Session 6 – Extending Computing

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Posted by Katie | Posted in Computer Programming | Posted on February 21, 2014

MaKey MaKey 

makey makey

MaKey MaKey is an invention kit that is used to enhance computer programming. Within the kit comes a USB cord, a circuit board and crocodile clips. The USB cord is used to connect the circuit board to any computer with a USB port. The circuit board used is aimed to take over the functionality of certain keys on the keyboard, for example the arrow keys.The crocodile clips connect the arrow keys  on the circuit board to  anything that is conductable, for example carrots, play-dough etc. One crocodile clip needs to be connected to the edge of the circuit board and then connected to yourself, before you can control the conductable items. Once all the wires are connected, you need to search on the internet for any games that consist of the use of the arrow keys, for example pac man. This can then be played using the MaKey MaKey kit instead of the arrows on the keyboard. 

Below is a video that we created – playing pacman using MaKey MaKey

Here is another example of using MaKey MaKey, however this time we created a piano using play dough

Finally our last example of using MaKey MaKey, consists of creating a human piano

I found the MaKey MaKey kit extremely simple to use which is essential when using this with children. I feel that this kit is a great way to engage all children in computer programming as this is a new element within the national curriculum. Through experimenting with this equipment I was completely engaged  and found it exciting and interesting to use. Therefore, I believe that children will have the same experience. When using this kit with children I advise that it is not completed as a whole class due to the fact that the kits may get mixed up or wires could be lost. This is important as if equipment is lost then the kits are very costly to purchase new ones.

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that can be connected to a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. It is a little computer which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does,  for example for spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It is a new way to introduce children to world of computer programming. The Raspberry Pi is compatible with a piece of software called ‘Scratch’. A way to introduce children to this software would be to give them the scratch cards which gives them instructions on how to create animated characters.

rasberry pi

My personal experience of Raspberry Pi is that I wasn’t really keen on it. I didn’t feel that the mini computer could do anything different to what a normal desktop PC could do. Therefore, I didn’t really see the point of it as there was too many wires around and this may be unsafe for younger children. I agree that it would be cheaper than a normal computer to purchase but personally I wouldn’t use it with children.

Let me know your thoughts on this.

 

 

 

Cargo-Bot

Cargo-Bot is a computer programming app for the iPad, it consists of programming a robot to move crates. The app features 36 puzzles, on each puzzle it allows you to record your solutions and share them on YouTube. When you have completed each puzzle it will generate the amount of stars that you deserve. You gain more stars through programming the robot using less moves. I believe that children will find this app engaging and challenging but it must be limited as children may get frustrated with the challenge.

cargo bot

 

 

Comments (1)

I think the use of MaKey MaKey looks very interesting Katie and your videos are very entertaining! Cargo-Bot also looks very engaging as well as addictive, I think it would be good for KS1 and lower KS1 🙂

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