Sharing

Learning to code can be supported in a wide range of settings, not just at home or at school. Join us for a conversation with a teacher, a parent, a museum educator, and a librarian about coding across contexts.

About The Speaker(s)

Keith Braafladt is currently the Director of the Learning Technologies Center at the Science Museum of Minnesota, as well as a working artist. He is an experienced teacher and developer with a deep understanding of learners and the creation of learning environments in informal settings.

Ingrid Gustafson is an Instructional Technology Specialist in Cambridge Public Schools, Cambridge, MA. She has been using Scratch in public schools, both integrated throughout the school day and in after school settings, since 2008.

A librarian by trade, Jennifer Nelson is a Specialist at Minnesota's State Library Agency. From 2008-2011 she ran Media Mash Up, an IMLS-funded project that brought Scratch programming to libraries across the U.S. With Keith Braafladt, she is the author of "Technology and Literacy: 21st century Library Programming for Children and Teens".

Sunia Trauger is the mother of two children, Sean (10) and Leila (7), who have been actively participating in the Scratch program at their school for over a year. Sunia and her husband are scientists by training and learned to program at a much later age.

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Resources

ACTIVITY OF THE WEEK:

Create a Scratch Studio with projects that would be useful for others whose work and interests are similar to your own. Share your Studio with the Google+ Community.

Download a PDF of this session's Livestream Chat archive

Access the collaborative document of key points, insights, questions and resources from this session (open to public comments)

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Key Questions and Comments

  • (03:01) In the past, people have often tended to...imagine the individual coder sitting there by himself or herself at the screen. And we think about it as a much more social process.
  • (08:54) What are some of the things you see young people learning as they code? Some of the reasons for why you think it's been useful, in your settings, to engage kids in coding?
  • (11:18) The first time that I've actually seen [my son] really enjoy learning and being self-motivated is with Scratch...Learning to think logically...it's been a wonderful thing to see him really into it instead of saying, "I don't like school."
  • (14:40) You don't have to be an expert coder to provide kids an opportunity to learn this way. The "low floor" that Scratch brings along is perfect in the library setting because it's just about letting the kids have access to the tool and opening up and being OK with them experimenting...
  • (20:16) The museums are...making new kinds of interactions where people who are coming in can actually change and co-author the experiences. They're starting to help us build the experience as well as use the experience.
  • (20:52) What are important elements [in starting a Scratch group]? How do you do that?...What are other strategies other people have tried in terms of inviting people into a first experience with programming?
  • (24:21) How can you find readable projects [on Scratch]?...It's great to start with remixing...but sometimes people look at projects...and it's intimidating or hard to understand.
  • (26:22) What else does it take to make programming work in each of your settings, and what are some of the big challenges?
  • (31:03) I think not only creating a good environment, but a good social environment where you learn a little bit about each of the people who might be around--I think that's essential. That's how good teachers work. And then being able to share that in some way supports each individual's ideas and their craft.
  • (35:29) When you look at all of the people in each of your learning environments, what are the different roles that people play? And what do you do to support those interactions between people?
  • (41:02) [In the Scratch online community,] I noticed this real freedom of really young kids and expert kids always giving me suggestions. It flattened my whole idea about how to learn in communities...[youth] have a platform in which they can help anyone.
  • (42:56) 'Is there life beyond Scratch?' What do people transition to, and what other types of activities circulate around it?
  • (46:52) We've had these sort of parallel Scratch classes for parents and kids...in the parents' class, we spend time talking about the social nature of gaming but we also have them make a Scratch project. We have the kids basically do one of our Scratch classes. At the end of the class, they share the projects with each other. Parents have a safe space to be learners...
  • (50:20) My son makes and downloads Minecraft mods...it's just wonderful to see kids actually changing things on the computer instead of being passive recipients.
  • (52:57) What advice do each of you have for a parent, a teacher, a librarian, and a museum educator who's interested in getting involved in the "coding is for everybody" movement but hasn't done anything yet?

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List of Hangout Participants

  • Mitch Resnick - Scratch co-developer and Head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab
  • Karen Brennan - Assistant Professor at Harvard University in the Graduate School of Education
  • Keith Braafladt - Director of the Learning Technologies Center at the Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Ingrid Gustafson - Instructional Technology Specialist for the Cambridge Public Schools
  • Jennifer Nelson - Specialist at Minnesota's State Library Agency
  • Sunia Trauger - Scientist and mother of two young Scratch users ("Scratchers")

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