Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Everyone is an Inventor with @MakeyMakey

Creating a video game with Bloxels.
       Last week, I had the privilege of working with educators from the Dayton area through Communicate Institute in conjunction with Walsh University.  The class is titled "The Future of Learning and Technology."  The course covers many concepts such as classroom design, technology in the next 50 years and implementing technology within a classroom setting.  The focus of this class is a passion of mine as I see firsthand the difference technology can make in the lives of students.  There are many aspects of this course that spark interest and motivation, but my favorite activity has to be the opportunity to put technology in the hands of educators.  One of the days we focused on coding in the classroom.  Coding has become the most discussed technological advancement as there is great demand for coding in the work force.  Some of the hands-on tools that we used were Sphero, Osmo, Bloxels and Makey Makey.  We also discussed Scratch, Scratch Jr. and   We had a great discussion about coding and how it could be implemented within the classroom, but the true learning and collaboration did not occur until I stepped away as an instructor.   After the discussion, I went to each group of educators and handed them a Makey Makey kit.  Makey Makey is an invention kit that turns everyday items such as bananas into touchpads that can be combined with the internet.  I then stood in front of the educators and said something that we don't say enough as instructors, "You have to figure this one out on your own."  At that point, some of the educators looked at me in disbelief.  The previous day we discussed strategies to figure out new technologies that they were not familiar with, so it was interesting to observe the problem solving techniques implemented. Some of them went straight to the Makey Makey website.  Others chose a different route by going to Twitter, YouTube or just plain Google.  Stepping away from the students can be very difficult at times, but at the same time can be very rewarding.  I have learned from teaching my fourth graders that being "a guide on the side" is very important for learning to occur.  Also "play" is a very important aspect of learning.  As I watched the educators with their Makey Makey sets, learning and collaboration was occurring.  Even the less tech savy educators were becoming the leaders in their group.  They were taking accountability for their learning, and they were enjoying it.  Creativity was flowing through the room!  The educators that did not feel they had anything to contribute were the ones that were stepping up in their group.  Authentic learning was occurring!   By the end of activity, it was very evident that the educators were more confident and willing to take a chance with technology.  They were encouraged to take the driver's seat in regards to their learning which in turn helped to promote problem solving skills. They were also very proud to share their creations and projects.  It definitely was a great week of learning and discovery!
"Mary had a Little Lamb"
Creating and discovering with Makey Makey.

Being Creative with Makey Makey Video