ITR: A Networked, Media-Rich Programming Environment to Enhance Informal Learning and Technological Fluency at Community Technology Centers

September 15th, 2003 - August 31st, 2008 | PROJECT

ITR: A Networked, Media-Rich Programming Environment to Enhance Informal Learning and Technological Fluency at Community Technology Centers The MIT Media Laboratory and UCLA propose to develop and study a new networked, media-rich programming environment, designed specifically to enhance the development of technological fluency at after-school centers in economically disadvantaged communities. This new programming environment (to be called Scratch) will be grounded in the practices and social dynamics of Computer Clubhouses, a network of after-school centers where youth (ages 10-18) from low-income communities learn to express themselves with new technologies. We will study how Clubhouse youth (ages 10-18) learn to use Scratch to design and program new types of digital-arts projects, such as sensor-controlled music compositions, special-effects videos created with programmable image-processing filters, robotic puppets with embedded controllers, and animated characters that youth trade wirelessly via handheld devices. Scratch's networking infrastructure, coupled with its multilingual capabilities, will enable youth to share their digital-arts creations with other youth across geographic, language, and cultural boundaries. This research will advance understanding of the effective and innovative design of new technologies to enhance learning in after-school centers and other informal-education settings, and it will broaden opportunities for youth from under-represented groups to become designers and inventors with new technologies. We will iteratively develop our technologies based on ongoing interaction with youth and staff at Computer Clubhouses. The use of Scratch at Computer Clubhouses will serve as a model for other after-school centers in economically-disadvantaged communities, demonstrating how informal-learning settings can support the development of technological fluency, enabling young people to design and program projects that are meaningful to themselves and their communities.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Some Reflections on Designing Construction Kits for Kids
Creative Coding: Programming for Personal Expression
Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society
All I Really Need to Know (About Creative Thinking) I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten
What Videogame Making Can Teach Us About Literacy and Learning: Alternative Pathways into Participatory Culture
From SuperGoo to Scratch: Exploring creative digital media production in informal learning
Collaboration, Computation, and Creativity: Media Arts Practices in Urban Youth Culture
ScratchR: sharing user-generated programmable media
Scratch for Budding Computer Scientists

Team Members

Mitchel Resnick, Principal Investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John Maeda, Co-Principal Investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Yasmin Kafai, Co-Principal Investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ITR
Award Number: 0325828
Funding Amount: 1999435


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Computing and information science | Education and learning science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Games | Simulations | Interactives | Media and Technology