What is DENSI? Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute is my "teacher" camp where if I am selected, I get to spend a week with 150 educators from the U.S.A., Canada, UK, and now several other countries learning and discovery about different uses of technology as well as other amazing ideas. Last year I learned about BreakOut Edu and this year I hope to learn even more.
Presentation - Coding Beyond Code.org
This year I will be presenting with another fabulous DEN member LeaAnne Daughrity about coding on Wednesday. Our session will be very hands-on and a nice complement to the following day of the DEN Maker Playground. Below are screen shots of the website that we will be using.
DEN Maker Playground
This year I am working on the DEN Maker Playground for our unconference day on Thursday. I have been reaching out to companies to get promotional products and also to arrange hangouts where educators can talk to the people who are designing and using the product. I am really looking forward to making this happen.
I've created table flyers with QR codes for people to learn more about the product but also contribute to a shared padlet of ideas.
Ms. Mobley and Ms. Murphy showcased student passion projects where students researched an area of interest and then chose a way to share their learning. These are some of the examples of what our second and third graders created using Minecraft Pocket Edition.
Learn about Harp Seals while going on an adventure. This student created an entire environment where the player participates in a story while learning about harp seals.
Learn about circuits using redstone. This student's passion project was circuits and he showed his understanding through the creation and use of redstone in his minecraft environment.
Explore the different important parts of the International Space Station. These two students used Minecraft to show their understanding about what they had researched about ISS.
Our makers selected the challenge of creating an art bot. See this video link for the project. This project required a lot of persistence for many of our makers. Several students persisted over the course of two days but the project also taught our makers the importance of asking questions and working together.
Below you can see how the final art bots vary and the troubleshooting involved with even the final design.
This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Constructing Modern Knowledge Institute in Manchester, New Hampshire where a team of educators (Sarah Rolle, Aimee Defoe, Liane Beier, Nicole Jakubowsi) and I created a musical loom using a Makey Makey, conductive thread, buttons, foil, fabric, a cardboard box, and teamwork.
The Institute started with different people proposing a project which were displayed on large post its around the room. Next we wrote our names on which projects we were interested in. Finally a person created a banner for the project and if you were interested in that project, you joined the group. Was it a little scary to join a group of people you had never met? Absolutely. I struggled to decide if I should try something that I knew very little knowing that I would probably not be as useful of a group member or choose a project that I had some expertise.
I choose the Musical Loom. I'm a weaver so I knew about weaving. I had used a Makey Makey.... but that was where the fun got started.
Step 1 - Creating a Prototype
Step 2 - Creating the Loom
Our group wanted to use low cost materials. Cardboard was at a premium because all of the groups were using cardboard but we found the perfect box. First we removed the top flaps and cut notches to hold the warp threads. We chose to use buttons to make it easier to remove the finished weaving while maintaining pressure on the edges of the threads.
Step 3 - Connecting the Loom (First Try)
As you can see from the picture, our loom had multiple warp threads... way beyond the 6 controls on the side of the Makey Makey that I was familiar with. It was here where our group spent the majority of our time and problem solving.
How does the Makey Makey work?
We started at the Makey Makey website because some of us were familiar with the device but not everyone in our team was. We played with some of the different sites.
My personal favorite MK-1 was created by Eric Rosenbaum. It allows you to do a quick recording and then play that sound in different notes. The challenge became that this website didn't have enough controls to match our loom.
Step 3 - Connecting the Loom (Try 2)
How do I use the back of the Makey Makey?
The connections on the back of the Makey Makey are what's called "female header." They're rows of little sockets, designed for wires to stick into. One easy way to use them is with connector wires (a.k.a. jumper wires), which are wires with little pins on either end that stick nicely into the header. These come in the kit. You can also buy them separately, but be sure to get the male/male ones, like these: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/11026 Jumpers are convenient, but you can also plug regular wire into the header. Solid core wire is best, and you will need wire strippers to remove the insulation from the ends of the wire. You can also find clever ways to use stuff you already have- for example, we've found that both paper clips and safety pins work great for this purpose!
How do I remap the keys?
With a Makey Makey version 1.2 you can easily remap keys directly in your browser at this website: www.makeymakey.com/remap
Step 4 - Programming the Loom
Step 5 - Playing the Loom
The Finished Musical Loom
Using Scratch and the program we created, we could do even more....
The sounds of learning and engagement can be heard and seen. But don't take it from me... check it out for yourself through these videos or stop by and learn with us.