Facilitating STEAM: Maximising learning with creative toolkits

Since 2014, The Cube has partnered with Pimpama State Secondary College to develop a series of toolkits and resources that can be utilised by other schools to incorporate Video Game Design and Systems Thinking into their teaching.

Adam Jefford, Head of Department for Creative Industries at Pimpama State Secondary College and 2012 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Fellow, talks us through his experience using MaKey MaKey to facilitate this process.

Describe how your students used MaKey MaKey within the classroom.

Our Year 9 Playmaker students use MaKey MaKey’s to jump start their Video Game Controller. First our students design and code their game in Scratch and then follow up by prototyping Video Game Controllers (in SketchUp) and finally 3D Printing hand held controllers to play the game.

The MaKey MaKey allows the students to focus on the relationship between form and function in their Video Game Controller designs without having to overly worry about the ‘how to’ of connecting the controller to the computer.

 How did the students respond to MaKey MaKey?

Students love working with the MaKey MaKeys. The device allows our younger students to really focus in on the haptic and interactive design process without needing to concern themselves with the ‘wiring’.

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How does MaKey MaKey connect to areas of the curriculum?

The MaKey MaKey helps students transfer knowledge across curriculum areas. For example, our Playmaker students are able to build on their learnings from Science in content areas like electrical circuits, voltage, resistance, etc. and apply these in a hands-on, project based way.

Would you recommend MaKey MaKey as a tool for learning with to other educators?

Of course! The MaKey MaKey means that students (and teachers) don’t need to be experts in PCBs, soldering, and coding to maximise their learning and focus on prototyping and designing.

Learn more about collaborative and immersive teaching experiences at Creative Lab 2015, a two-day hands-on professional development program aimed at equipping STEM educators with the knowledge and skills to innovate learning through the framework of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics).

Creative Lab is presented by QUT The Cube, Queensland Museum and kuril dhagun, State Library of Queensland.

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