Programming With Scratch – Learning 2.011 Takeaways Part 3

3 Oct 2011

This is the third of three blog posts about my experience at the Learning 2.0 conference.

Last year the KIS ed tech team began planning to develop critical thinking through programming in all three divisions. Mark Page started using Scratch in the elementary school during an EPP. Mark plans on continuing this and I have begun working with the middle school Tech Gurus and an high level math class in the high school. I was fortunate enough to connect with Jane Harris from Chinese International School in Hong Kong, who has been working with scratch programming for several years with her students. What follows is how Jane suggested we set up the projects. Most of this post are her exact words, not mine.

Jane suggested that we structure the programming as challenge-based learning projects, where the students design and build a game to build connections between Maths and Music/Art/Science. Something which will influence the way players think about Maths and Music/Art/Science. The app Soundrop is a great example of the type of projects the students should attempt.

Some of Jane’s other ideas for the course include:
1. Groups will use the Scratch environment to build the game.
2. Groups will identify their Big Idea, Essential Question, Guiding Questions and Guiding Activities: these will help to define and structure the projects.
3. The Essential Question should be answered by the Scratch game; the Guiding Questions should help to shape the process the group move through to design the game by providing their context and the “so what?”
The Guiding Activities should help the group to better understand what they need to know before they can build the game; these activities are ongoing upskilling – research, connecting with experts, tinkering with ideas, etc.
Groups should use a range of tech tools to document their learning and the process they go through.

Groups should create accounts on the Scratch website and a class gallery should be set-up where group projects can be uploaded and shared with the Scratch community. This is fantastic for eliciting feedback, problem solving and having projects beta-tested. Groups can develop their own wikis/blogs where they can post, collect and document their learning process.

The high school math class is finishing up their projects. I will post links to them soon.