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6502 in Education

The 6502 is a great first step in your learning journey and has proven value in education for over 4 decades. From Apple computers in classrooms to DIY breadboard kits, this pioneering Addressable Register-Instruction Set Architecture has been used to teach millions of learners worldwide. The 6502 microprocessor continues to be a cherished tool in the educational sphere, offering a tangible avenue for learners to delve into the intricacies of computing, thereby nurturing a generation of tech-savvy individuals. Through various products and resources, the knowledge and appreciation of this pioneering microprocessor are perpetuated, fostering a rich learning ecosystem for enthusiasts and scholars alike. Here’s why learning with the 6502 microprocessor is invaluable:

  1. Proven Legacy and Modern Relevance: The 6502 microprocessor, originally released in 1975, has powered some of the most iconic computing devices in history, including the Apple II and Commodore 64. Its design principles and architecture remain relevant, providing a robust foundation for understanding modern computing concepts. By learning with the 6502, students and developers gain insights into the roots of modern technology, bridging past innovations with future possibilities.
  2. Simplicity and Accessibility: The 6502’s architecture is straightforward and easy to understand, making it an excellent teaching tool. Its simplicity allows learners to grasp fundamental computing concepts without being overwhelmed by complexity. This accessibility fosters a deeper understanding of how microprocessors work, laying a solid groundwork for advanced studies and innovation.
  3. Hands-On Learning and Practical Skills: WDC’s 6502 microprocessor enables hands-on learning, empowering students and hobbyists to build and experiment with real hardware. This practical experience is invaluable, providing the skills needed to design, debug, and optimize systems. Such hands-on learning fosters creativity and problem-solving abilities, essential traits in today’s tech-driven world.
  4. Community and Support: WDC is committed to supporting educators, students, and developers. Online resources, documentation, and community forums provide a wealth of knowledge and assistance. Learning with the 6502 connects you to a vibrant community of enthusiasts and professionals, offering collaborative opportunities and shared learning experiences.

Below is WDC’s 6502 in Education presentation.

Download WDC’s 6502 Education Presentation

6502 Educational Examples and Resources

The following links showcase 6502 projects and can provide ideas and resources for your educational needs.

  • Carnegie Mellon University Build Your Own Breadboard Computer – This is a student led course on CMU’s campus started in Fall 2023. Learn more about this inspiring class and the student projects built with a WDC’s W65C02 MPU, W65C22 VIA, and W65C51N chips.
  • RP6502 Picocomputer – SBC using a 6502, 6522, SRAM, and 2x Raspi Pico boards. This platform is being used in Spring 2024 by Notre Dame to develop a class centered around developing video games in Python to run on a 6502-based system. Resources included YouTube videos, Github for source files, and a Tindie Store where you can buy boards and kits.

6502 Embedded Intelligence Technology for Sensing, Processing, Communication and Actuating.

On each of WDC’s SBC products, you may have noticed the “EIT” logo. WDC’s IC, Board, and IP products are all Embedded Intelligence Technology (EIT), meant to help you Sense, Process, Communicate, and Actuate (SPCA) the world around you.