Purpose-Based Learning: Makers with micro:bits

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Tammy Dunbar  
Leon Tynes  
Dr. Melissa Wrenchey  

Two CS maker educators will share how they have adapted micro:bits for distance learning, granted opportunities and adaptive maker activities. Micro:bits can fit into any program and can easily employ standards like engineering, computational thinking and authentic problem-based learning. Leaders will also focus on grant suggestions.

Audience: Library media specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, PC, Mac
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: All materials and content can be accessed through a browser. There will be some light programming and then access to materials for users to take with them.
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Computer science, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on makerspaces or in the field.
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Both leaders work with communities of learners who are makers and engineers. Micro:bits allow for a low price point to add on peripherals and adapt the learning to adjust for cost and even fast prototyping solutions. The purpose of the presentation is to show users how to include micro-electronics in learning and engaging content. Both presenters worked with online and in person learning and use Micro:bits and project based learning for underserved learners and diverse communities. Tools included will be a OneNote take away of resources and samples in Wakelet for the users to explore.


Presenters will first demonstrate how to program with the browser tool (15 minutes)
Presenters will then show how the work was adapted for small group learning, project based opportunities (25 minutes)
Presenters will share some tips for differentiating learning with videos and student samples (10 minutes)
Workshop will finish with grant ideas. (5 minutes)
Both workshop presenters will share samples from middle school and high school computer science and maker activities. (resources provided)

Supporting research, will be primary resources. Both web resources provide relevant materials like units in maker education and computer science education for free. The power is how well content is developed and deployed so the work can be adapted for disparate settings.

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Tammy Dunbar, Manteca Online Academy
ISTE Certified Educator

Tammy Brecht Dunbar, M.Ed., S.T.E.M. teaches 5th grade in Manteca (CA) and is a 2019 Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow. She was NCCE 2021's closing keynote, 2016 California Woman of the Year, Assembly District 12, won the 2018 ISTE Literacy PLN Award for #CultivateWorldLiteracy & was a featured speaker on Microsoft’s Fall 2017 Hack the Classroom broadcast worldwide. A popular presenter and trainer, Dunbar has been featured at multiple ISTE, CUE, California Teachers Association, and Alan November’s Building Learning Communities Conferences among others. She is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Global Minecraft Mentor & Nat'l Geographic Certified Educator.

Leon Tynes, Xavier College Preparatory
Dr. Melissa Wrenchey, N. Tesla STEM High School