MaKey MaKey is a set of wires and a circuit board (as shown in the picture).
My Step by Step guide to setting up a MaKey MaKey:
- Plug in the USB into the computer
- Plug in the other end of the USB to the circuit board
- Attach wires to the circuit board and the other ends to a material that is a conductor (playdough, carrot, banana, human etc)
- Attach a wire to the circuit board where it says ‘earth’ and attach the other end of the wire to yourself
- Find something that requires the following keys to work: left, right, up, down, space, enter
- Play the game!
Below are a few examples of ones that I have created:
It is actually very simple to put together and has excellent cross curricular links. I’m guessing you’ve already thought about the links to science and the use of circuits. The two can be taught side by side.
You could also link it to Design and Technology. The children could design and make something that could hide all of the wires, so that it is a fully contained product with just one wire coming out that connects to the computer – similar to a games console controller.
What I personally love about MaKey MaKey is how easy and versatile it is. As shown above, you can connect it to a game such as Pacman, but you can also connect it to the likes of Scratch, where the children can program their sprites accordingly and then play their own made game using their MaKey MaKey controller.
Rasberry Pi is, in short, a tiny computer that costs £26! Bargain!
All you have to do, is connect the relevant wires (mouse, keyboard, screen, internet cable) into the Pi, and you have a fully working computer. Once it’s all connected correctly, that children can use the computer as they would a normal one.
When I used the Pi, I programmed a character on Scratch to dribble with a basket ball whilst running across the screen (as shown in the video clip below).
Cargo bot is a free app for Ipad’s that uses computing skills to complete levels on a game. The goal is to move particular boxes around to create the given picture at the top of the screen. However, you have to program the lever to do so. Once you get through a couple of levels, you have to start adding in loops (where you are making the lever repeat a set of instructions over and over again) or you won’t have enough space to complete the manoeuvre.
I really like that it is done in a game format. It will therefore engage children more as it is something they would personally choose to do. Because it is free, the children can also get Cargo Bot for their own Ipad’s at home if they have one, so they will therefore be applying their learnt skills at home too.
The app is something that the children could use in a computing session, and it could also be made available to the children during their choosing time (they see it as just playing a game, but actually they are practicing their computing skills!)
As I am sure you are all aware of by now, the idea for future assessment is to eradicate levels – this may or may not please some of you. However, the question then arises, “how will we be able to tell where is child is working at?”
A shared document has been created with an example idea of how to assess in computing. The document breaks down computing into Digital Literacy, Computer Science and Information Technology. From these three strands there are then a range of “I can…” statements for each key stage and suggestions of how a child can achieve that.
Below is another document which give further ideas on assessment. Again it uses Digital Literacy, Computer Science and Information Technology (in a coloured coded grid format – nice and visual) however, the main different with this one is that there are less statements for each key stage and it goes up to KS4, whereas the shared document is much more focused on Primary and covers KS1 and KS2 only.
Development of my computing skills
Before coming to university, I would describe myself as computer illiterate! I used the computer for emails, basic research, PowerPoint and Microsoft Word.
Now… I have surprised myself! I can (on a basic level) using computing skills to create a game. I have learnt how to program sprites in Scratch and become familiar with other programs that are going to enhance my ability to deliver outstanding lessons. I shall no longer use PowerPoint as the only source of ICT in my lessons. Now, I will use Prezi and Photopeach, Animoto, Make Dice Lite, Animation, Scratch, BeeBot, Cargobot, and so many more. I know that I am still not a pro when it comes to computing and ICT, but I feel much more confident at being able to incorporate these into my lessons (and not just ICT lessons I might add) to ensure that my class can access the learning as easily as possible and in a fun way!
How ICT can be used to enhance both teaching and learning
I hope that throughout my blog the impact upon teaching and learning is evident. I went on to read a document about the true effects ICT has upon teaching and learning: Using ICT to Enhance Learning
- It’s fun and engaging
- It supports out children for the future world of technology
- It develops collaborative work
- It develops problem solving skills which can be used across the curriculum
- Gets children to engage in higher order thinking
- Can allow children to demonstrate their learning in another subject through ICT
- It can speed up the learning process
- Through using ICT, allows teachers to not waste time writing on the board, which in turn can allow for more learning time to occur
- It fits in with what children do outside of school
For many more activity ideas to use in your own classroom, please check out the Resource Bank which is full of amazing ideas, how to use them and who they are suitable for.