MIT Scratch Day 2009 at OLPC Learning Club


MIT Scratch Day 2009

What: Special Event: Scratch Day 2009 - OLPC XO laptops still welcome!
When: Saturday, May 16th, 2009, 10 am to 1 pm

816 South Walter Reed Drive, Arlington, VA 22204
Contact Page, Map, Aerial Photo, Bus Info)

Our May meeting will celebrate Scratch, the MIT Media Lab's programming software for children and teens, which we have presented at previous meetings. Scratch Day started last year in Cambridge, MA as the first international Scratch@MIT conference. This year, the Scratch team decided to invite any interested groups around the world to run their own Scratch Days at the same time as this year's conference in Cambridge. So far, over 100 70 events are planned in 41 20 countries.

The Scratch visual programming environment empowers children ages 8 and up to design and program their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. The free software runs on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems and comes pre-installed on the OLPC XO laptop's Sugar Learning Platform. Later this year, it will should also be available on compatible with Sugar Labs' Sugar on a Stick (SoaS).

Scratch is taught in several DC area schools. In Virginia, two elementary schools use GNU Free and Creative Commons licensed lesson plans developed by Learning Club member Richard Bullington-McGuire.

Saturday's festivities will begin with a brief presentation on the features and benefits of Scratch and its online community web site. Then local students and parents from Taylor Elementary School and elsewhere will demonstrate their Scratch projects. MIT's sensor input circuit board for Scratch, the Picoboard will be demonstrated, as well as LEGO's new WeDo robotics system, which will be controllable by the next release of Scratch. Naturally, we'll also have Scratch running on the OLPC XO-1, as well as netbooks such as the Intel Classmate 2 and Classmate 3 convertible.

At around noon, we'll do our free raffle again, for which you must be present and have a numbered ticket to win. Prizes include a copy of the book Scratch Programming for Teens, an OLPC XO green Mr. Brightside USB LED laptop light and several sets of laminated Scratch activity reference cards.

While we'll conclude at 1pm, you can still catch another Scratch Day event at Takoma Park Middle School, which runs from 10 am to 3pm. Phil Shapiro has written an excellent article about Scratch for PC World that has also appeared in Macworld and the Washington Post.

If you're a user of online social networking sites, you should know that the Scratch team is on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. I'll be posting to Twitter with the hash tag #scratchday as well as photos and video to Flickr.

Our next regularly scheduled meeting should be on June 20th at Gallaudet University. We send email updates once a month as well as update this blog.

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1 Comment


I am currenlty a student conducting research on the OLPC project. My focus is on the positive and negative effects the Xo has in the classroom for teachers. Could I please have any links that would be useful to my research? I would be so thankful....