January 16, 2018

Week 3: Overview of Scratch


Sayamindu Dasgupta gave a presentation in our seminar. Sayamindu started his presentation by showing a few videos of how Seymour Papert pioneered perspectives on designing technology that fosters creativity in children, and about his work done with Mitchel Resnick at the MIT Media Lab. Sayamindu touched upon the fact that computers should be used for creative expression. He discussed how programming is a way of thinking about thinking. For example, debugging can help programmers think about what went wrong, prompting them to think about their thinking in creating a program. The same concept can apply to kids thinking about their own thinking.

Sayamindu introduced us to how Scratched developed in Computer Clubhouses. He described Scratch as an opportunity for kids to learn, in a similar way they do in kindergarten, by playing with wooden blocks. Scratch is meant to enable kids to see themselves as creators and members of a community. In a couple of examples we found out about kids who use Scratch to develop creative abilities such as drawing and teaching other in the community how to do the same.

Sayamindu had a few recommendations for effective Scratch workshops: connect to the learner’s interest, connect to learner’s knowledge (e.g. neighborhoods, communities), enable learners to tell stories about what they know. He also emphasized creating an encouraging atmosphere for all and not intimidating.

Sayamindu also mentioned a few engaging features getting students engaged with Scratch, such as featuring sound output, microphone, loudness sensor, fisheye effects of the photo, using video.

Here are a few external resources that discovered during the talk :