At the end of the summer, Ryoko and I presented two computational tinkering activities at the Scratch conference at MIT. These activities were under active R&D and the conference was an opportunity to share our ideas with educators and hear their feedback about activity design. The Tinkering Studio is no stranger to the Scratch conference, check out Ryan's post from 2016.
We shared a micro:bit activity and asked participants to create or hack a toy and program its behavior in Scratch. We set up a toy store for workshop participants to shop for their toys and a materials station for creating custom toys. Participants designed their programmed toys at the workstation and shared their designs with the larger group.
Participants had a wide spectrum of experience programming microcontrollers and we saw some participants gravitate toward making the physical toy and others program the micro:bit’s behavior.
We explored video sensing as a way of storytelling with Scratch. Participants would draw and design sprites to import into their program, resulting in an animation that had a handmade feel. We presented video sensing as one way to share stories with Scratch. Using a webcam connected to a laptop, participants could interact with their handmade sprites using color and motion detection blocks. The result is an interactive animation controlled by your motion and touch.
We created a Scratch Studio to for participants and facilitators to share their projects. All of our projects connected to the theme “how did you get here” which participants interpreted in a variety of ways. We wrote about storytelling through video sensing and how to scaffold an introduction to Scratch through video sensing in previous blog posts.
We love tinkering with new technologies and see a lot of great possibilities for activities using these tools. We noticed that it is challenging to share activities that span the physical and digital world. We want to document the physical project and the code on the screen. We’re looking forward to continuing to find ways of sharing computational tinkering activities through photos, video, tweets, and blog posts like this.
This work was supported by a grant from Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation
This project was made possible through the generous support from the LEGO Foundation