June 10, 2013
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm PST
By Educator Innovator

Scratch is designed to make coding accessible and appealing to people of all different backgrounds and interests. What are some of the diverse ways young people are creating with Scratch?

Key Questions and Comments:

  • (03:10) A lot of people see computer programming or coding as a narrow technical activity that’s suitable just for a subset of people that are interested in getting a job as a computer programmer or a computer scientist. But we see it really differently…we really see it opening up lots of new opportunities for personal expression–the same way that learning to write does–and also provides new opportunities for learning.
  • (06:48) Something that we’ve found over and over is that the best learning experiences happen when people are working on things they’re really passionate about. And, of course, people are passionate about so many different things. So it’s important to give them many different pathways so they can follow and connect with ideas they are interested in and passionate about.
  • (09:25) From a parent of a Scratcher: “I have to admit that I initially didn’t get why a kids’ programming language should be so media-centric, but after seeing my kids interact with Scratch it became much clearer to me. One of the nicest things I saw with Scratch was that my kids could add their own pictures and their own voices to the Scratch environment, which has given them hours of fun and driven them to learn.”
  • (14:16) “I’ve been doing whatever I feel like [in Scratch]. Sometimes I feel like making a game, so I make games…sometimes I just have this awesome idea for a project in my sleep and I just make it.” – Ben
  • (17:32) How do you deal with complicated projects? Is it frustrating, is it satisfying, is it all of the above? Tell us a little bit about your process of designing.
  • (21:53) What is it like interacting with the Scratch community? For someone who knows nothing about Scratch, how would you help them…what would you tell them about it and what you do in it?
  • (22:33) “I like the Scratch website a lot because people will comment on your projects and you can comment on their projects; you can ask them for help and they can ask you for help. I love the Scratch program, but the Scratch community is what has kept me on Scratch for all these years.” – Sarah
  • (27:14) What are some of the things you’ve found most challenging as you work on Scratch?
  • (29:57) You’ve been with Scratch for many, many years now. You’ve seen it go from a teeny, tiny community to a pretty big community. How do you find other people on Scratch? How do you find other projects you like on Scratch? What secret tips and tricks can you share with people who are watching?
  • (34:15) Have you experimented with programming in languages other than Scratch? What have you been doing and what has that transition been like?
  • (34:50) “I think Scratch has helped me because it’s gotten me into the basics of programming, and Scratch has inspired me a lot to learn about how a computer works.” – Ben
  • (36:58) What about connections to the physical world? Have either of you played with things like Lego WeDo, or MindStorms, or MaKey MaKey, or Scratch boards?
  • (39:30) We have a bunch of adults watching: teachers, librarians, museum educators…what advice would you give them for bringing Scratch into a learning environment to make sure that it’s kept fun and enjoyable?
  • (40:58) “My advice for getting teachers to start using Scratch for the classroom…have you ever seen those writing prompts in Language Arts class? Assign “Scratch prompts”. Get them started with a base Scratch project, and have them improve on it…Assign book report Scratches, stuff like that.” – Ben
  • (43:18) Do you have any suggestions about things that could make Scratch better, either the program or the website?
  • (46:41) “I’ve used Scratch for many years and I started getting more involved. I was called a “Collab Councilor”: I gave advice to groups of kids working together. And now I’m a moderator on the Scratch website: if somebody sees a project that might be inappropriate, they flag it, and it goes to the moderators. We keep Scratch safe and we stay involved with the community and post comments and encourage awesomeness.” – Sarah
  • (50:24) What have your parents thought about your involvement in Scratch? Do you show them your projects? How involved have they been in all of this?
  • (53:04) How is the work that you’ve been doing in Scratch influenced things you do outside of Scratch? How do you think it’s changed you?
  • (54:18) “Scratch, and programming in general, has changed the way I think about so many things….thinking about how computers think makes me think about how I think.” – Sarah

From this Series:

View the Conversation
During the broadcast, the conversation also took place on Twitter using the hashtag #connectedlearning.

Guests for this webinar included:

  • Mitch Resnick – Scratch co-developer and Head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. Mitch Resnick is the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. He explores how new technologies can engage people in creative learning experiences. He co-founded the Computer Clubhouse project, a worldwide network of after-school centers where youth from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies. Mitch also helped develop Scratch, an online community where children program and share interactive stories, games, and animations. You can Follow him on Twitter at @mres.
  • Karen Brennan – Assistant Professor at Harvard University in the Graduate School of Education. Karen Brennan is an Assistant Professor at Harvard University in the Graduate School of Education, and completed her PhD at the MIT Media Lab in the Lifelong Kindergarten group. Karen studies how participation in the Scratch online community and how professional development for educators can support young people as creators of computational media. You can Follow her on Twitter at @karen_brennan.
  • Ben Aubin – has been using Scratch since Kindergarten; he is 10 years old from Austin, Texas
  • Sarah Otts – has been using Scratch since middle school and just finished her freshman year as a Computer Science major at the University of Oklahoma

Resources for this webinar:

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