Monday, 18 May 2009

World Scratch Day - Hong Kong Event

It's great that a group like LEAD exists in Hong Kong to help raise the awareness of technology opportunities within the curriculum. Even better that they were able to organise an event to mark the second birthday of Scratch, the interactive programming language devised at MIT.

Hong Kong's event, which added to events in over 40 other countries took place on Saturday at the Cyberport, a fitting venue to consider technology within the curriculum.

On show were a number of Scratch presentations from local HK schools, including the amazing Sawing Down the Tree game. The standard of presentations wa extremely high and I was left a little bemused after a Year 5 student showed me his complex and entertaining presentation. It's clear that there's some great work going on in HK schools and this was a great opportunity to observe, and dareisay, think of ways in which we might be able to catch up!

It was then down to work, as in my haste I had mistakenly signed up for the 'Advanced' Workshop! Edmond from LEAD gave us the complete technical lowdown on how to use external Pico boards with Scratch and it was a fantastic opportunity to play with buttons, sliders, audio and light sensors. We certainly need to add some of these to our stock as they are a great way of adding that element of external control to presentations.

Back to the theatre for a session on how Scratch has made an impact in local schools and well done to the translation team who were brilliantly efficient in allowing colleagues from the international school community full access to the discussion.

Another session on using Web 2.0 tools within Scratch followed after lunch. We covered some of this stuff with Year 6 earlier in the year and hopefully the new version of Scratch may have an improved picture editor so that this type of work can be done within the interface. Nevertheless, the session was useful, it was good idea to use Audacity to add your own sounds and the pitch altering tool made for some fun effects!

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The final session initially involved colleagues from local secondary schools talking about the new secondary curriculum and how Scratch was being used to help with ideas involving, creativity, design and problem-solving - it was great to hear those words being used.

The day rounded off with a panel discussion focussing on A New Paradigm of Teaching and Learning featuring Jane Harris (CIS), Dan Everest (YCIS) and myself. We discussed our feelings about the importance of Scratch within the creative 21st Century curriculum and outlined our collaborative project (more on that later!). We also touched on the importance of games within the wider curriculum, assessment and a number of other issues close to our hearts!

It was a bit un-nerving sitting on a sofa in front of an audience, but moderator Dr Felicia Tsang ran the session well and I only felt stupid the one time!

Well done to all those involved on the day and we look forward to building upon this good work to spread Scratch out of the lab and into the classroom where it belongs!!

1 comment:

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