Remapping Makey Makey Keys (or what it’s like to think about learning)

Here’s where I would write about how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything.  But who has time for apologies?  Not me.

The reboot of my DIY/Maker senior seminar started back in January.  After a conversation with Christina Jenkins back in November, I decided to give the class a little more structure focus.  I think it’s helped.

Right now there are four groups of 4-5 students who are rotating through Makey Makey, Arduino, 3D modeling/printing, and e-textile stations.  We’re spending about eight days at each station.  Each rotation is followed by debriefing/project show-and-tell and reflections, which you can read here.

Today, a student asked how she could remap the keys on her Makey Makey so she could more notes on this virtual keyboard.

Virtual KeyboardMy internal monologue went something like, “I did this back in December with a sound effects machine.  I’ve totally got this.”

Only I didn’t.  AND I was being observed by another teacher.  Enter flop sweat and mumbling and lots of, “Uhhhhh….”

Now that I’m in the comfort of my own home and all performance pressure is removed, I do totally have this.

And I’m going to write it down, so I don’t forget.

SparkFun has amazing tutorials.  This Makey Makey Advanced Guide tutorial seemed to be just what was needed.

I downloaded the Makey Makey source code and opened it up in the Arduino IDE.  I remapped the inputs to play a range of keys.

remapped keysHere’s what I forgot to do:  change the board to Leonardo in the Arduino IDE and change the serial port.  When I verified the code, I kept getting all kinds of error messages.  Growing frustrated and confused, I decided to step back and actually read the SparkFun tutorial carefully.

DirectionsFor whatever reason, I don’t have the Makey Makey add-on (probably need to fix that), but one of the error messages in the Arduino IDE mentioned only working with a Leonardo board, so I selected Leonardo from the list of options.

So first steps:  Select the correct board….

Boards… and make sure you’ve selected the correct port:

PortsOnce that was done, I remapped the D5-D0 pins and the up, down, left, and right arrows so that the virtual Makey Makey keyboard has 10 playable notes.

It’s not particularly revolutionary stuff here people, but that’s ok.  I’m writing it down so I don’t forget, and so I can make a little more sense in class tomorrow.

I guess some of the more interesting stuff is what I learned.  Here’s what I know:

  • It’s hard not knowing when you and others think that you should know.
  • It’s disorienting jumping into another person’s project.
  • I’m surprised by how much of a visual learner I am.  The fact that two blue alligator clips were used was equally disorienting when I don’t think it should’ve been.
  • I also like to write out my remapping plan on paper before actually doing it.

Again, not revolutionary, but the semester is still young.  The night, however, is not.

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