If you are keen to get started with the Arduino but want something really simple that doesn't make your brain ache, then have a look at Jody Culkin's comic book approach to the subject. It's available under a creative commons license so you can just download the PDF and start reading.
It gives you a basic overview of just enough electronics to understand the circuit that you have to build around the Arudino, and the explanation of Ohm's law is good enough to use in an introductory physics class - wall poster anyone?
After this you get guidance on installing the software and running your first program. From here you learn something about the software structure and how to flash an LED, use a switch and how to use a variable resistor to dim an LED.
The ideas are conveyed accurately and often make good use of analogies. If you learn more easily by pictures, then give it a go.
On the other hand if you prefer a non-comic book approach try my own attempt at introducing the Arduino There's an Arduino for that!
Down load the PDF
Introduction to Arduino
There's an Arduino for that!
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