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Breakout Session Notes: Facilitating Scratch Professional Development (November 2012 Meetup)

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ScratchEd Team

Notes by Janet Dee from PD for Teachers breakout session at November Meetup

Teachers like the workbook/handout: one side has the content and the other side has the Scratch solution

  • They want the mapping from content to tool
  • Need concise workbook for the lesson: it’s a teaching tool

Way you do professional development with teachers depends on time, numbers and what is the end goal?

Differentiated instruction:

  • Demo of the Scratch program. Very basic
  • Take to the Scratch Site for the possibilities
  • Show the variety of subject areas that can be covered

Depends on Time:

  • The one hour thing: introduce Scratch, then get them to start exploring
  • The next part of the challenge: get a character to do a certain amount of movement
  • Next part is to share what you have done

One Hour Covers:


Second Hour Covers:

  • Decide area: storytelling, games, simulations
  • Assign specific challenges (Ideas for challenges: take certain blocks and create, take certain sprites and create)

Reflect on how it can be used in their discipline:

  • Teacher and tech person need to work together—how do you enable that?
  • Create curriculum in teams over the summer where the teams are content teacher and tech person

What is the end goal of the PD?

  • Could you have the content teachers then teach their colleagues, as in Train the Trainer
  • Or is it to have the teachers have one unit that they can implement right away 

Karen Lang’s presentation at MASSCUE:

  • She got everyone to program together: group coding
  • We will find her presentation on the MASSCUE Ning and share with others
  • She used a sandbox approach


Notes by Laura Johnson from the PD discussion at 11/10 meetup 

if you were holding a 1 hour PD session, what would you include?
Focus on tech skills rather than instructional support (i.e. how to use Scratch rather than how to teach Scratch) because 
     -the curriculum guide and Scratch cards are sufficient tools for learning how to incorporate Scratch into the classroom
     -the PD leader can’t know how Scratch will fit into the curriculum of every teacher in the session, but can instruct everyone how to use the program
          -however, it is extremely helpful for the leader to be able to offer suggestions on how to adapt the program to use in certain subjects/classroom environments i.e. foreign language, science, etc.
     -teachers want: 
          -to know what they’re teaching
          -to appear competent / a manual so they never look like they don’t know something 
          -to know how to assess student work 
          -explicit links from a process to a Scratch block 

Key components are: 
1st hour session 
     -introduction to basic capabilities of the program
     -exploring the program through samples and hands-on activity 
     -sharing/reflecting on possibilities of use in specific instructional settings

2nd hour session 
     -hands-on challenge
     -more in depth tech support 
          -context influences what types of things you need to learn within the program
               -can use context to preselect Scratch blocks/features to explore
               -building topics based on groups of blocks

There needs to be a shift from teacher/expert to responsible facilitator.
Scratch is a safe space for this type of shift – kids and teachers are learning the program at the same time

Live coding (having Scratch projected on a large screen while doing a group-think/crowd-sourced challenge) is a good way to bring this culture shift into a PD session
     -PD facilitator can model ways to deal with uncertainty/mistakes while showing how to use the program (Example: Karen Lang – MassCue conference presentation)

The format and content of a PD session depends on: 
Time available 

School policy: is the PD on something that is being integrated one classroom at a time / on a voluntary basis or something that the administration has mandated for the whole school 

End goal: should the PD participants be able to complete 1 project with the edtech by the end or be able to use every aspect of the software?
     -Depends on the participants 

Most PD leaders want to be able to “light a fire” under more than one teacher at a time – large group sessions are more valuable than 1 on 1 meetings, but it’s harder to customize those interactions
Relying on the kids to transfer their knowledge and skills to teachers isn’t enough

When you have a PD session with teachers from different subjects the format should be: 
Overview of Scratch site 
Samples showing the capability of the program
Resources on ScratchEd
Manual for initial training to Scratch use guide isn’t used

People have different preferences regarding learning how to use the program.
Individual exploring

Teachers are like kids in their enthusiasm for the program, but teachers want to get it right, want to understand what’s going on
Meta-perspective: want to connect it to the classroom 

Whose job is it to tie Scratch to the curriculum?
Tech person + teacher 
     -it’s a two way street that can move from a lesson plan to Scratch integration or from Scratch capabilities to lesson plan 

The ideal PD scenario is to work with specialized groups but a secondary way to get to that is following a train the trainer model
Teachers create their own specialized groups building off of the first, more general PD sessions and then can focus on tying things to their specific curricular topics


Notes by Rupangi Sharma on Scratch PD breakout session at the November 2012 Meetup

– Looking at a way to introduce educators who are new to Scratch by reflecting on Karen Lang’s presentation (Karen modeled her presentation at MASSCUE on the CS4HS workshop at MIT Media Lab). Involving the audience of educators by making them program along with the presenter.

– Involving them in programming in such a way that they are in the shoes of students and the presenter takes on the role of the educator- so the presentation gives educators a sample of what a classroom involved with programming through Scratch looks like and gets hands- on experience.

– We also spoke about how it is necessary to show educators all that is possible with Scratch- showing them the extent to which students can get creative with Scratch.

– It was important, we noted, to also make Scratch relevant to educators by showing them how Scratch can be used in their classroom to teach their particular subject, whether it be science, math or performing arts.

– We discussed the importance of curriculum guides and resources like the cards but, we pointed out how sometimes the variety of resources available can be overwhelming so it is advisable to point to specific resources that educators who are new to Scratch can use.

– The PD group wanted to see Karen Lang’s presentation on the Scratch Ed website