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Scratching the surface...

In August (2016), Margaret Low, along with students from Technology Volunteers and collaborators, presented their outreach activities at the Scratch@MIT event at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, USA.

The Technology Volunteers ran a special Science from Scratch workshop using a series of worksheets developed by the team. The workshop linked physical computing activities to a number of scientific experiments.

At the conference, the Technology Volunteers shared their new interactive circuit board, ExperiSense. ExperiSense was designed and built as a low cost interface between Scratch and Arduino with enhanced sensing capabilities. Former University of Warwick student, Stephen Pithouse designed the board while other members of the team built the interface to Scratch and Arduino. This board generated a great deal of interest with participants able to see first-hand it’s capabilities, and the team received many requests to purchase one for use in schools.

During the poster session, Margaret Low also shared the results of the Tiles for Tales project in which groups of children created an interactive 'tile' controlled wirelessly. Through Scratch multiple tiles can be created and controlled at the same time, making it an unusual and interactive group project. Tiles for Tales gives an introduction to creating circuits without the need for soldering, or the use of breadboards, and uses inexpensive materials only.

The conference was a valuable opportunity to share experiences and to see how others teach Scratch and physical computing activities. It also gave the WMG team an insight into how young children learn. Find out more about the team’s experience at Scratch@MIT here.

Finally, it was also an opportunity to reflect on the life of Professor Seymour Papert, who passed away on the 31st July. His insightful research into the use of technology for creative learning laid the foundations for learning through play, and he is widely recognised as the father of Logo and the grandfather of Scratch.

Scratch Day 2016

On Saturday 14th May 2016, Margaret Low and the Technology Volunteers, organised a special ‘Sensing Our World’ event in Coventry Fablab, Coventry City Arcade to celebrate International Scratch Day.

At the event families were given a fun introduction to software development and unusual interfaces using Scratch. There was also the opportunity to share creations with fellow coders.

Scratch Day is a global network of events that celebrate ‘scratch’ computer programming, and the young people who use it to code and create. During Scratch Day, people gather to share projects, and this year more than 650 communities across the world took part.

The Technology Volunteers are a group of students and staff at the University of Warwick, who run workshops to encourage children to become creators, rather than consumers of technology.

In August 2016, the Technology Volunteer leaders are running a "Science from Scratch" workshop at the Scratch Conference at MIT, to share the new activities and resources they've created.