This morning participants at November Learning's BLC10 conference listened to Mitch Resnick speak about various programs made by young people in Scratch, a simple programming interface designed at MIT. He stressed the importance of creativity and collaboration and how the online environment that accompanies the Scratch software has fostered these two things.
This past year I had my 8th grade students work (in pairs or individually) on making programs in Scratch. The theme was their 8th grade play, The Mouse That Roared. They were pretty excited about doing this. I didn't know much about any advanced features of the programs, but some of the kids were able to figure out some pretty amazing things on their own and then share them with the class.
Based on Dr. Resnick's description of crowd-sourcing and task delegation, next year I may have the students work in larger teams, where some students who may be more artistically inclined can design the backgrounds and characters, some students who are into story telling can design the arc of the program, and the more programming oriented students can work on the nuts and bolts.
Header photo by Robert S. Donovan