EDUC5199G: Critical Making - FA Module 2 - Activity #3

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LittleBits - What is it & How does it work?

LittleBits is a platform of open source electronic building blocks that uses magnets to snap together. Each littleBit serves a unique function. Through combining different bits the maker can create large circuits. There are around 60 open source modules which allows the maker the freedom to create hundreds of thousands of different projects.

There are three main littleBits circuits: power, input, and output. To branch out and extend the circuit the maker can easily add wires - these are orange in colour.


While compiling this list I was stuck by the number of pros that littleBits affords to makers. These include but are not limited to the following:

Anyone can build, prototype, and learn about these electronics.

LittleBits are simple in nature (connected through magnets) - no need to possess background knowledge in wiring, programming, or soldering (great for non-techies like me!)

They bring play into the classroom - learning through snapping the pieces together, almost like Lego's. The easy snap together pieces can be disassembled, reassembled, and re-used for future projects.

Brings STEM/STEAM learning into the classroom in an accessible manner.

The Cloudbit component allows maker to wirelessly connect their littleBits project to the internet, enabling the device to communicate with other devices.


I must admit, I found this section difficult to complete. LittleBits is such a cool and innovative product that I found it wanting in very few areas.

As with any great tech, LittleBits comes at a step price.

Although the basic Arduino coding kit is not too expensive, starting at $89 - this comes with 8 modules and 2 accessories (it's a small package). The larger workshop set which would be essential for use in an educational setting (to accommodate all learners) runs at approximately $1,999. It comes with 160 modules and 8 sets of 2 bits. This package can be used by up to 32 learners at any given time.
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  • Using products such as littleBits in the classroom is fantastic and affords students the opportunity to tinker and create with digital technologies. The simplicity and ease of use of these products serves as a solid foundation and introduction to concepts of circuitry as well as digital fabrication, which can sometimes be convoluted in nature. Moreover, these basic principles of circuitry and design empower learners to be creative in their education.

  • There is a big push for STEM learning within classroom practice. Being trained in English Literature and History makes me slightly hesitant and nervous to engage in teaching with concepts (circuity and design thinking) and in areas (math, science, engineering) where I am not familiar with the material. Having said that, I've come to realize that one of the beauties of a product such as littleBits is that it allows the user to create without fear of the repercussions of making mistakes. It offers an exploratory kind of learning in which the maker learns through trial and error. This is where the value of learning is located, in the process. If you make a mistake on one project you can catalogue this knowledge and know what not to do when working on future projects. I would definitely feel comfortable introducing this kind of digital technology into the classroom and not feel ashamed of my inexperience with these kinds of tools. I think that half of the fun of the process would be learning collectively with students what to do and what not to do with the littleBits.

  • The introduction of technology tools such as littleBits into classroom learning allows for students to create meaningful digital artifacts. The focus of creating littleBits projects is based on design thinking which requires both creative and reflective thinking processes on behalf of the students.

  • In a classroom setting using digital technologies such as littleBits removes the teacher from their antiquated role as the "sage on the stage" and instead, places them firmly in the position of a facilitator. Their primary role shifts from a lecturer to a co-ordinator, one who introduces new concepts to their students and scaffolds the learning process. This allows for the students to serve as the architects of their own learning.

  • Moreover, when working with these kinds of technologies, it's easy to accommodate students' preferred modes of learning. They can easily work in teams or individually. LittleBits leands itself to both styles, however, I would prefer creating collaborative student based learning projects. This way, if an issues arises in terms of technology use, peer led problem solving can be tapped before teacher initiated assistance. These peer conversations often present the most enriching learning experiences for both the student who is assisting and the student who is asking the question.
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Professional & Personal Uses

Professional Use
  • Integration into classroom life and practices (E.g., have students create self-watering planters)
  • Cross-curricular application potential (E.g., using the Synth Kit to connect learning in both science and music class)

Personal Use
  • I'd most likely integrate littleBits into my life through smart home technologies (E.g., wi-fi lighting, temperature control settings, timed kibble feeder for my pets)
  • My partner is an avid gamer and I think he would appreciate the potential to connect to games such as Minecraft through littleBits