In January 2017 while we were bombarded with daily news of negative imagery across our country I attended a full day MakeyMakey certification training that restored my positive outlook. During this training Tom Heck from MakeyMakey he shared a concept that I latched onto and have not stopped since. He saw an opportunity for using MakeyMakey in special ed classrooms serving students with physical disabilities. He teamed up with students from a local high school to solve a real-world problem. The high school students went into the special ed classroom interviewed and observed the environment and got feedback from the special ed students. They then began to draft a proof of concept to provide assistive technology with makerspace materials and the MakeyMakey. Tom Heck from MakeyMakey shared this video on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dln_5kYDU00
I immediately went back to my school district and requested a meeting with the Assistant Director of Special Education Department, Jennifer Chiarelli. She and I talked about the possibility and she agreed to allow me to bring my team in to meet with Dublin’s Special Ed teachers. We began with demonstrations showing teachers the potential of this tool meeting the needs of their students in classrooms.
Fast forward to next week & we will begin our first evaluation in A special Ed classroom with the goal of creating assistive technology with recycled materials that will have realized cost savings for the district. In addition to the financial benefit, my department will be able to solve a real-world problem, and mostly the students will win with reliable assistive technology that can be repaired and/or replaced for pennies on the dollar. This partnership that we now have with the Special Ed Department is another example of how powerful partnerships can be across departments at district levels in meeting the needs of students in a very direct manner.
Check back for updates and I will keep you on our journey as we continue to be awesome every day.
If you have utilized MakeyMakey in your classroom, I built Power UP! Simi Valley_TBONDE for a recent training I did in Simi Valley. Please share and let’s make more teachers even more awesome than they are every day.