On the 17th of October of 208 we held the first Scratch Ed MeetUp at Just CODING.
This meeting follows a very different format for what we usually understand for Education in Brazil.
Usually we understand “Learning” as equivalent o “lecture”, i.e., there will be one person (teacher) that will transmit knowledge to the others (students).
The proposal for this MeetUp, that follow the ideas of educator Seymor Papert, is that we are responsible for our learning process. That learning is to have a relationship with knowledge in a personal, emotional and intrinsic way. That means that I have to performa an active search of the knowledge that interests me.
Beginning: Networking & Scheduling
In order to provide the correct environment for this learning approach, the participants spent the first hour meeting each other and writing what they wanted to learn in Post Its.
They wrote topics such as:
“Lego WeDo and Scratch 3.0”
“What is Scratch?”
“Best ages to use Scratch”
These PostIts were then grouped in two Sections:
“Introduction to Scratch and Educational Techniques”, and
“Scratch 3.0 and Hardware”
It was decided that everybody wanted to attend both sections, and that we would start with the second one: “Scratch 3.0 and Hardware”.
We moved to the workspace, and started learning!
1st Section - “Scratch 3.0 and Hardware”
The first section, that lasted for 1h, was “Lego WeDo and Scratch 3.0”. It was a bit frustrating. In spite of several attempts, we could not make Scratch 3.0 works with Lego WeDo. We could connect, we could make the color of the WeDo change, but we could not make a motor run to make a dance machine. After 40 minutes, we decided to substitute the WeDo for the Lego EV3 (Mindstorms) and it worked. During this process we learned several important lessons:
We learned how to install the Scratch Link.
We learned that Lego WeDo and Scratch will only work on Windows (10+) or Mac (10.13+).
We learned that Lego WeDo and Scratch will not work on an iPad.
We learned that if we clicked several times on the “Search” of the Scratch Link, the computer creates several instances of it, that conflict with each other, and it becomes necessary to close the navigator and the Scratch Link and re-start the whole process.
We learned how to use Scratch and Lego EV3 (Mindstorms) to make a motor spins when we click on a Sprite.
2nd Section - “Intro to Scratch 3.0 and Educational Techniques”
During this section, each pair started a project on Scratch 3.0 and tested several resources such as:
Random Sprites: we clicked on “surprise” to create 3 random Sprites, and created an original story with them.
Sound Effects: we learned how to use different instruments (piano, flute) and effects (robot, reverse).
We discussed how projects based on our interests provide for a much more efficient learning environment than projects imposed or pre-decided.
In this part, we reflected on what we learned:
“I think it is still early to use Lego WeDo and Scratch 3.0” (Débora) We discussed that maybe we should wait for the official launch of 3.0 in January to include WeDo + Scratch as regular classe, because the technical glitches could be too frustrated for the small children and teachers that have little experience with Hardware.
“This hardware and software integration is the way of the future education.” (Ana Márcia) We realized that the future of education is connected with Software and Hardware integration, and that it brings back an essential part of the kids learning process, which is the opportunity to use your own body in the learning process, as Seymor Papert always said.
“The new interface is gorgeous!”, “Using 2.0 was a harder experience, the 3.0 is a much easier, colorful and fun experience.” (Sabrina) We all agreed that the graphic interface of Scratch 3.0 is much more interesting and stimulating than 2.0. The people that had experience with Scratch 2.0 noticed that the transition was very simple, and that the new position of commands, coding area and program is much more intuitive.
“I really enjoyed the experience.” (Roberta) The Scratch beginner said that she found the experience really interesting, and noticed how there are multiple possibilities to use Scratch in the learning process.
“Students don't want structured pre-defined classes, they want challenges.” (Ana) We talked as the four 4's (Play, Project, Passion, Peers) have influenced the methodology we use at Just CODING and the incredible positive effects on motivation and learning efficacy for our students.
We also exchanged experiences related to which devices were better to use with Scratch and Lego Robotics, how to create Teacher's Accounts on Scratch, how to create Studios, and more.
We believe that was an excellent and gratifying experience, and all participants were very pleased. Our next meeting was scheduled for February of 2019 (in Brazil, classes finish in November. December and January are vacation months).