Archive

Monthly Archives: November 2018

I just finished reading a book by a young woman I met last summer at a TeachMeet in Newcastle. Presenters at most TeachMeet are teachers (d’oh!), but at this one, Talk On The Tyne, the host Martin Bailey had threaded a theme of well-being and mental health thru the programme.

And so young Ruth Fox came to tell her story. I’ve written about my reaction, and that of the rest of those present, before. I think everyone there immediately became part of Ruth’s ‘Fox in the Box’ army.

Now I’ve read the book, it all comes back to me. This is a book for teachers and school managements to read, both scary and reassuring at the same time. Scary that such turmoil could so badly affect one so young, and reassuring to know that the kind ear of a teacher can do such good. This is Ruth’s story, but it could be about any student in any teacher’s class.

Preamble

  • Scratch is a free block-based / jigsaw programming language which allows users create interactive stories, games, and animations. https://scratch.mit.edu/
  • ScratchEd is an online community where Scratch educators share stories, exchange resources, ask questions, find people to collaborate with. http://scratched.gse.harvard.edu/
  • ScratchEd Meetups are peer-designed professional learning experiences inspired by the Edcamp model, which in turn is built on the ideas of Open Space Technology*. Basically, attendees turn up, decide what the schedule is to be, then get into it. Anyone who is interested in connecting with fellow educators and learning more about using Scratch in educational settings is welcome to participate. https://www.meetup.com/pro/scratched
  • *In Open Space events participants create and manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around a central theme of strategic importance. The only rule is The Law of Two Feet – if at any time one feels one is neither contributing nor gaining, feel free to move to another space.  http://openspaceworld.org/wp2/what-is/

Richard Millwood, John Hegarty and me met up with the ScratchEd folk at the MIT Scratch Conference last July, and decided to give the format a go in Ireland, offering a chance for the various groups who use Scratch in schools, colleges, clubs,  dojos to swap ideas. Limerick was chosen as the first venue, as it is where Scratch had its first outing via LERO way way back in 2007.

We met as a merry gang of ten on Wed Nov 7th in Limerick Education Cantre, led by teachers from CESI, mentors from Coderdojo Ireland, software researchers from LERO, and volunteers from MakerMeetIE and joined by colleagues with expertise in designing and delivering resources and training based on Scratch programming. The learner age groups represented in the room covered the spectrum from primary to higher education, and both formal and informal education fora. Our scheduling exercise was based on this diverse wish list:

ScratchEdMeetup scheduling

ScratchEdMeetup scheduling

Our breakout sessions based on this ended up as Scratch 3.0, Progression, Physical Computing with Scratch, Cross Curricular ideas.

IMG_20181108_004713

We walked, talked and played our way thru the allocated two hours which flew past. Each of us brought something to the table – a question, an idea, a resource, a clarification – and each of us definitely went away somewhat the richer for the experience, and with plenty of food for thought, and a plan to work on.

Next instance of this meetup can take place anywhere a ¨Scratcher¨ in Ireland is wont to call a meeting; most likely bet is on one taking place at #cesicon 2nd March 2019 in Athlone.

%d bloggers like this: