This year was the first Scratch Summit, a partnership between the Progressive Arts Alliance (PAA) – a Cleveland based organization that deepens the learning experiences of youth by designing and implementing arts-integrated, project-based learning programs; the Scratch Team; the Scratch Foundation; and researchers from the Coding for All project – including those from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the Digital Media and Learning Hub.
The workshops was hosted in Cleveland by PAA. It brought together a mix of teachers, librarians, and other out-of-school educators. The Scratch Summit organizers designed the two day workshop to meld Hip Hop and Scratch, having participants learn Scratch coding and Hip Hop Moves. Scratch is a visual coding language created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT. After learning some programming and dance moves participants set to work creating their own projects. They had the option of taking photos of themselves doing stop motion dance moves so that they could put themselves in their projects. The projects created are collected in this studio.
Along with learning Hip Hop dance moves, PAA had one of their DJs come in to demonstrate Scratching Interesting tidbit, Scratch was actually named for DJ Scratching because both Scratch and DJing share remixing as a core tenet. The Summit organizers also demonstrated the the music making capabilities of Scratch and used MakeyMakey to create paper plate turntables.
The Summit participants really dug in and created great projects and also considered how to bring the Hip Hop and Scratch workshop back to their home institutions. The group also considered how they could create other interest-driven workshops that intersect with Scratch. The big takeaways was start with the youth interest and then figure out how you can connect it with coding. Many who work with youth in libraries already know that supporting youth interest is an important part of supporting youth learning. Topics that were considered as workshops that work with coding and computer science concepts were social justice, gifs and memes, anime/manga, music, games, and fashion/jewelry.
For more information about this great workshop check out the twitter hashtag #hiphopcoding and this twitter moment. If you are interested in facilitation guides for the dance workshop check out the Coding for All website or contact me.
Crystle Martin is a postdoctoral researcher at the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California, Irvine. She is the current member manager for the YALSAblog and editor for YALS. She is also the Secretary for the YALSA Board of Directors.