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2015-01-25. By Kelly.
Over the summer at a Kenan Institute, I learned about Makey Makey kit. A crazy name for an electronic device! With this little device, students can create game controllers to fruit piano. After seeing how easy this device is to use, I quickly wrote a grant to get six kits and start a Makerspace Club at our school. This was the hook I was looking for to set up a geeky electronic club that could entice a culturally diverse group of students. I knew I would get the boys who were electronic geeks but I also wanted to get a strong female base.
Our fist Makerspace Club started in September 2014 and now in January 2015, our club still has a strong female base. The female base has fluctuated from ninety percent at some club meetings to ten percent. Culturally, we are diverse but some weeks my African American students and Latino students just don’t show due to lunch bunch make up work or cheerleading meetings.
Here are some things that I learned. First when inviting new members make the experience easier by telling them to bring two or three friend. This strategies has been a huge hit. Also my ELL (English Language Learners) love Makey Makey. I have had two students that speak practically no English. Both students are able to communicate with other students better when they are focused on a project. They also learn faster because they can watch and use the techniques they see. Second, have a next step for your club. Makey Makey is fun and it is an entry level devise that help students see new possibilities. Within three club meetings, it was evident that I needed to consider next steps for the students who have electronic experience. Raspberry Pis are a great next step. Easy to use and great documentation available to support the students while they try out new projects.
Our Makerspace Club is a pet project for both Patrick and I. We plan and dream of the next steps of this community. Some of the dreams that Patrick has introduced is the Blue Stamp Engineering Project. The Makerspace Club will continue to grow and be a fun way for Patrick and I to provide an DIY outreach program for students.
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