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Saturday, February 20, 2010

DML 2010 day 2 sessions 4/5 -- computer clubhouses and scratch programs

My last 2 presentations at DML2010 might be considered a companion pair because they included the voice/ presentations of young people who participated in media programs.

First up was a presentation on the Clubhouse network http://www.computerclubhouse.org/ – a network that offers 10 through 18 year-old young people an out of school learning environment: a place where young people use software to create media. SRI international has done a lot of research on clubhouses, have produced data showing club houses encourage increased academic skills, life skills, and a positive impact on the community.

The learning model of clubhouses was established with the founding of the 1st one in 1991, these are:

- exploratory active learning

- helping young people build on their interests

- cultivating peers/mentors/coaches

- creating environment of trust/respect – comfort in taking risks

Clubhouse (enabled with support from Intel) is now a network of 100 in 20 countries.

Young people discussed the physical space of clubhouses – a dedicated space, designed to provide a warm inviting space, computers in pods, a central sharing table, ergonomic rolling chairs.

Most exciting part of the session was hearing from 5 young people who are either going through the program or are alumnis/now back as mentors. Participants discussed how wherever they are in the country they can go a clubhouse and find the same design/layout etc. Participants also talked about having a sense of ownership and that this is a space where there is not a division between art/tech.

In the final session that I attended the focus was on scratch programs http://scratch.mit.edu/

Chair: Yasmin Kafai (University of Pennsylvania)

Participants: Kylie Peppler (Indiana University), Mitchel Resnick (MIT), Deborah Fields

(UCLA), Alicia Diazgranados (LAUSD), James Crenshaw (Brentwood Academy, Los

Angeles, CA), Karen Brennan (MIT), Nina Parks (Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA)

In this session, a group of educators, developers, researchers and

youth participants discussed experiences inside and outside of school with a focus on

actual Scratch designs and observations collected over the last four years in elementary

and middle school classrooms, afterschool clubs and community technology centers.

Best part of this presentation was hearing from 2 participants who had gone through a less structured scratch program in an afterschool setting, then a school setting and then in an online community and the cultural differences/difficulties and competencies in each.

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