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Scratch Day

Scratch Day was a worldwide network of gatherings, where people came together to meet other Scratchers, share projects and experiences, and learn more about Scratch. There were 120 events in 44 different countries, and we hosted an event at MIT.

150 people attended Scratch Day MIT (a little more than half were kids and a little less than half were educators) and the event was bustling, with many different types of activities happening simultaneously. There were opportunities to meet new (and reconnect with familiar) people, share what the Scratch Team has been up to, learn what others are doing, and help people learn more about Scratch. We organized in-person activities, online activities, and workshops, so hopefully there would be something for everyone who attended.

I spent most of the day facilitating workshops. The first workshop was for people who were completely new to Scratch. The activity was Interactive Us, where participants were invited to create a project for others to learn about them and the people, issues, and things they care about. I'm really interested in people's initial experiences with Scratch: the things they find obvious, the things they find perplexing, the things they find missing. These first-time workshops allow me to see Scratch with fresh eyes and challenge my own assumptions. How do we talk about the rotation of a sprite? Or the idea of frame-by-frame animation? Or why the green flag helps with coordination?

The second workshop was a session dedicated to educators. The session had two goals: (1) to share our group's plans for supporting the network of Scratch educators, and (2) to share strategies for introducing Scratch in different educational contexts. I showed some examples of how Scratch has been used in school settings, and resources that have been (or will be) developed. I also shared ScratchEd, an online community for Scratch educators that will be launched mid-June, and other events and workshops. We then broke out into working groups, where participants discussed their experiences with (and expectations and hopes for working with) Scratch.

The final workshop focused on telling stories with Scratch. We showed some examples of stories in Scratch, like Maki-Tak's Worst Day Ever. Then we got rid of our computers and focused on the elements of a great story. Using markers and paper, we used storyboarding to outline narratives and at the end of the session we took turns sharing our stories. New collaborations were formed, and some of the workshop participants will be working together to bring their stories to Scratch.

I love the energy and activity of the Scratch online community. But Scratch Day MIT reminded me that there's something very special about people getting together. Understanding first experiences with Scratch, gathering together as a community of educators, exploring different ways of thinking about project-making - Scratch Day connected me to the people and issues that I feel most passionate about.

Scratch Project: 

I was at Scratch Day at MIT, was impressed by the energy, but was particularly impressed that the kids were just normal kids who had found something to excite them intellectually.