Monday, July 17, 2017

#MakerMonday Featuring @littleBits #MakerEd

Happy #MakerMonday everyone! I wanted to start something on my website to support those educators that are always looking for cool things for their library or Makerspace. 

A Makerspace is NEVER driven by stuff. A Makerspace is ALWAYS driven by people. The people that are part of the Makerspace community should decide what is in there based on their interests. If you are an educator looking to stick a Makerspace, I hope you have talked to your students first and asked them what they are interested in making. That should be what guides you in making your purchases. 

Featured: littleBits

Focus: Engineering, Coding, and Electronics

Grade: K-8

What is littleBits?


"littleBits makes technology kits that are fun, easy-to-use, and infinitely creative. The kits are composed of electronic building blocks that are color-coded, magnetic, and make complex technology simple and fun. Together they’re interchangeable in millions of different ways to empower kids to invent anything - from a sibling alarm, to a wireless robot, to a digital instrument."

Mission Statement: "Our kids spend more than 11 hours with electronic devices every day, but most of them don’t know how they work, or how to make their own. At littleBits, we believe we have to empower kids to be creators and inventors with technology, and not just consumers of it."

Info from their About Us Page



Personal Thoughts:

I've been a fan of littleBits for a couple of years now. I have loved introducing them to my 6 year old son. He has had so much fun creating with them. The potential is nearly limitless and that is what I love about them. 

I think littleBits is perfect for a classroom Makerspace or a large library Makerspace. The more access to the bits the students have, the more likely they are going to play and create amazing things. 

These bits are durable and can be used and used over and over again. They are like LEGO in the way that you can build one thing and then take it apart to build something else when the next fun idea hits you. 

The directions for the projects you can build that come with the kits are very well done and I love the graphics. They are visually pleasing and easy to understand. You don't really need to directions because using littleBits is pretty intuitive. My son was able to figure out what all the bits do and make his own push button flashlight. 

littleBits is constantly pushing to make new bits that appeal to more people. I love the innovative approach they have to electronics. 

Extras:

littleBits has an amazing online community where students and other inventors can share their creations and provide step by step guides to recreating their gadgets. 

They worked with Makey Makey and they have create a Makey Makey bit that can take your physical computing to the next level.


Bonus:

Ever since I saw this TED Talk by Ayah Bdeir, I've been a huge Fanboy. The more you learn about her mission to bring open source electronics to as many people as possible, the more you will fall in love with littleBits. 


Last year at ISTE, I had a chance to meet Ayah Bdeir and it was an amazing moment. Being able to meet someone who inspires you to keep making and to help as many children make as possible is always a great thing. 


littleBits is a great tool for a Makerspace that needs something to support budding engineers. With their new kit that dives into Coding, littleBits can crossover for those students who want to write code and they can work with the students that want to build the physical aspects of the project.