Personalizing Learning with the Makey Makey and Scratch

I did a lot of reading and thinking about personalized learning last week, and this week I wanted to find a way to use my Makey Makey to personalize learning. The examples of personalized learning environments that I read about in my research last week were all very fancy – systems used computers to track student progress, learning preferences, etc. and design assignments and tasks specifically to lead each student to mastery. This is incredible, of course, but for many school districts this type of system isn’t feasible because of the cost. This week I had the opportunity to collaborate with some of my CEP 811 colleagues about our maker projects and the topic of personalized learning came up in our conversation. Someone referenced the fancy systems and how much they cost and we discussed how we can use the tools we have to personalize learning. It could be as simple as videotaping lessons so students can play them back and work through the content at their own pace. That conversation got me thinking about personalizing learning in a different way, using the tools that I have available, which at this point are computers and the Makey Makey. I think that a key component to a personalized learning environment is that “students are allowed as much time as they need to achieve mastery…rather than being forced to move on to the next topic even if they have not yet mastered the skills and understandings for the current topic” (Yildirim, 722). So, this idea of allowing students to repeat and review a concept until they have mastered it became a key component of my lesson. I also designed it so that students can receive immediate feedback about their responses and check their own understanding.

For this lesson, I created two different activities using Scratch. This program allowed me to create exactly the type of activity that I had envisioned. It took some figuring out, but honestly, if I can do it, anyone can 🙂 Several hours (and a lot of chocolate) later I am very happy with my products! I also made a controller using the flap of a diaper box, some tinfoil and tape. The controller is connected to the Makey Makey and allows students to move the sprites (Scratch characters) without touching the keyboard, similar to a video game controller. As part of the lesson, students will make their own controllers to use for the activities.


         IMG_1733 IMG_1735

So, without further ado, here is my Maker Lesson Plan.

Students will have a handout that they will complete as they follow along with the activities (this is a Google Doc copy so that it can be viewed online. The actual student version is a MS Word document and looks a little cleaner).

The activities are demonstrated in the video below, and can be found (and played!) at the links that follow:

Scratch Activity 1 – Spanish Location Word Practice

Scratch Activity 2 – Spanish Location Words Practice 2

Enjoy, and let me know if you try the games!


P. Laurain, S. Lohitsa, S. Nowak, R. Rassel, B. Rimes, A. Scott, J. Shelley, M. White. Personal conversation. June 10, 2015.

Yildirim, Z., Reigeluth, C. M., Kwon, S., Kageto, Y. & Shao, Z. (2013). A comparison of learning management systems in a school district: searching for the ideal personalized integrated educational system (PIES). Interactive Learning Environments, 22:6, 721-736. doi: 10.1080/10494820.2012.745423. Retrieved from Michigan State University:


One thought on “Personalizing Learning with the Makey Makey and Scratch

  1. I love the DIY ethos you open up with here, and the way that you connected the conversation with your classmates to this lesson plan. The interwoven nature of your goals (both tech and Spanish language acquisition) is ambitious and will likely be an interesting challenge to your students; I’m very curious to see how they will react to this.

    Pre-selecting of the pairs of students is an interesting way for you to control the environment a bit; I would be curious to see if two students of lesser ability would work through challenges in the same manor as two student of greater ability, or is the activity is simple enough that it wouldn’t cause too much of a problem. The packet you’ve provided for students to work through is a nice pacing guide for them, and certainly lets them work through the material on a “personalized” time table. Besides that, it sounds as if there’s a lot of teacher observation assessment from the teacher. I wonder if making the development of their own learning games for language practice would be a perfect assessment for this, rather than just leaving it open to whatever time might be left. It will take more time, but having students successfully build a language practice game would certainly demonstrate a mastery over the skills (both technical and contextual).

    I have to give you credit for the fantastic work with Scratch! You really did a nice job of assembling the activities, and I love that you went the extra mile to include your own recorded voice for the games. It’s a great model for the students to start creating their own!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s