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MassCUE Conference Workshop Video

Last month, Mitch Resnick, Karen Brennan, and I hosted a Scratch and PicoBoard workshop at the MassCUE Conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA.



We design workshops in a way that allows teachers to have experiences similar to those of their students, using a design-based approach that is full of opportunities to engage in design activities, pursue personal interests, interact through creative collaborations, and reflect on experiences. The structure of our workshops usually includes some core elements -- having participants meet one another, introducing Scratch, creating projects, sharing experiences, preparing for next steps -- which we've documented in the "Designing a Scratch Workshop" guide.

As the documenter of the workshop, I was able to capture footage of some of the approaches that were used. Here are three aspects of the workshop design I tried to highlight in the video:

  • The importance of creating comfort and atmosphere: In the video, you can see the importance of setting up the room. Mitch and Karen changed the room setup quite a bit, moving tables and chairs around to create "pods" in order to facilitate group interaction. They also brought candy to inspire the Halloween theme and folders with information about Scratch, ScratchEd, and the PicoBoard for participants to use and take home with them.
  • The importance of scaffolding and hands-on learning: To introduce Scratch, Mitch and Karen modeled the activity that the participants would be doing -- giving enough structure to get started, but enough freedom for participants' to explore their interests. Karen presented some basic blocks and imported a haunting background and bewitching character from the library, while Mitch used the camera and microphone to personalize the project with his picture and voice-over narration. When it was the participants' turn, Mitch and Karen were available to answer questions. Staying true to the hands-on approach, I noticed that Mitch and Karen talked through problems with the participant, but made sure that the learners maintained control of the mouse and keyboard. 
  • The importance of collaborating and sharing ideas: I could see that everyone really enjoyed learning and sharing their projects with one another. At the end, Mitch and Karen facilitated a discussion on collaborative learning methods. People shared thoughts about the activity and reflected on the learning approach. Participants commented on how rotating and viewing their neighbor's work was a powerful and useful strategy for learning new blocks or techniques or to debug their own code.

It was a spooktacular day! Special thanks to all who attended.