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A Tinkering Workshop: Using Bluetooth Speakers, Physical “Sprites,” and Scratch to Extend Narrative Possibilities.

Create new possibilities for storytelling in Scratch with dialogue between 2D and 3D sprites.
First, watch this video introduction: (about 2 minutes; this movie also includes a layer of animation to make it fun.)

More and more, wireless devices are becoming part of everyday life. Our phones and computers connect wirelessly to fitness trackers, speakers, and toys. Most kids will grow up using this technology in some way, but will they have the opportunity to create with it?

While tinkering with miniature bluetooth speakers, I realized that they could be used for wireless narrative projects in Scratch. Kids could create “sprites” in the physical world that have an audio output controlled by Scratch but are not connected to the computer with wires. This offers the potential for storytelling that has a more theatrical feel as sprites (actors) and props occupy more space. It expands a story beyond the computer screen.

This workshop offers a design scenario to prompt kids to imagine a narrative between sprites on the screen in Scratch and external sprites made from felt, paper or other craft materials. It asks kids to include an extra layer in the design process where they have to consider the extent of affordances made available by wireless technology. And, as kids tinker simultaneously in the physical world and in the digital world, they will have the opportunity to generate lots of new ideas to test.