Last May, we led our first Makey Makey Certified Educator Workshop where we met Mamta and Mrunal Shah! At the workshop, they introduced themselves to us as the STEAM siblings.
Mrunal Shah is the Founder & Chief Play Promoter at Sunday Bricks. At Sunday Bricks he designs theme based LEGO workshops for children, teachers and parents. He is also the Lead Facilitator for the Six Bricks program supported by LEGO Foundation. He loves combining LEGO with different STEM tools and hence he is a certified as Makey Makey teacher and a Strawbees Ambassador too. Mrunal is currently studying Play Therapy and is also an active member in the ECCE communities across India.
In Mamta's graduate level course Video Games and Virtual Worlds as Sites for Engagement, students spend 16 weeks learning about many foundational ideas, historical-current-emergent trends, and personally-relevant issues on games and learning. Her goal is to help students gain a kaleidoscopic, microscopic and telescopic view on what makes games good for education and society.
A key focus bridging how games can be used as a medium for learning is to understand the instructionist and constructionist approaches. Briefly, the former involves learning by playing games and the latter involves learning by designing and making games. To emphasize on the constructionist perspective, Mamta asked students to remix board games and the classic game of Pong on Scratch. She wanted them to gain first-hand experience on how a tool like Scratch can be used to create interactive experiences.
|"What if you aren’t just limited to bending the virtual world, but you can also bend the physical world. How can you bring together the physical and digital worlds?"|
This exercise of remixing a Scratch game allowed students to change different aspects of a pre-made game and inventing a controller with Makey Makey encouraged students to think of how their designed experience could be enhanced further. Possibilities about designing unique scaffolding for players, increasing accessibility, expanding a single-player game to multiplayer experience were explored through remixing and bending.
Some examples of the Scratch projects and Makey Makey controllers can be found below.
By not providing explicit instructions, the students were free to try out many possibilities.
At the end of the semester one group of students (Yashu Ren, Yue Yang, Yi Zhou, Yu-An Chen) blended Scratch and MakeyMakey with a boardgame. Check out this video which demonstrates how switches were modified and used for spinner wheel and dice roll actions.
Mrunal is the creative genius behind Sunday Bricks in Mumbai, India. His workshops also focus on the constructivist lens of playing to learn.
This month, his students in Mumbai participated in Kids Hack Day.
KHD is a global event for children to build, create, communicate and share their thoughts and ideas. This year the event also happened at Sweden and Bosnia.