Scratch 2017 Bordeaux – Chapter 3 of 6: conference action
The most striking thing about the programme for the 2017 Scratch conference was the wide variety in presentation format, topics, and nationality and profile of the presenters. Formats included keynotes, ignite sessions, workshops, demonstrations, presentation, discussion forums, and a massive poster session which had interaction akin to a ‘maker faire’. We had presenters came from every continent, who ranged in age from teens to seniors. There has been a tendency for Scratch conferences to have an ever increasing diversity in range of subjects and perspectives, and this certainly continued here. I think Ricarose sums it up well here:
I didn’t get to everything I’d earmarked [disappointed in particular to miss the arduino creativity with the Warcwick Tech Volunteers, and art ideas of Joachim Wedekind], but I touched base with many exciting and inspiring teaching sessions – Snap4Arduino with Bernat Romagosa; TurtleStitch with Andrea Mayr, Susan Ettenheim and Jennifer Lin; fractals in Snap! presented by ringmaster Dan Garcia with the BJC collective; unplugged activities with Marie Duflot; wearable interactive devices with Sue Cusack and team; – and discussion sessions – in particular one very engaging ‘Open Space’ discussion on the future of programming, hosted by Richard Millwood and Felienne Hermans.
I love, love, love the Ignite sessions as hosted by Frank Sabaté, each conference they get better, and reflect the careful curation Frank pours into them.
Some Keynote takeaways for me were – the grace and determination of Zoe Philpott when she talks of inclusion of girls in world of tech; the emotion in Mitchel Resnick when he speaks of the late great Seymour Papert; Sam Aaron enchanting and energising the auditorium as he live coded us through the possibilities of SonicPi; the energy emanating from the continent of Africa, and the honesty and hope presented in the final keynote hosted by ‘the young ones’.
As well as the timetabled sessions, this conference had some serious added value, reflecting the emphasis Joek places on human interaction – the compact geography of Einserb venue meant we got to have the chats between sessions; the closed captioning instant subtitles by Michelle & Shane which lessened the mixed language for many; the omnipresence of the delightful film makers Genet & Zoot, whose light touch made it a pleasure to have them about the place; the unfolding cartoons displays from the three deft animators; the picnic lunches each day, served outdoors to a funky soundtrack; and the most wonderful idea of having the student café kept open all day for us – top quality fuel for conference attendees and worker bees alike – café solo, ‘on tap’ so to speak, for just 1E!
The Irish delegation did our flag proud – as well as meself there were John Hegarty, Eileen Brennan Freeman, and Richard Millwood of CESI; Claire McInerney of LERO; Mary Brown of Clare Ed Centre; Pete & Ross of Coderdojo Foundation; Sabine McKenna of CCC Skerries; Steve Holmes of Creative Computer Lab Gort; and we still Alan McCullagh [currently on free loan transfer to France].
As the final keynote session of the conference was hosted this year by the youngsters, I’ll leave the last word on the Scratch 2017 Bordeaux conference programme to one of them, Taryn from South Africa…
Series of posts posted post Scratch Conference in Bordeaux, France, July 2017: