By Michael Patrick Wall

In this 5-minute Spark presentation, I will overview the Makey-Makey invention kit and briefly describe how and why it can be used in a classroom setting.  I will describe a project in an instrumental music classroom where this was integrated and the thought process behind the technological integration.  

The Makey-Makey is a small circuit board that connects to your computer through a USB cable and allows the user to turn almost anything into a proxy for a computer key.  By connecting anything that conducts electricity to the Makey-Makey via alligator clips, you can use everyday items to play music, games, or engage in a variety of other computer based activities.  Makey-Makey opens up a world of exploration that is quickly and easily accessible to teachers and students.  In this presentation, I will discuss the Makey-Makey in general as well as specifically how utilizing the Makey-Makey can help music educators expand the notion of creative music-making activities and allow for more varied and technological musical experiences within the classroom.

Within my own instrumental music classroom, I engaged in a project with three of my students.  Using the Makey-Makey, they experimented with various ways to make music, ultimately deciding to combine their love of music with art and robotics and create a working clock that played music as the hands passed each number.  This opened up a number of other possible music-making activities, such as performing acoustic music along with electronic music – combining art, robotics, and electronic music with traditional music-making activities.  In this presentation, I will describe and share examples of student work as well as describe the process of integrating the Makey-Makey into the classroom.  

Audience members who have not heard of Makey-Makey will take away a basic understanding of what it is and what it can do in and out of the classroom.  Audience members already familiar with Makey-Makey will see an example of a project done in a public school classroom as well as gain insight into the thought process behind the project so that they may feel more comfortable integrating it into their own classrooms.

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