FCL Workshop first meeting

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.

FCL first workshop, me demo'ing Scratch.  Photo by Ricarose Roque
FCL first workshop, demo’ing Scratch. Photo by Ricarose Roque
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!).

FCL in Cambridge starting Thurs

Looking forward to the start of the Family Creative Learning workshops in Cambridge, MA this Thursday. I’ll be working as a facilitator and will be leading the kids’ side of the workshop while Ingrid Gustafson leads the parents’ / adults’ side. I just met today with Ingrid to do some pre-kickoff planning and check out the space; the workshops will be generously hosted by the Cambridge Housing Authority in the Windsor St. community center. Really looking forward to the first workshop on Thursday and to meeting the families that will be participating.

Family Creative Learning

Family Creative Learning is a workshop series developed by MIT Media Lab researcher Ricarose Roque. It’s a five week / five meeting program that brings families (parent(s) and child(ren)) together around hands-on experimentation with creative technology projects using Scratch and MaKey MaKey. Food is served at each meeting to create a communal “family dinner” feeling. The FCL folks ran several of these workshops themselves and are active in recruiting new facilitators to run these workshops themselves “in the wild”.

I’m excited to be participating as a facilitator in an upcoming FCL workshop series that will be held here in Cambridge starting later this month, thanks to the leadership of Ingrid Gustafson!

I love the core idea of FCL, bringing parents and kids together around creative engagement with technology. My own driving interest in Ed Tech is the desire to help kids see technology as an enabler of creativity rather than just consumption. Weaving this awareness throughout the whole family — as FCL does — seems like a perfect way to achieve this goal.