Building four communities for learning, tinkering, and remixing with code

Posted on by Ari Bader-Natal

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Update: Video slides from the presentation are now at the bottom of this post.

I'm excited to be participating in a panel discussion at the Digital Media and Learning conference in March to talk about Studio Sketchpad and to publicly compare notes with three very talented people who have been instrumental in creating other web-based communities for learning, tinkering, and remixing with code. Andrés Monroy-Hernández (now of Microsoft Research) will be talking about Scratch Online and Kodu Game Lab, J.D. Zamfirescu-Pereira (Learning Unlimited & What Will You Learn?) will be talking about the origin of AppJet, and Shelly Farnham (Microsoft Research) will be talking about peer learning projects at Microsoft Research FUSE Labs. Here's the gist:

In this panel, we bring together four people who have actively engaged in making, tinkering, and remixing the designs of learning communities in which young people make, tinker, and remix with code. Drawing on experiences creating and experimenting with Scratch Online, Studio Sketchpad, Kodu, and AppJet, we seek to identify the socio-technical factors that impact peer learning with social media. We will talk about lessons learned and have a discussion about questions such as how to support young people's development of a maker mindset.

We will introduce each of the four systems, drawing particular attention to the various mechanisms built-in for remixing, iteratively refining, collaborating, and sharing with others. We then use this as a starting point for identifying commonalities and differences to discuss in more detail. What do we agree are valuable components in creating a remix culture? What have we discovered to be promising, but ultimately unsuccessful? What styles of remixing have emerged and what seems to be their purpose? How generalizable are our observations?

This panel aims at providing insights for meta-designers, practitioners and educators interested in learning how to support and inspire young people to learn to create computational artifacts within a community of peers.

I'm looking forward to this conference, and am particularly looking forward to having this panel discussion. We'll certainly post more about it as it approaches (and afterwards), but if you're planning to attend, definitely drop me a note. You can find more info online about the 2012 Digital Media and Learning conference. It looks fantastic.