I was at my first Scratch Conference at MIT Media Lab last week (#ScratchMIT2016). It was fantastic! I met so many awesome Scratchers, educators, researchers, developers and enthusiasts. It was wonderful, inspiring… “I came for the workshops and stayed for the community.”
I met the awesome Scratcher Bubble103 and her mom the very first evening and didn’t even know I was meeting a Scratch rockstar. I met people from all around the globe and had great conversations in between keynotes and workshops and during breakfast and lunch breaks. I have made so many connections, it is quite awesome. The Scratch team is brilliant, kind and adorable.
Here are some take-aways from the conference that I hope to implement during the (fast approaching) school year.
- read Seymour Papert’s Mindstorms
- work on parent involvement plan – the keynote about Pathways to Participation helped me understand that I need to support students beyond the school environment.
- more collaboration with the art teacher. This is the year when art and math and code will collide! I’m going to introduce Beetle Blocks and the watercolorbot. From Art Alive there was the interacting with art using Scratch and MakeyMakey piece that we might delve into. I hope we’ll do more Scratch animation, too. STEAM on.
- introduce the development of cheat codes to help debug Scratch at Code Club. Rik Cross’ workshop Practical Debugging in Scratch was super informative. Students will enjoy the idea as well.
- Scratch Jr and the Writer’s Workshop in 1st grade. Scratch Jr has come along way from the first time I saw it and I’m excited about it again. I already have a homeroom assignment with 1st grade teacher who’s tech savvy so this will not need a big sell.
- Mathematical Simulations in Scratch. I know my students are NOT high school math level students but I liked the way Patrick Honner was able to embrace the tools the students knew (Scratch) to work on real math problems. I’d like to try some math modeling in Scratch -like the Monte Carlo method. I’m going to have to see what comes up in 4th grade math class and the Math Forum Problems of the Week and see if anything looks like a good candidate to model using Scratch.
- Continue to develop this community. Now that I’ve met all of these people I want to keep in touch whether on the internets (Twitter, Facebook) or at a ScratchEd meet-up. I am definitely thinking about visiting Mags in Ireland. Who knows, maybe there’ll be a Scratch conference in the UK or Europe next year.
This all looks doable and like hard fun.