Friday, May 27, 2016

Technology Ideas to Enhance Classrooms and Makerspaces

not that a classroom can't also be a makerspace, in fact some argue that every classroom should be

Here are are a few cool things you can try with students of almost any age. Some off these are expensive, some are free. Try things and share your experiences.

Hour of Code

A basic introduction to coding and computational thinking concepts.
A good starting point before moving on to other projects.

Scratch Programming

A graphical (drag and drop) programming environment for creating games, animations, interactive stories, and presentations.
  • Can be used by any students that can read (probably best in grade 3 and up).
  • Works great on Chromebooks or any other machines.
  • There is also ScratchJr on tablets for younger students.
e.g. Math with Scratch Demo” by MisterHay
Math with Scratch Demonstration on Scratch_2016-05-09_10-48-34.jpg

Makey Makey

A small circuit board for interfacing real-world things with a computer/Chromebook.
  • Use wires to connect anything conductive, the computer sees it as a keyboard and mouse.
  • Works great with Scratch
Original (3699 × 2775)

mBot Robot

mBot is an easy-to-use and inexpensive ($100 or so) programmable robot.
  • Wireless connection to the computer
  • Two motors
  • Two RGB LEDs that can be programmed to display almost any color
  • Speaker (for playing tones/notes)
  • Infrared transmitter and receiver for communicating with other mBots, TVs, etc.
  • Ultrasonic distance sensor
  • Line follower sensor (can tell whether it is on a dark line or not)
It can be programmed with mBlock, which is based on Scratch, or via Arduino code.
e.g. line follower by JohannHöchtl

LEGO Mindstorms

Build with LEGO, program with a graphical environment.

e.g. NXT-G programming by Steve Jurvetson
On a related note, check out LEGO Digital Designer (for Windows or Mac) and Build with Chrome (for Chrome).

Raspberry Pi computer

A small, inexpensive (less than $50) single-board desktop computer.
  • Just requires a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and cables.
  • KanoOS is kid-friendly and has a number of great coding activities built in.
  • Many interesting projects have been built with them.

Virtual Circuits allows students to create virtual circuits. Works on Chromebooks or other computers.

Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Headset

Very inexpensive, about $5 each.
Requires a relatively recent Android phone or iPhone (4S or newer).
Experience VR games and simulations
Watch 3D and/or 360° videos.
Students may even be able to record VR photos and videos using mobile apps.

Stop Motion Animation

On a Chromebook or any computer with a webcam: Chrome Stop Motion Animator app
iPhone, iPod, iPad: LEGO Movie Maker app, Imotion How too use Imotion
Many Android stop motion apps available as well.

Video and Audio Production

e.g. video projects, podcasts, radio dramas
Mobile Devices:

Quadcopter Drones

EIPS owns (and insures) two Phantom 3 video drones for schools can borrow.
Students can also fly smaller indoor drones such as a Syma X2.

Have fun.