I ran across this Flickr album posted by Josh Burker (@JoshBurker) that pretty much shows every instrument in the orchestra integrated with MaKey MaKey. Josh had the opportunity to be the “Maker in Residence” for the Westport, Connecticut Public Library for a month this summer. As you can see from his Flickr album and this video, you can do a lot with cardboard, conductive tape, MaKey MaKey, and Scratch – especially if you are a kid with an endless imagination and a bit of adult guidance.
My absolute favorite piece is the bird. You will find a video on the 2nd page that details the creation of the bird and its numerous amazing abilities. The 11-year-old girl who came up with this brilliant device is as articulate as she is innovative.
I am really inspired to challenge my students to find a unique way to use the MaKey MaKey when we do this year’s Global Cardboard Challenge. Since we only have one for our classroom, I plan to have a contest and whoever proposes the best idea will get to use it for their game. Josh Burker’s collection of images will help the students to see the amazing potential of this tool.
If you want to spend the best $50 ever on a classroom supply or birthday gift, then I would highly recommend Makey Makey – touted as “the invention kit for everyone.”
For today’s Phun Phriday post, I bring to you the most versatile piece of computer hardware that I’ve ever used. I’ve seen MaKey MaKey demonstrated at several conferences and STEM events, but yesterday was the first time I set one up out of the box. The good news for anyone who doesn’t think that you are technologically gifted is that setting it up is astoundingly simple. Don’t be fooled by the complicated looking circuit-board thingy and ten thousand wires. Seriously.
To get going with MaKey MaKey, hook up the included USB cord to the board, and the other end to your computer. There are no drivers or software installations. Hook alligator clips (ato the board and to whatever you want to use to conduct electricity to the board. When I say, “whatever,” I mean it. As long as it conducts electricity, you’re good. Bananas, Play-Do, people, pencil drawings on a piece of paper, and stairs have all been demonstrated on various videos to be good crowd-pleasers.
The MaKey MaKey instructions give you a few websites that you can go to, but you don’t have to use them. Basically, you can do anything with the board, that you can do with a computer keyboard. Just attach the alligator clips (and be sure to hold one that’s attached to the “Earth” section) to whatever commands you want to give the computer. There are different spaces on the MaKey MaKey board for the arrow keys, space bar, etc… You could even attach a clip (assuming you have that many) to each letter in the alphabet.
Of course, you can type your name with a set of bananas. But my students were immediately fascinated with the piano on our first try. I’ve embedded a video below of one of my students using Play-Doh as the piano keys.
I’ve learned with these types of things that the best thing to do is just stand back and let the students explore. They tend to do the same thing at first, but once they get comfortable the magic happens. That’s when they start getting creative, and popping out crazy ideas that might just work. We just got the MaKey MaKey, so I’m really looking forward to next week when they come back to class after mulling over the possibilities in their heads.
I am very thankful to the parent who donated our Makey Makey, and urge all of you to find a way to get at least one for your classroom. You might want to invest in some extra alligator clip wires ( I know that’s not what they’re called, but that’s what I call them) so you can hook up as many parts of the MaKey MaKey as you like. The kit comes with 6.