Everyone can be an inventor with a MaKey MaKey!

Our guest blogger this week is Marc Blanks from the Digital Learning Team

Remember when using technology in the classroom was exciting, experimental and creative? The MaKey MaKey is one tool that is helping learners to think beyond predesigned, closed activities and develop skills in thinking, creativity and innovation all while learning key skills in digital technologies and other disciplines such as science.

Have you ever had a student with great ideas and imagination, but couldn’t realise them because they lacked the resources, skills or expertise?  The MaKey MaKey helps build the connection between what is imagined and possible. It truly is the ‘invention kit for everyone’.

The strength of the MaKey MaKey is that it presents a world of possibilities- banana pianos, water based dance machines? Pet photo booths? Absolutely! Home made game controllers? For sure!  Designed by two graduate students at MIT Media Lab and funded through a Kickstarter launch, MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. The MaKey MaKey is a great example of how invention can redefine learning through the use of technology.

The beauty of the MaKey MaKey is in its simplicity of operation and vast array of ideas you can apply it to.  The MaKey MaKey uses a USB cord to connect its circuit board to your computer. The circuit board takes over the functionality of certain key on your keyboard or mouse, like the space bar or the mouse click. By simply using alligator clips -for beginners- you can connect the space bar function of the MaKey MaKey controller to the end of a banana, or a pencil line, or a piece of Play-Doh, and make that object the keyboard or mouse input. Just touch your “home made key” and you control the functionality of the space bar and more on the computer.

Watch this clip below to see just how it all works.

MaKey MaKey – An Invention Kit for Everyone from jay silver on Vimeo.

Once you have connected the MaKey MaKey and played with some pre-made apps- the real fun is in creating your own!   Scratch and Gamemaker are apps that are on the Edustar software suite which can be used easily with the MaKey MaKey to create games and interactive digital experiences.  Interactive dioramas can made where the viewer can interact with the contact on the screen by touching real objects.  When students are thinking beyond a mouse, keyboard or tablet- its amazing the creative input solutions they invent!

MaKey MaKey outlines

  • Recommended or Ages 8 and up
  • No software necessary. Operates through USB
  • Works with any object that can conduct even a small amount of electricity.
  • Multiple MaKey MaKeys can be used together
  • Runs on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux

Find out more and take it further:

A great introduction clip to the MaKey MaKey and some possible project ideas:


Looking for the best place to start?  The MaKey MaKey website is the best spot to begin; especially useful is the MaKey MaKey quick start guide.  It also includes materials and software to get going.


Scratch and MaKey MaKey are a perfect match.  Below is a quick start link on the official MIT Scratch website explaining how to connect the MaKey MaKey to your computer and use Scratch.


A starter MaKey MaKey tutorial with some good ideas to


Matching technology to learning theory enables the development of deeper learning experiences.  Here is an informative blog post from Lauren Murray exploring Multiple Intelligences and MaKey MaKey.


At the bottom of this post, Jason Webb highlights some of the materials that are available to extend the possibilities of the MaKey MaKey- including conductive, paper, tape, thread and paint!


I wonder what ideas your students will have with the MaKey MaKey?

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