Thrifting

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This week we were asked to return to what we had previously learned about TPACK and creativity when it comes to technology in the classroom. To do this we were asked to read an article and to watch a 45 minute video.  In the article Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century: Crayons are the Future, the author Punya Mishra says “The TPACK framework emphasizes the importance of teacher creativity in repurposing technology tools to make them fit pedagogical and disciplinary-learning goals” (Mishra, 2012, p. 14).  In today’s classroom, I think creativity and technology need to go hand in hand to create a successful learning environment.

Next, we were asked to choose a maker kit that tickled our fancy.  I decided to buy the MakeyMakey kit.  I am a creature of habit, and I always look at reviews before I buy anything.  The reviews for the Makey Makey were great, so I bit the bullet and purchased without thinking twice.  I am very pleased with my purchase.  I truly felt like this kit was the best fit for my lacking gadget expertise

 

Through my exploration of my Makey Makey kit I have to admit I was slightly overwhelmed.  I mean the kit itself is pretty easy to use, but my ideas were a complete jumbled mess when I was done playing.  In one instance I was excited to see what ideas I could come up with and put into place using my kit.  However, there was a great part of myself that questioned how I would really use this kit in my classes.  I will be teaching English next year (to 7th and 8th graders).  I have to wonder if something like this would be lost in an English classroom.  however, from reading the article I realized that this is not necessarily true.  Mishra writes “We need a conception of creativity that upholds disciplinary knowledge and differences, but also uses certain thinking skills that look across disciplinary boundaries for creative solutions and outcomes” (Mishra, 2012, p. 15).

 

To start out I decided to see what this kit was all about, so I played with a penny.  All I could say was “this is pretty cool.”  I was pretty impressed with how easy it was to get started with the kit. My next step was to have my husband hold onto to one of the clips and see if the light would also turn green.  To my surprise it did.  I’m sold. 

Then came the hard part.  I wanted to figure out how to attach sound to my kit.  I read through the MakeyMakey website’s how-to section and I found an amazing wealth of information.  One specific website that I found to be incredibly useful was SoundPlanet.  This site is so easy to use, I felt like an expert after only a few minutes.  I was able to find great sound links on the SoundPlanet home page.  Here I found a drum pad called beatpad.  I used these sounds with the WASDFG keys.  It was so cool to be able to play with the connectors to see what happened when I touched them.  Even my kids stopped what they were doing and came to see what mommy was playing with.

 

 

After beatpad, I went to the site Soungle.  Here I was able to play a little more with a variety of different sounds.  It was here that I came up with my thrifting idea.  I cannot help but say I was pretty jazzed with my new Makey Makey understanding.  My thrifting idea all stemmed from hearing the “fighter plane squadron” sound clip from SoundBible.

 

 

Then came time for me to go thrifting.  I have to admit this was incredibly hard.  I have exactly 1 thrift store in my town, and to be honest it is not a great thrift store. I was able to find a few cool ideas.  I actually got to take 2 whole pictures before the store owner asked me to stop.  What I found was a kid’s robot and a really cool silver platter.

 

photo(1) photo

 

After I realized I would get myself kicked out if I took anymore pictures, I decided to put my phone away and just browse.  To my surprise I found a really cool framed WWII propaganda poster.  I was a little disappointed at the price; they wanted $25.00 for it.  I know for a fact I could get a pretty close reprint for a fraction of the cost.  However, I had found what I was going to do for my dream big project.

 

In my research I found a really amazing website (http://www.instructables.com/id/Interactive-Art-With-Bare-Conductive-and-a-Makey-M/#step1) where a painting was used with a Makey Makey kit.  I was more than intrigued.  WWII is one of my favorite eras to teach.  So when I found this print, I wondered if I could adapt what I saw on the website and make it work for my classroom.  I figured the sky is the limit, so let’s go.  My idea is to have a paining with sound effects (like the fighter squadron) that can be triggered as I am reading a short story about WWII.

 

To do this, it is important to follow these steps:

 

1.   Get a WWII print.

 

2.  Get a Makey Makey kit.

 

3.  Buy a Bare conductive paint pen (http://www.adafruit.com/products/1306).

 

4.  After you have gathered all of your materials, you need to figure out what sound files you would like to use.

 

5.  First you need to download SoundPlant.

 

6.  Then you need to open a new keymap and click on the letters WASDFG.  I assigned a different color for each key.

 

7.  Next, you need to download individual sound files.  The files I found to be most useful for this project were at SoundBible.

 

8.  Then you need to assign individual sounds to the keys WASDFG.

 

9.  To make sure my Makey Makey was working properly, I followed the directions in the box and hooked it up.  I connected the connector wires and found that my sounds worked well.  Now comes the hard part.

 

10.  Next I will poke 6 pin size holes in the print.  pull 1 connector wire through each of the 6 holes.

 

11.  Next use your conductive paint pen and cover the connector wires on the front of the print (make sure the ink dries completely).

 

12.  Put each connector wire in the correct position on the Makey Makey.

 

13.  Plug the Makey Makey into your computer.

 

14.  Take one of the alligator clips and connect it to the earth position on the Makey Makey.

 

15.  Grab the other end of the alligator clip and touch one of the painted spots on the print to make sure the sounds work.

 

16.  Grab your short story and begin reading.  As you are reading and touch the painted spots on the print to enhance the reading experience.

 

 

I know this may seem simple to some, but I am so excited about it I may just try to do this before school starts.  Let’s hope my excitement does not lead to a project that makes me lose my mind 🙂

 

References:

Mishra, P., & The Deep-Play Research Group (2012). Rethinking Technology & Creativity in the 21st Century: Crayons are the Future.  TechTrends, 56(5), 13-16.

 

10bitworks. (2013). Interactive Art With Bare Conductive and a Makey Makey.  Retrieved on July 9, 2013, from http://www.instructables.com/id/Interactive-Art-With-Bare-Conductive-and-a-Makey-M/#step1.

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