From SuperGoo to Scratch: Exploring creative digital media production in informal learning.

Despite what the title of this article by Peppler and Kafai implies, these tools, such as Scratch, can be used in formal educational environments as well as informal ones. As many of my cohort colleagues have expressed, I too felt pessimistic about Scratch. I couldn’t figure out how and why I would use this tool in my classroom to establish essential learnings in my students’ educations.

This quote, mentioned also in last week’s blog posting, “Change in beliefs follows, rather than precedes practice, and that by helping teachers adopt new practices that are successful, the associated beliefs will also change” (Ertmer, 32).

After revisiting this notion, I decided to download Scratch and actually attempt using the program and from there seeing what I could discover that may be applicable to a second grade classroom.

After jumping headfirst into the programming for beginners program Scratch I remembered the quote from this article that defined the notion of a ‘convergent and participatory culture,’ (Peppler, 4) which also takes me back to the purpose of wikis). As Peppler and Kafai explain, these are concepts build upon the idea that we must begin producing for multiple audiences instead of merely consuming others’ productions.

Scratch is a highly motivating program that allows me to produce my very own productions! I have never programmed anything before and was able to get a cat character to move around and say, “Meow!” I can see my class having a very engaging educational experience using this to program their own stories or to reenact their favorite story as a whole class or in center time. As Nicole mentioned in her voice thread, this is high level think as one must organize, plan, read and interpret, and revise programming commands.

I suggest to anyone who is still skeptical to at least give Scratch a try and let practice proceed your belief! And… it’s free!

Ertmer, P. A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for technology integration? Educational Technology Research & Development, 53(4). 25-39.

Peppler, K. A., Kafai, Y. B. (2007). From SuperGoo to Scratch: Exploring creative digital media production in informal learning. Learning, Media and Technology Special Issue: Media Education Goes Digital, June issue.

Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0.

I found the most prominent idea in this article to be the social learning aspect, as stated on page 3, “the focus is not so much on what we are learning but on how we are learning.”  A child can only learn so much via direct instruction, say about tolerance of other perspectives and ideas, but if the child were to engage in discussions surrounding various topics and be able to consciously change his schema surrounding that concept – that knowledge, that student –  will want nothing more than to share the experience and, in turn, share and create a similar experience for another.

Also, I have always found apprenticeships to be an effective learning process; but how great to have multiple masters as well as multiple apprentices to learn with (I say to learn with instead of to learn from because learning to be is a evolutionary process; no matter if you are a master or an apprentice!)

Having open source forums increases motivation for students to further their education. On page 15, Brown and Adler write about the demand-pull approach, saying that it is a “passion-based learning.” The student’s natural intrinsic motivation is tapped simply by allowing access to information that is interesting and intriguing to the student. Ownership plays a large role as the student becomes an active participant in a community’s evolving knowledge-it is no longer solely the community molding the child. We all now have the opportunity to be heard and our ideas (no matter how small) are taken into account. We participate, therefore we are.

I teach second grade and I know my students would love to hear and see how others discuss their ideas. I wonder if, in my classroom, could set up a some sort of forum (perhaps it would be a blog) about certain children’s books where students, teachers, and parents to discuss what main ideas and learning they took away from the story (perhaps could invite the author to join in and give us what he or she thought when writing the story).

Brown, J. S., Adler, R.P. (2008). Minds on fire: Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. EDUCAUSE Review, 43(1).

Maximizing Motivation

Motivation is the key to effectively educating children. There are three main aspects to maximizing a child’s motivation to read: choice, collaboration, and competence (Gaskins, 1998). “One reason that motivation and engagement may influence the development of reading comprehension is that motivated students usually want to understand text content fully and therefore, process information deeply” (Guthrie, et. al., 2004). Read more in the following document: Maximizing Motivation

Empowering Our Youth: Providing Opportunities For Discovery

The artifact below focuses on my understanding of how people learn, what the best environmental contexts for learning are, what motivates learners, what my role as a professional educator is and how these all combine into my personal pedagogy.

Human Development and Principles of Learning