MaKeyMaKey: An Exercise In Emotional Intelligence? (Part I)

As part of a staff professional development opportunity last week, our PD committee approached our technology guru, Lori Jones, to share her passion for inquiry-based student-led learning, and how she utilizes it in her technology classes.

After a brief introduction to the MakeyMakey technology along with a video of her students embracing and actively creating and innovating with the very inexpensive technology, Jones challenged the staff to try a simple MakeyMakey exercise which took her students working in groups of 3-4 about 5 minutes to complete.

An Emotional Intelligence…of sorts

As Jones completed her introductory piece and revealed the challenge, a definite and palpable sense of discomfort arose from within the large group. Looking at the floor. Nervous laughter. Uncomfortable shifting. Whispering. ‘How is this PD? This is a waste of time. I have marking I need to get to.’

Ah, good! Everything is going according to plan…

Many initial reaction to our colleagues’ hesitation to even consider what Jones was sharing?


Fear of not ‘getting it right? 

Fear of looking idiotic in front of fellow colleagues?

Fear of play? 

Fear of just letting it go and seeing where the process takes you? 

Fear to not being the expert? Of not being in control?

It took several minutes for groups to self-organize, gather their materials, read through the directions, and settle in and ‘get down to business’. 

Now this is a very intelligent and highly-motivated group of individuals that assume many leadership roles within the school (of course their classroom) and within our small local community, too. And yet, it took most of the groups nearly 20 minutes to start construction on what should have been a very straightforward task. However, after several more minutes, laughter. And collaboration. And, yes learning.

It is also worthwhile noting that even within our own MakeyMakey group colleagues took on different roles during task completion. While a couple of us dove right in others held back on the fringe. One went for ‘a walk’ only to return 15 minutes later. Another began eating their snack. Another colleague wandered over to nearby groups to engage. Woe. How close was/is this to what happens in an group? Including our classrooms.

And Now What?

Lori and I debriefed after the session. Why the trepidation at first? Did our colleagues actually understand our intention for the session? Was the session successful?

More details on this in Part II later this week. Stay tuned.

To check out all the fun (teacher and student) visit our MakeyMakeyFun website.

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