GSE News

Scratch Day @ Penn GSE

May 20, 2013 - GSE played host to a group of approximately 80 excited novice computer programmers during Scratch Day @ Penn GSE on the afternoon of Saturday, May 18. The annual event, now in its fifth year—and one of many Scratch Day gathering across the country and around the world—brings people together to meet other Scratchers and imagine and share their Scratch projects and other digital designs.

Check out more photos from Scratch Day @ Penn GSE

Scratch, a creation of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, is both a computer programming language for beginners and an online community.  Students of all levels—from elementary school to college—are learning that even the most inexperienced computer programmer can create interactive stories, games, and animations and share them around the world.   

Saturday’s event was guided by Yasmin Kafai, Professor of Teaching, Learning, and Literacy at GSE and Professor of Learning Sciences and Information Science at Penn’s School of Engineering. Graduate students from GSE and a team from the Free Library of Philadelphia led the activities.

The workshops included instruction in using Scratch to devise games and custom controllers, make musical instrument, and create animations. There was also a workshop devoted to eCrafting, a technique integrating electronic components into textiles.  

“If you’re going to live in the 21st Century, learning how to program is one of the essential life skills,” says Dr. Kafai. “Scratch is a wonderful tool for teaching young people to think creatively and reason systematically—and demonstrates how much fun learning can be.”