CEP 811: Thrifty Making

For CEP 811 this week I was asked to use my makers kit and repurposed items to create a prototype of a project that could be used in the classroom. I purchased a Makey Makey Kit and instantly browsed through the quick start guide, gallery, and youtube links to get a handle on how the kit worked. Over the next few days I used the kit with bananas, chocolate wrappers, rings, candle holders, and even a metal camel to play Mario, the piano and bongos. I then stumbled upon a programming site called Scratch but decided that a first grader would have trouble using this program without lots of training and time. I spent the rest of the week completely mind boggled about what I was going to create that I could use in my classroom.

After a few days of clearing my brain, I decided to give the kit another try. That’s when I made a cat cam. My cat loves to lay on my computer when I leave the room or accidentally leave it open when I go to work. I decided I wanted to create a touch pad that took a picture of my cat when she fiddled with the computer. This took a little thinking outside the box because I had to create a way for a cat to complete the circuit. (I will explain how to complete a circuit in my video and steps below.) In any case, the touch pad worked. See Layla’s cat selfie below! Photo on 5-31-15 at 5.33 PM #2Realizing that a touch pad was easy enough for a cat to use, I knew a first grader could make and use the same thing. That’s when I came up with the idea for my students to take pictures and then make stop motion videos with the help of a Makey Makey kit.

Step 1: Gather Materials

  • Aluminum foil – leftover from a project my students completed earlier in the year (thrifted!)
  • Magazine – from my friend’s house (thrifted!)
  • Computer with camera and USB port
  • Photo Program – Photo Booth (I am currently looking for a new program that takes instant photos since Photo Booth has a 3 second timer.)
  • Makey Makey Kit – includes Makey Makey board, USB connection, alligator clips, and wires

IMG_4085 Step 2: Wrap the magazine in foil and make a foil bracelet and put on the bracelet. IMG_4086 IMG_4053IMG_4054

Step 3: Connect the Makey Makey Kit to your computer by plugging the cord into the USB drive with the other end attached to the board. If this is done correctly, the red light will be illuminated.

Step 4: Connect one end of an alligator clip to “Earth,” the silver bar at the bottom of the Makey Makey board. Attach the other end of the alligator clip to the aluminum bracelet.

IMG_4090IMG_4093_2Step 5: Connect one end of another alligator clip to the “Click” button on the Makey Makey board. This acts as the mouse that will take the picture. Attach the other end to the aluminum around the magazine and then place the magazine on the ground.

Step 6: Open up your photo program to full screen. Put the arrow on top of the button that takes the picture. Make sure your body is in the frame on the computer screen and touch your foot to the touch pad to complete the circuit. Voila, you just took your first picture!

    IMG_4094                    IMG_4095

How will I use this in the classroom? I plan on having my students create and use this touch pad to help retell a story. Students will work individually or in a group to take their own photos and make them into a stop motion video. This touchpad is a way for students to take a photo and quickly move into the next position for a stop motion video. Check out the quick stop motion video I made today!

Stop Motion Apps      iMovie Stop Motion

Multimodal Content: I feel that providing photos and a video tutorial, along with short step-by-step directions,  readers that have little to no knowledge of how a Makey Makey kit is used will be ale to duplicate this project.


Koehler, M. and Mishra, P. (2008). Teaching Creatively: Teachers as Designers of Technology, Content and Pedagogy [Video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/39539571

Update! Some of my students trying out my design for the first time!

IMG_4097              IMG_4098


CEP 811: Remixing

During the first week of CEP 811 we explored the topic of the “Maker Movement.”  So what exactly is the maker movement or a maker? In a Ted Talk, Dale Doughty says, “All of us are makers,” and then he goes on to describe makers as, “enthusiasts, they are amateurs, they are people who love doing what they do. They sometimes don’t even know why they are doing it!” Until I heard Doughty describe a maker in this way, I wasn’t even sure that I was a maker. However, in this day and age it is easy to be a maker because of technology that is available. Doughty also says that, “[Makers] want to figure out how things work, they want to get access to it, they want to control it, they want to use it to their own purpose.” So basically, anyone who re-purposes something is maker!

Keeping with the maker movement, my first assignment was to remix a video that depicted my understanding of a maker. Once again I was asked to use a new tool to create this remix. I normally use iMovie to create any type of video and Mozilla Popcorn was a bit of a challenge to get used to. I was constantly deleting pictures and words when I trying to edit other items and I took many, MANY breaks because of frustration. I also used networked learning to figure out some issues I was still having before creating my remix project. Overall, I enjoyed making the remix! Mozilla Popcorn has some really neat features that I wouldn’t be able to use in iMovie. I will continue to play around with the program in order to learn all the ins and outs, but plan on remixing some videos to use in my classroom before summer break.

When I finally got a handle on the program I was able to express my understanding of my own maker-ness, being a teacher.

Teachers are makers of makers!


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