After months of anticipation, I arrived yesterday for the Scratch@MIT conference here in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA). The conference is being held in the MIT Media Lab building, which is only a block away from my hotel.
The morning started with a keynote by Mitchel Resnik, who introduced the Scratch Project itself and the ideas behind it. His spiral of learning stages reminded me of the MYP’s design cycle, but there were several features of Mitch’s spiral that I really like more.
- The spiral has a “bias toward action”, with learners beginning to create almost immediately.
- The spiral breaks the “evaluation” phase of the design cycle into three stages (play, share, reflect), each of which has its own purpose.
- Play is situated right after create in the spiral, making this test and explore phase the intrinsic reward to the learner.
- Share is now an overt part of the design cycle rather than simply an evaluation option.
After his opening remarks, Mitch introduced four Scratch users who are well known within the Scratch online community: JSO, MyRedNeptune, SonicPops, and Wodunne. The four of them discussed their involvement with Scratch and how they have produced excellent programs of their own and helped other Scratch users. The self-confidence that they all exhibited was really amazing as they answered questions from our diverse audience.