Last year whilst trawling through the internet for inspiration I stumbled upon a small child playing a piano made from mushrooms on YouTube. In that 2 minute video demonstration I was hooked!
For the uninitiated a MakeyMakey board works much like a keyboard, but allows you to turn ANYTHING conductive into a button. Link this to something like Scratch or game making software like Kodu and the possibilities are endless. I now find myself walking round pondering to myself with Makey on the brain! ‘Is a marshmallow conductive?’, ‘Can I connect it to water somehow?’. It’s becoming an addiction!
In September I started to think about how I could bring them into my classroom, and how logistically they would work with primary pupils. I’ve had experience using them with a small group, but never a full class, but I like a challenge! So far it’s gone well. Pupils showing me learning left, right and centre. Coming into class ready and engaged, so below I’ve popped down some of the real benefits of using a MakeyMakey in your classroom. Enjoy.
Hands on Learning
I often get fed up of sitting at a desk all day with the pupils, staring at nothing but a screen. With the new curriculum changes I’ve been trying even harder to take a step away from the computer. Working in Bradford however offers a certain challenge (the weather!) if I want to go outside and do something with the ipads/cameras etc. The Makey offers a halfway house on the desk for this though!
They breed and instill independent learning in the pupils, which in turn builds up their resilience to a challenge. If it doesn’t work first time the pupils need to work out why. If it does work I get them to think about how then could improve it or upscale it. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I hate hear the words ‘I don’t know how to do it’ in my lessons, especially if I’ve just spent the last 15 minutes explaining it. Due to the simplicity of the Makey this rarely happens. Pupils are free to make mistakes (often working out for the better) and learn from them independently.
Compared to the price of a Raspberry Pi (when you’ve bought all the accessories) it’s great and affordable for most Primary schools. £40 odd pound for the deluxe kit really isn’t bad for the learning you get from it.
The ideas the kids come up with when using them are fantastic. They always seem to be thinking of new ways to connect and make their work more adventurous and challenging. They also seem to add different foods to my shopping list each week! You could literally leave the pupils in a room with a ‘box of bits’ and they could be busy for hours!
Time to get Makeying in your classroom!