What is Makey Makey?

What is the “Makey Makey”?

This is an electronic invention tool and toy that allows users to connect everyday objects to computer programs.  With this device you can turn almost anything into controls for a computer: bananas, play doh, stairs, cups of water….

How does it work?

It consists of a circuit board, alligator clips, and a USB cable, and it uses closed loop electrical signals to send the computer either a keyboard stroke or mouse click signal. This function allows the Makey Makey to work with any computer program or webpage since all computer programs and webpages take keyboard and mouse click inputs.

Here’s a youtube clip explaining everything I did but with blowing-your-mind visuals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfQqh7iCcOU

Cons:

  • The only issue I have managed to find reported are the length of the aligator clips (however additional cords are inexpensive and widely available)
  • Only 7 cords can hook up to a machine at a time

Why is it useful to us as teachers?

Provides an excellent medium for students to begin to get creative and inventive with technology.  Makey Makey can be a great tool for early and/or second language learners if the teacher sets it up to assist them.  It can even be used in Physical Education as a finish line, pads to hop to and from, or attached to a hoop or goal to ring (or make any other noise) when a ball goes through it and scores! Endless possibilities!!!!

Resources:

A Ted Talk by Jay Silver (an inventor) on the Makey Makey.  https://www.ted.com/talks/jay_silver_hack_a_banana_make_a_keyboard

Educade (a website resource for teachers) wrote a whole page and many links about the many uses of the Makey Makey in the classroom. Includes How To’s for teachers as well as ideas, examples, lesson plans, and additional resources.  http://educade.org/lesson_plans/use-makey-makey-to-design-a-videogame-controller

Sparkfun website created a “quick start guide” for the Makey Makey that includes clear step by step instructions for setting up the device (with pictures and videos) as well as details on how to troubleshoot any issues.  https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/makey-makey-quickstart-guide

The Makey Makey website itself has also contains many useful resources including: their homepage (where you can find some introductory videos from the creators and some ideas for uses of the Makey Makey among other things):http://www.makeymakey.com/

Lesson Plans for teachers using the Makey Makey: http://makeymakey.com/lessons/

Their own step by step quick start set-up guide (simple and with pictures): http://makeymakey.com/howto.php

This website (written by a school librarian) has a list of lessons in various subject areas using the Makey Makey: http://colleengraves.org/maker-ed-lessons-by-resource/

 

Makey Makey is an awesome device that can be built upon in so many ways. Let ideas flow and create with all your might!

 

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