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Scratching into an Hour of Code

Written by Christina Cantrill
December 09, 2013

Mitch Resnick, as the head of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab,  talks about kids not just learning to code but about coding to learn. At this year’s NWP Annual Meeting in Boston, Mitch and his colleague Karen Brennan from ScratchEd, worked with a group of us to dive into Scratch and to play with the idea of coding to write and coding to learn.

Today is the first day of an Hour of Code and over at the ScratchEd website they are offering the Interactive Holiday Card that we played with in Boston. It’s really fun! You should check it out:

And here are some of projects that folks made that day … inspiration for you to dive in and do some making and remixing of your own we hope!

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/14612421/

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/14606621/

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/14606187/

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/14611545/

Karen and MItch led us off in this workshop with the question “what do we mean when we talk about coding” as we way to open up our notions of coding and engage us into meaning-making together. Last week, in a connectedlearning.tv webinar called Themes, Issues, and Benefits of the Learning To Code Movement, Chris Lawrence from Mozilla and the Hive Learning Network asks a similar question in a slightly different way when he asks the panel “what is “code” code for?”. The discussion around this prompt was really interesting as the webinar engaged a team of folks who bring a variety of different perspectives, including writing project educators Joe Dillon and Mia Zamora as well as Mitch Resnick.

In the webinar, MItch encourages thinking about the “wide walls” that we create to introduce youth to coding, allowing for a range of reasons and opportunties for a wide diversity of learners and makers, including those for creative expression and storytelling. Scratch was created specifically with these kinds of wide walls to allow for creative expression, as well as low thresholds for entry and high ceilings for making and creativity.

If you try your hand at Scratch this week, we’d love to hear from you here at Digital Is! Show us what you made, tell us about your experience and dig in this question of what “coding”, and this focus on youth learning to code, means to you.

And ps. For something else truly awesome, don’t miss the change to play, and then even remix, Save the Mini-figs! (You’ll need a video camera for this.)

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/10123832/

And a related post by Kevin Hodgson showing a transmedia journey this inspired too: dogtrax.edublogs.org/2013/11/23/more-nwp-annual-meeting-circuits-systems-coding-remix/

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