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Makey Makey at ISTE

July 19, 2018

The Makey Makey team headed up to Chicago this summer to join all the fun at the #ISTE18 conference!

With over 25,000 educators in attendance, there were so many amazing sessions for learning about all things #edtech. Here at Joy Labz, we wanted to highlight some of the awesome Makey Makey work for everyone who was #notatiste18.

Makey Makey Sessions

Our very own VP for Education Initiatives, Tom Heck, shared many examples from incredible educators during his session Using Makey Makey to Engage Community, Change Lives.”

He shared how educators across the US are using the Makey Makey invention kit to engage students in the classroom and the entire school community in new and surprising ways. View Tom’s session resource available here.


Emerging Technology consultants from Canada John Korassa , Trisha Roffey , Dane Sadownyk led a full workshop called “Bring your classroom alive through interactive learning with the Makey Makey!”

Here is their session blurb from ISTE:

“Learn how to hack and electrify learning in your classroom with the Makey Makey! Imagine being able to make your word walls talk, create quick reaction quiz games, turn your stories into interactive adventures and more! Students of all abilities and ages can become innovative designers using everyday classroom objects!”

Picture by Melissa Unger

These educators had tables groups work together to learn how to use Makey Makey, create musical instruments, and finally doled out a “Choose your own Adventure” challenge to particpants. I just love that they ended their session with a focus on the importance of personal choice.

The “Choose your own Adventure challenge” is definitely one of the coolest open ended pages you could easily incorporate into your own staff training if you wanted to quickly share some cool ways to integrate Makey Makey into your classroom

Check out how this teacher brought a word wall to life with Makey Makey.

These rad Canadian educators also share a plethora of ideas on how to incorporate making in education here: http://www.makerspaceforeducation.com/

Jen Gilbert, one of our stellar Makey Makey Ambassadors, led a poster session on Makey Makey as an Inspiration Station. She created this oversized Makey Makey board for teaching teachers about how to use our Makey Makey kit. (Jason Quail of Amazeum made one of these oversized Makey Makey boards too. I’ll be posting instructions on making your own in the next couple of weeks, so watch this space!)

Info and resources from Jen’s poster session is available here.

Jen and her Inspiration Station

Here is Alice Keeler with Jen’s Inspiration Station

Alice Keeler at Jen's Inspiration Station

After a long day of workshops, I shared how to “Hack poetry with Makey Makey” by creating blackout poetry or analyzing poetry with pencil drawings. The full resource to hacking your own poetry is available here.

Makey Makey Poetry

A group of teachers created refrigerator magnets as @makeymakey poetry. The concept is for kids to move around words and then other kids can fill in the extra spaces with sentences!

Refrigerator Makey Makey Poetry

Tom Heck checks out work from ISTE Makey Makey Poetry participants.

Makey Makey Fun found at the ISTE playground

Colette Cassinelli shared a great idea for integrating history, poetry, and language arts with this interactive Harlem Renaissance Makey Makey board.  

Colette Cassinelli's Harlem Renaissance Board

Josh Burker, me, and Tom in the exhibit hall!

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Makey Makey Booth

The team had a great time at the booth as well!

Busy at the Booth

Team Tetris: Each day we gave away Makey Makey invention kits to teams of four people who competed for the highest score in Tetris. Talk about teamwork, communication, and leadership! All were on display during the hotly contested games.

Sylvia Martinez (Co-author of Invent to Learn) and Josh Burker (Maker extraordinaire and author of Invent to Learn Guide to More Fun)  stopped by the booth!

Sylvia Martinez, Tom Heck, and Josh Burker

Todd Eddie (our VP of everything) took some time to visit a city park in Chicago and perform a record breaking motorcycle jump over giant bananas….

Todd Stunt Banana
We had so much fun, learned a lot, and can't wait to go back next summer! ISTE is a great chance for teachers to play to learn! Once teachers experience the power of hands on learning, they are able to turn around and take that knowledge to the classroom.
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