Baltimore-based Liberty Elementary School is a refreshing reminder that it is in fact possible to be a neighborhood public school that takes a holistic, 360-degree view of student performance. Far too often in the debate about education reform, we're pitting teachers against technology, or dangerously narrowing our definition of education to academic content mastery as demonstrated by standardized test performance.
Teaching "innovation" is tough because you are trying to trigger a whole range of skills at once. Ryan Read (@Ryan7Read) has a series of blog posts about this. In this post he looks at using Makey Makey as a complementary exploration of innovation with 4th Graders.
Makey Makey is a natural fit in our 4th grade class, because it bridges two concurrent units. The first is a unit on electricity and magnetism. The second is a unit on technology and innovation. Since Makey Makey relies on completing a circuit using conductors, it's a great extension for exploring completed circuits and the use of conductors. Used in conjunction with Squishy Circuits, it can really expand students' concept of conductors. But because Makey Makey blends the physical world with the virtual world, it's also a great way to explore innovation.
My goal is to (1) train 5th grade teachers of the normal functioning students to use the Makey Makey as a tool to teach introductory engineering and design skills. Then (2) after the 5th graders have some skill using the Makey Makey, challenge them to make Assistive Technology solutions for the kids in their school who live with disabilities.
I already have two elementary schools ready to pilot this project. Once I get the model wired I’ll share the curriculum online and train teachers online as part of my work with EPICS K-12 at Purdue.
Please reach out to Tom if this is of interest to you.
Tom has done some amazing things in the past, so it's really exciting to see what will be achieved with the resources of Purdue.
Lindsey Own (@LindseyOwn) has put together a great blog post about her week long programming course for 6-8 year old students. She has provided some great resources.
This past week, I taught my "Physical Computing" camp for 6-8 year-olds... and we actually learned some programming in 5 3-hour days! (And I really mean "we"... there's no better way to learn something better than to teach it.) The idea was generally: Scratch and MakeyMakey.
One of my goals this school year is to create the projects I am assigning to my students. One of the projects is creating a homemade instrument. For mine, I am making a homemade electronic drum kit with the MakeyMakey and samples in Scratch.
"four-year-old daughter has managed to connect the kit" ~BBC
"by far the coolest Kickstarter project" ~Kotaku
"turns the whole world into a keybaord" ~Engadget
"a lot of enthusiasm and love" ~Wired
"crazy, inventive experiments" ~PC World
"We love a good diy project" ~LIfehacker
"So small, so quirky, so simple, so awesome." ~Contiki
"Mind explosion in progress." ~Indie Cookie
"turns your alphabet soup into a keyboard" ~New Scientist
"Edison meets OK Go" ~Cool Material
Order Your Kit Includes MaKey MaKey, Red USB Cable, 7 Alligator Clips, 6 Connector Wires
Who's Behind This?
Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum have both been working with invention kits for the last decade.
They are the people who brought you Drawdio and Singing Fingers, and they have been on the
Scratch programming language team in the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT.
The kit is based on research at MIT Media Lab, and the circuit was designed in collaboration with Sparkfun. The original funding was Kickstarted.
Eric Rosenbaum is a doctoral student in the Lifelong Kindergarten group, where he creates new technologies at the intersection of
music, improvisation, play and learning. His projects include software for finger painting with sound, painting with light,
improvising with looping sounds, and creating interactive behaviors in 3D virtual worlds. His recent speaking appearances have
included TEDx Pioneer Valley, Economist Tech Frontiers, and Dust or Magic App Camp. His work has been shown at venues including
San Francisco Exploratorium, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, San Jose Tech Museum, and the OFFFmatica and
Eric holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Technology in Education from Harvard University. He also holds a Master's degree in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT Media Lab, for which he developed Jots, a system to support reflective learning in the Scratch programming environment.
Jay Silver lives in Florida and is Founder/CEO of JoyLabz/MakeyMakey. Before that, he was a PhD student at MIT Media Lab where he won a Lemelson-MIT Award for Invention and Innovation.
He was Intel's first ever Maker Research Scientist. Time named one of his
inventions "Top 15 Toys for Young Geniuses." Jay has given talks at TED, PopTech, VMWorld, etc.
He has exhibited internationally at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Exploratorium, Ars Electronica, etc.
Jay studied electrical engineering at Georgia Tech where he was named Engineer of the Year. He was awarded a Gates
Scholarship to earn a master's in Internet Technology from Cambridge University. He also holds a master's in Media
Arts and Sciences from MIT Media Lab where he invented "Camera for the Invisible."