Kreg Hanning, Lesley University
Stephen Howell, Academic Engagement Manager for Microsoft Ireland, South Dublin
Connor Hudson, High School student, Boulder Colorado
Steve Homes, Creative Computer Lab, Galway, Ireland
Scratch@MIT Conference 2014
August 8th, 2014
At this years Scratch@MIT conference I was fortunate enough to share my Leap Motion extension during a panel discussion titled, “Extending Scratch 2.0 with Strange Devices”. The discussion centered around the use of the extension in Scratch 2.0, and some of the thought behind developing the extension.
Stephen Howell shared his Kinect2Scratch extension, which let’s you connect the Microsoft Kinect to Scratch. I first saw the Kinect2Scratch extension during the Scratch@MIT 2012 conference, and it was the inspiration behind my own extensions. We saw the power of his extension with a Space Invaders game that was controlled by Stephen jumping left and right, and throwing his hands in the air to fire.
Connor Hudson showed off his extension which connects a Sphero to Scratch. Connor demonstrated the extension by driving the Sphero around the audience, weaving it through the audience members legs. In case you didn’t notice above, Connor is still in high school. Great job Connor!
Steve Homes brought along a device that many of us recognize from our living rooms, a Wii Balance Board. Steve showed off his surfing skills by riding the balance board through a Scratch powered space simulation, avoiding asteroids and picking up power gems along the way.
The session was open to dialog with the audience, and there were some great questions. We covered topics from the programming languages behind the extensions to how they can be implemented in a classroom setting.
Thanks Scratch Team!
Twenty junior kindergarten – 5th grade students from the Kennedy-Longfellow School (KLO) took on the challenge to teach teachers, and other community members, how to code at this year’s Lesley University Community of Scholar’s Day. The KLO/Lesley Technology Partnership team are in their third year teaching Scratch and other programming tools to students at the KLO Community Schools Afterschool Program.
The junior kindergarten through fifth grade classes at Kennedy-Longfellow School (KLO) joined over 15 million students worldwide in participating in the Hour of Code week (December 2013). Sponsored by Computer Science Education Week, the idea behind Hour of Code is to demystify what it means to code by encouraging children and adults alike to jump in and try their hand at computer programming. Coding can take many forms. If you’re new to the concept, coding is simply teaching a computer to do something using keyboard commands. It can be as basic as writing a program that turns your computer on or off automatically and as complicated, as well, the new government health care system website!
Jessica McKellar, Director for the Python Software Foundation and local entrepreneur, kicked off the day by speaking to the 5th grade students about the various career paths rooted in programming. Her speech inspired the students to continue to explore coding no matter what their career aspirations, as coding skills provide a strong foundation from the medical field to video game development.
Junior kindergarten – 2nd grade students at KLO jumped into everything from moving monsters through elaborate mazes using the Kodable iPad app to programming BeeBot robots to move around a large game mat, learning math and ELA concepts along the way. Other activities included sequencing a jelly sandwich, drawing and exploring shapes with the Kinderlogo software, and programming character actions with the Daisy the Dinosaur iPad app.
3rd – 5th grade students, meanwhile, dove into Python programming through Minecraft, made Lego WeDo robots spin, rotate and talk via Scratch, and sequenced LittleBits electronic circuit components to create a “tickle machine.” Students eagerly took turns wearing a Raspberry Pi helmet-mounted webcam, beaming live streaming video of the event to all of the classrooms. Parent volunteers and the KLO math and literacy coaches were an essential part of the two days, helping to run different activities and providing guidance for students as needed.
The Hour of Code event coincided with the launch of the new KLO “Makerspace” – a completely revised and revamped creative workspace that supports student-centered, collaborative engagement with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) projects. The open concept, flexible space is equipped with iPads, Chromebooks, a video green screen and sound booths, and allows for large and small group work.
WBZ-TV (CBS) News was on hand on December 13th to capture some of the Hour of Code excitement as part of news anchor Paula Ebben’s “Eye on Education” program. You can watch the segment here: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/12/16/eye-on-education-ipads-being-used-in-cambridge-first-grade-class/. You can also read about it in a segment reported by Erin Balassari from the Cambridge Chronicle, “Lesley, Kennedy-Longfellow partner to reimagine S.T.E.M. learning” http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/features/x1039480562/Lesley-Kennedy-Longfellow-partner-to-reimagine-S-T-E-M-learning. The event served as just the beginning of integrating a host of coding activities into the JK-5 KLO curricula. Stay tuned for future news from all of the KLO coders!
Wondering where to begin? Check out these online resources:
Students in the after school Scratch Club have been using the MIT developed software, Scratch, to program their own animations and video games. Scratch is a kid-friendly tool based on color-coded programming blocks that snap together to create unique scripts, or codes. Since September, students have created interactive video games, multi-stage mazes and animations. We will also be using 2 LEGO We-Do robotics kits and the invention kit, MaKey MaKey, which uses alligator clips and USB to create interactive programs between objects and a computer. The Scratch Club is very excited to be presenting their projects at the 2013 Lesley Community of Scholars Day on March 27th.
Sue Cusack, Jacy Edelman & Kreg Hanning, Lesley University and 13 Scratch Ambassadors from the Kennedy-Longfellow School
Student Scratch Presentations
Lesley University’s Community of Scholars Day Event
March 27, 2013
Below are the Scratch projects that were showcased at the Lesley University 2013 Community of Scholars event. These projects were created during the Scratch & Programming after school club by students in grades 2 – 5.
|Transformers: Adventures in Iacon
by Roock and Rool
|Robot Dance Party
|the modern caves
| Maze Project
The 3P-KLO is a portable Raspberry Pi pack that comes with a Raspberry Pi Model B and all the accessories necessary to use it on any television. The name 3P-KLO stands for the “Portable Pi Pack” at the Kennedy-Longfellow Elementary School. The name and logo were designed by students at the Kennedy-Longfellow School as part of a Raspberry Pi event held in November at the school. Two winners and two runners-up for the name and logo design, along with one randomly selected winner, won their very own 3P-KLO! The name, created by a 5th grade student, is a play on the popular Star Wars character, C-3PO. The logo was designed by a 3rd grade student at the Kennedy-Longfellow School.
Over 150 family members, students, staff and friends of Kennedy-Longfellow School and Lesley joined us on Thursday, December 6th in the school cafeteria to celebrate the launching of the Raspberry Pi program. The energy was buzzing and the pizza flying as the evening launched with welcoming remarks from Mrs. Gerber, KLO Principal. Mrs. Gerber recognized the partnership donor, Al and his wife, Anne Merck, in addition to the Lesley President Joe Moore, Dean Jack Gillette, Chief of Staff MaryPat Lohse, CPS Superintendent Jeffrey Young, and of course, KLO student and staff volunteers. Pi logo and name contestants were jittery with excitement as the winning entries were called. The winning logo and name are proudly displayed on each of the finished Pi Packs (now called the “3P K-LO” with the 3Ps standing for “portable pi pack.”
The evening capped off with the afterschool Scratch Club sharing their projects that they have been working on for the past several weeks. Scratch is a kid-friendly programming software developed by the wonderful folks at the MIT Lifelong Kindergarten department. The KLO nine Scratchers, grades 2-5, meet weekly in the computer lab to develop and share game and animations. Special thanks to John Maloney, Research Specialist at Lifelong Kindergarten and senior Scratch developer, for attending the Pi Launch party and sharing in the excitement.
For more information about the evening, see Partnership with Cambridge School Integrates Technology in Classrooms