We had the first workshop of the Cambridge sessions of Family Creative Learning, organized by Gina Roughton and Ingrid Gustafson. I was there as an additional facilitator. We had four families with a total of nine kids. Some of them had had exposure to Scratch before and others had had none. All of them had had experience with technology and computers.
For much of workshop 1, the adults and children separate, so each group can talk and then explore the technology on their own terms. I think it’s a smart aspect of the FCL curriculum design. Ingrid worked with the adult group, while Gina and I worked with the kids. Gina led a community standards setting process and then I jumped in to explain Scratch and introduce it to the kids.
After the kids got set up with their own accounts (a process that took longer than was ideal — we should have pre-created accounts), we did the animate your name intro project, as suggested in the FCL curriculum. That’s a good choice for project since it’s both personal and straightforward. The ones with prior Scratch experience were able to take the exercise farther, but all of the kids were engaged by it and all of them got the fundamental point about programming instructions telling the computer what you want it to do, with events (keyboard, the “green flag”, what have you) triggering these instructions to run.
After the “making” phase, the parent and kid groups re-joined and demo’ed their work to each other. That was a lot of fun, with a lot of laughter all around. The whole experience was wonderful and I look forward to the remaining sessions. I also feel encouraged to get involved in — or create — similar workshops or classes, whether based in the schools or private locations (like Muckykids!).