MIT+ Hip Hop = Scratch

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by the CTL’s Faculty Development Coordinator, Laurie Hansen.]

MIT’s Scratch wants us to move towards a more creative society.

Scratch offers users the opportunity to “create and share your own interactive stories, games, music and art.” The site is free but donations are accepted. In one of the introduction videos, Mitchel Resnick, PhD professor of learning research and director of the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab, says the name “Scratch” came from the way Hip Hop DJs “scratch” and mix music. Scratch is sort of like playing with LEGO blocks while using computational concepts.

In his article, “Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society,” Resnick explains, “[Scratch is] part of a new generation of technologies designed to help prepare students for the Creative Society.” Found here:

The Scratch site boasts, “Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create and share Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.”

I took a shot at getting acquainted with the program and creating an interactive video. The Scratch introduction video suggests for a new user to tackle learning the program in one of two ways: 1. Review the instructions or 2. Visit the site and view sample projects to see how they work. I downloaded the program and briefly reviewed the instructions. I started by importing a photo of my kids and editing it. I used the girls’ faces and drew in their hair, bodies and clothes. After about an hour of tinkering with the program (and asking my daughter for some tips –she uses Scratch at school), I created a very short animated video with my “sprite kids.” My creation is a bit juvenile, mind you, I am a beginner. But I would imagine that, given the time, I could learn how to create better “sprites” and a more sophisticated project.

Playing with Scratch can amount to hours of fun and learning for kids as well as adults! Now I know why the MIT media lab group is called “Lifelong Kindergarten.”

Learn more about Scratch here and watch a promotional video below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


One response to “MIT+ Hip Hop = Scratch

  1. Hi Laurie!
    I wonder if Scratch might have information for basic writing skills. Some of our students still need a refresher on how to write basic sentences.
    I’ll check it out! Thanks so much for sharing this resource.

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