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Scratch Party! MIT's Scratch Day 2010 Event

It's amazing how quickly a year goes by -- I feel like I was just sharing my experiences of Scratch Day 2009.

Last year, our Scratch Day was organized as a series of concurrent workshops. It worked well as a format, but I wanted to try something different: more decentralized, more space-based, more party. And thus Scratch Party was born.

The party space was the new Media Lab complex's 6th floor, which is composed of a 100-person auditorium, a 300-person event space, and some open spaces. We used this large floor plan to organize 6 party areas: The Studio (where people could try out Scratch PicoBoard and LEGO WeDo), The Question Bar (where people could ask questions about their projects or Scratch more generally), The Cafe (where people could get snacks and hang out), The Cutting Room (where people could help out with the event's extensive documentation), The Salon (where people could attend a series of short lectures and discussions), and The Theatre (where people could present their work – in a live coding session, a talent show, and a dance party). You can see how all of this fit together in the map of the event space.



Participants were asked to arrive between 1:00 and 1:45. I hoped that participants would work on the three icebreaker activities listed on the back of the program, but most people didn't notice the activities. (And the few who did were confused by the first activity -- we'll improve it for the next iteration!)

At 1:45, we gathered in The Theatre for a welcome and opening remarks. Jay Silver (a grad student in our research group) and I were the MCs. Jay led the participants through a series of call-and-response chants. We then had representatives from each of the party areas explain what would be happening in their area. At 2:00, we sent everyone off to check out the different spaces.

I can't do justice to everything that happened in the various party areas. (I'm hoping that the party area organizers and partygoers will share their experiences of the day.) At 2:30, I co-facilitated a mini-lecture and discussion with Ingrid Gustafson about Scratch in the Classroom. I talked about various events for educators (Scratch Day, CS4HS, Scratch@MIT, and fall workshops/webinars) and talked about ScratchEd (particularly ScratchEd work done this year by ScratchEd interns from Harvard - Michelle, Robyn, and Ashley). Ingrid then shared her experiences with Scratch, showing some videos of her work with students. (She'll be part of a keynote panel at Scratch@MIT, if you haven't already registered.) I also had the opportunity to meet Lorraine Leo, a local educator who was involved in a great international Scratch Day collaboration with Yoshiro Miyata from Japan. (You can read about their project on the Scratch Day forums.)

After the session with educators, I had several organizational tasks to deal with, but I did get a chance to attend part of the Scratch dance party. :)

We gathered again as a group at 4:30 for final reflections and sharing. Each party area organizer shared an artifact and/or experience from their area. In Part II of this post, I'll share what the party areas organizers presented -- as well as some analysis/reflections of the event overall. For now, here are some Scratch Party videos, so you can get a sense of the event's spirit.







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James Robson

Thanks for sharing your Scratch Party. I enjoyed watching the videos and reading about how you organised the day. Very creative! What a fun day!