This post was co-authored by Ashley England and Alycia Bailey. 

The UTS Library Tinker Kits empower students to design and prototype projects, learn coding and computational thinking skills as well as build softer skills such as problem-solving, creativity and communication. Not sure how? Here’s a guide to each of the Tinker Kits and how they can help build digital literacy in your students.

hands holding littleBits components over a white tablewith a partially assembled vehicle in the backgroundLittle Bits

Use these snap together magnetic modules to create imaginative circuits. You can use these circuits to compose musical soundscapes, build robots, run experiments, or learn to code. They’re a great entry-level tool that scales up as your students master new skills. The Library has the following packs available:

Sphero robot in a taped maze on carpet.Sphero SPRK+

This simple-looking robotic ball is smarter than it looks. Controlled by a free app on your phone or tablet, this award-winning educational tool can be used to scaffold a range of digital and data literacy skills into your teaching. You can use it to develop computational thinking, run experiments, teach entry-level coding concepts, and even teach principles of quantitative data collection and management.

a hand using play doh to press a button in front of a laptopMakey Makey

This is an open-ended invention kit that connects computer programs with everyday objects (including people!). This kit acts as an alternative keyboard for any computer, giving your students the freedom to imagine what a computer interaction can look like. Level up your lessons by including coding with MIT’s Scratch and get students to create new physical and digital experiences.

an Arduino breadboard and components on a desk in front of a laptop computerArduino

Arduinos are a great way to get started with programming, circuitry, embedded electronics, robotics and even citizen science.  They allow your students to prototype electronic projects that sense and collect data, control objects and make machines. We have 30 kits that contain all the items you need to get started and a few extra pieces for the tech-wizzes among you. Check out some fantastic Arduino projects to inspire creative, practical lessons.

an orange pocketlab box with bright orange case and cords on a white surfacePocketLab Voyager

This powerful little device is packed with an array of sensors that you can use to collect data about the world. You can then export the data to a smartphone, tablet or computer for manipulation and visualisation. Supported by a free app for Android or IOS or use it with Google’s Science Journal. Useful for integrating data collection, citizen science, data visualisation, experimentation and even coding into your classroom. We have 5 of these little powerhouses in the Library.

a tripod, ball-shaped camera, cord and phone holder on a yellow surface360 Degree camera

Powerful and portable, these cameras connect to a tablet or smartphone to record and/or live stream in a full 360 degrees. Useful for creating VR-viewable content by students or recording classes. We have camera kits that support mini-USB, USB-C and lightning connections and each kit comes with:

  • 360 degree camera
  • Tripod with device-holders
  • USB connector cable to attach to a laptop

a female student with a VR headset onVR Box headsets

Love the data arena but can’t quite afford it? You can bring Virtual Reality into the classroom with our VR Box Headsets. They just require a smartphone and can be used to view 360-degree videos and apps. Send your students on a field trip into outer space, see what it was like in Hong Kong during the 2014 democracy protests, or get a front row seat at New York Fashion Week.

But wait, there’s more!

Now you’ve had a chance to read about them, we’ll be showcasing some of the Tinker Kits and the classes that have been taught with them at UTS this June in the LX.lab. Come see what’s possible with a little creativity.

Tooltime | Tinker Kit Expo | 11 June

Digital Capabilities and the Growth Mindset | 13 June

Book now!

If you’re feeling confident, you can book the kits to use in your teaching, or you can contact your Faculty Librarian, and we can help you develop a bespoke session for your students or faculty.

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