Scratch Africa Conference

Have you as a child ever wondered how many technology-based changes you went through in school? I remember when we first started using computers in school in a room where you had to sit and learn about Word, PowerPoint and excel so you could to presentations to get graded. I also remember by the time I reached high school we had laptops in school and ipads as part of the learning process. This is when coding and learning about different programs like SSP started. Now today children have the capacity to learn more and to develop their own programs and use technology to explore their creative skills and develop new holistic skills they can use in this world that is changing.

Africa has the past week experienced competing international by winning Ethiopian President that won the Nobel peace prize, Eliud Kipchoge ran into a new record running marathon in less than 2 hours. Now with the first ever Scratch Global Africa conference in Nairobi starting 16th of October all the way until 18th of October with representatives from 21 different countries, Denmark, Chile, Myanmar sharing experiences on how they have changed the classrooms.  Scratch is creating Digital Wisdom through coding and creative learning.

This year’s conferences theme is waves of Innovation. As the scratch Africa community, we can power the young people that will drive future innovation solving problems and building solutions.  The first African country to host the scratch global conference is Nairobi at Brookhouse International School.

Scratch is a free programming language and online community where you create your own interactive stories, games and animations.

Why should you attend?

During the conference you have the opportunity to connect and network with educators and take part in workshops done by MIT, Lego and many more. Brookhosue International School is contributing to the change by giving their students courses and training they need to code and use their creativity. At the conference you get to meet some of the students and also to hear more about the school and its programs. It’s important for young to have creative spaces to learn new skills and adapt to the change going on in the world. To take part of the change and digitalizing going on in the world if you are an educator, civil society, government this is a conference to attend.

Message from the Founder of Scratch: Mitch Resnick

It’s important to create new learning and creative methods to teach children. We need to share ideas and learn from each other on how we can support children on creating and learning with Scratch. He also talked about how important the Africa code week is for the continent and why it’s important for MIT and other instutions to support the change going on digital in the community.

 Rodrigo Fabrega (Creativity and scratch movement in South America)

In implementing scratch in South America Rodrigo talk about how principles and schools will ask him questions as , its not on our curriculum, can I see an example? Why is this important? He talks about how important it’s in his experience to show schools examples to give them the opportunity to see new ways of solving problems that doesn’t always involve books or listening to teachers telling you the answer. It’s important to understand and experience you solving problems on your own.   They have now created a space where they train teachers online and give them certificates, which is a good implementation so they take the training and understand how to use these platforms.  They now also have the first course in Rabanoy which will open up the platform for more people. “you as a teacher have to ask questions to the children” . As he counties to share his experiences you can see that in Africa we are at a time where the same programs are either in process of being implemented or already implemented. We need to come together and give children the space to use their creativity and give them motivation.

Ollie Bray
Ollie Bray (The Lego Foundation – Denmark)

School principle with experience from Scotland,

 

Re-define play and re-imagine learning, is the aim for the LEGO foundation.

It’s important to play from when children are born, companies that got play as a part of their DNA are always successful. You are never too young to play.  How can we do things different within existing systems? `Technology is not going to make teaching easier, its going to make it different`. Chris Kennedy.  The large technology drivers are not necessary the most effective and will improve learning outcomes for the children. Far too often we think about the technology than what we want to do with the technology. It’s not about technology FOR learning but how do we put the technology In learning. : Using technology and understanding. How do we get young people to create with technology? To take things apart and create things. Creative use of technology: how can we use technology in all areas across the curriculum areas to improve their learning and creativity and engage them.

The questions Ollie asked which is important are how can we unite children with their passion? What are the skills employers want? They want someone that is a problem solver and creative but how can we make shore that children learn these skills? Also we need to think about the holistic skills, physical skills, creative skills and emotional skills, and what they mean in the classroom? Its also important to talk about how we can teach these skills locally in classrooms and internationally. You develop skills through engaging learning skills

Do you remember being a child and playing? Today its important that we do this in our work, successful companies have implemented playful and creative spaces in their offices for their employees. But what are Playful experience characteristics: Meaningful, joyful, socially interactive, actively engaging, iterative. These are characteristics we need to nurture during early childhood years and in youth. Did you know that LEGO means play well?

This conference is just the start the scratch family have now added Swahili as a new language on its applications where now 15million more people can access and use their creativity. If you want young people to create you have to give them a platform like scratch and classrooms where they can learn.

“The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for innovation rather than provide ready made knowledge”. Seymour Papert.

Rakia Bihi, The CARROT Co. Contributor