Learning with Minecraft

Many in the media and the academia have touted Minecraft as a hotbed of learning. Learning with Minecraft studies how children might learn spatial reasoning and programming skills within and around the game. We are currently conducting a comparative study of student collaboration under two conditions: 1) Completing a construction task in a traditional Minecraft server; and 2) Using the MakeCode interface in Minecraft Education Edition. Additionally, we are using screen capture and eye tracking technologies to collect data and investigate spatial reasoning processes in Minecraft gameplay.

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Multicraft + Tangicraft

Multicraft + Tangicraft works on multimodal interfaces to empower individuals with physical impairments to play and create in the popular video game Minecraft. Multicraft utilizes Gaze and Speech to replace the traditional mouse and keyboard interface. By looking at a location on the screen and uttering a command, users can build in the Minecraft world. Tangicraft utilizes tangible blocks with webcam detectable codes. Users can construct a physical structure in front of a webcam and call it in the Minecraft world by pressing a button on an Arduino microcontroller. Our team is currently conducting user tests to drive iteration on our initial designs.

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IMR (Imagine, Make, Repeat)

IMR (Imagine, Make, Repeat) works with educators to plan and implement Makerspace technologies and projects in classrooms and Makerspaces throughout Evanston and Chicago. IMR has appeared at STEMFest, YEA! festival, and has collaborated with Chute Middle School, MetaMedia at the Evanston YMCA, and the Evanston Public Library. Going forward, the IMR team looks to further develop and expand partnerships with educators and making communities across the Chicagoland area.

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This team works on developing data-capture devices that provide educators with real-time multimodal learning analytics. We use ReSpeaker Core v2.0 microphone arrays to show educators what keywords have been said, a discussion timeline, direction of speech, and emotional tone indicators. We are also working to incorporate body pose estimation into our analyses. We have tested our devices in multiple classrooms and are continuing development and testing in the coming months.

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FamJam! engages children and their families in a making, learning, and bonding experience. Over three sessions, families use low- and high-tech tools to create a game based on a family narrative or story. We seek to understand how we can meaningfully engage families in “making” activities both in facilitated makerspaces and at home.

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Sports Analytics

Recent estimates suggest that 70% of youth participate in sports, whereas fewer than 20% participate in out-of-school STEM experiences. The Sports Analytics project imagines how unlocking new curiosities within athletes could transform the landscape of STEM learning, both in terms of who participates and types of innovations that emerge. In partnership with local organizations, we create learning environments where students are introduced to ways that technology can help them improve their athletic performance, and ways that sports can improve their understanding of STEM concepts. We provide participants the opportunity to explore statistical questions that are meaningful to them, with tools such as wearables, Python statistical packages, and R programming tools prominently used by data scientists.

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Past Projects

Tinkering with Music

Tinkering with Music worked closely with a local afterschool youth club to develop activities that marry making with music appreciation. The curriculum invites middle school participants to build instruments and take part in collaborative active listening and discussion activities.

Global Aid Refugees (GAR)

Global Aid Refugees (GAR, pseudonym) worked with tiilt to implement maker culture activities in after school and summer programming for refugee children ages 5-17 years old. Past activities include making games to creating tactile picture books using low and high tech fabrication tools and materials. This collaboration ran throughout the school year and during the summer.

Mekatilili Fellowship Program

The Mekatilili Fellowship Program is a project in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab. This project aims to support Kenyan students and professionals in developing technologies within the context of agriculture, accessibility, and design for manufacturing. We have partnered with three local Kenyan companies in order to allow the participants to design for real applications using the ESP8266 IoT boards and IBM Watson. The organizations work within the realms of accessibility, agriculture, and design for manufacturing. Some of the applications students began developing include auto-correcting humidity systems for growing crops, a system to save 3D print status in case of a power outage, and a stabilizing spoon. The aims of this project is to provide opportunities for students to apply their technical backgrounds in a real world setting and create lasting relationships with the local Kenyan partners to help support innovation.