayed results mean. The issue John’s son faced was that his classes where at different periods on different days. So, to keep track, John programmed the Circuit Playground’s on-board NeoPixel LEDs so that one side displays the days of the week and the other the classes his son has during which periods. Press the day button on the right and then the period button on the left and it shows you which class is which period by lighting the period in the appropriate class color (and there is a color key on the printed display panel). So, if you press Wednesday, for instance, and then the second period button, it will display a blue LED which is math class.

You can see John’s full tutorial to accompany the video on the Adafruit Learning System.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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