This week’s blog post for CEP811 builds on the Maker Movement, encouraging everyone to develop their inner making ability to create, and takes the MaKey MaKey kit into the classroom for use by the students in a lesson format. The Learn activities began with a rather intriguing video lecture from Richard Culetta making several key points. One key point being the technology divide in our country and dealing with those that “use technology to re-imagine learning and those who use technology to digitize traditional learning strategies” says Culatta. It is pivotal, as an educator, to create new methods for technology rather than taking traditional practices that are in place, and have been in place, and simply putting a digital spin on them rather than using the technology to re-imagine its uses (Culatta).
Taking into account my MaKey MaKey kit, I began brainstorming ideas for its use in an English Language Arts classroom as soon as I received the kit two weeks ago. This week I had to also link it to an educational theory. As I jumped into each theory, I began relating the MaKey MaKey with several of the theories I encountered. Before I give my explanation on the relationship between the MaKey MaKey kit and learning theories, first I will explain the activity I would use in my ELA classroom.
First, I will start the lesson by setting up a MaKey MaKey circuit that I can use to play a computer game. During this time, I will be following a how-to essay model that I’ve created to show the students how the circuit is set up by following the directions I’ve written in detail. As I follow the directions, I will also model how to “think aloud”. This portion of the lesson serves as the hook. Now that I’ve peaked the students interest I will show a few video clips of other similar MaKey MaKey creations by other kids using the MaKey MaKey website and YouTube. Once the students understand the concept of MaKey MaKey, the students will be divided into groups using a random group generator and each group will be expected to create their own MaKey MaKey invention. As the facilitator, I will leave the invention criteria and goals open for them to brainstorm ideas, but may make suggestions for direction as the groups begin the process, constantly keeping their goals in mind. Once they’ve brainstormed and created an invention, students will be able use prior knowledge and do one of three things, 1) Write a formal letter or a written speech to a local business owner explaining the invention and how it would contribute to their business, 2) Write a how-to essay explaining the process of how to put together the circuit including benefits and uses, or 3) Create an argumentative essay, either in favor or against, using the maker kits in other classes. The students will be expected to base their final project on prior knowledge of how each response should be set up and components included in each. Students will be expected to share with the other groups in class and assess their own work as a group.
This project is related to several learning theories, but most specifically Experiential Learning. While this is the most pre-dominant theory for this project, Anchored Instruction illustrated by John Bransford, is also used during the opening stage using videos as an explanation of objectives. The Anchored Instruction theory is based on the use of videos to reach learners. The Conversation Theory, developed by Gordon Pask, suggests that students reach a high level of achievement through different means of conversation amongst other people (Kearsley). The assembly of groups is a clear example of this theory. Experiential Learning is solely based on the needs and the wants of the learner and the experiences they go through as they learn. This is displayed by allowing the students to choose their invention type, choosing how they present their information to their peers, and allowing for self-assessment. The teacher’s role is to serve as the facilitator.
In Chapter One of How People Learn: Brain, Mind Experience and School, it states that a metacognitive approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving them (p.18). Students model this metacognitive approach when they present their projects, during project creation, and the assessment after the completed project. The Think Aloud model encourages students to continually think about their thinking in hope that the transfer will occur when they begin independently within their own groups.
The research most definitely supports MaKey MaKey and other maker kits in the classroom. Its integration can be done in any discipline and is supported by several learning theories, not to mention the students learn while having fun!
Bransford, J.D., Brown, A.L. & Cocking, (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind Experience and School. National Academies Press. Retrieved Nov. 8, 2013, fromhttp://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368
Culatta, Richard. Reimagining Learning [lecture]. Retrieved Nov. 8, 2013, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0uAuonMXrg&feature=player_embedded
Kearsley, G. The Theory Into Practice Database. Retrieved Nov. 8, 2013, from http://InstructionalDesign.org
MaKey MaKey: An Invention Kit for Everyone (Official Site). (n.d.). MaKey MaKey: An Invention Kit for Everyone (Official Site). Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://www.makeymakey.com/