Teachers have a need to explore and share ideas, especially when they are thinking about ways to use tools, like Scratch software, in the classroom to support computational thinking and creativity. On January 30th, almost forty teachers and community partners gathered on a Saturday morning at Awesome, Inc. to simply learn from each other.
This event was the fourth Scratch educator meetup we have had in Kentucky over the past year and one of only a few groups in the nation meeting on a regular basis. The Scratch Ed Team began the meetups in Cambridge, Massachusetts a few years ago and have developed resources for teachers interested in organizing meetups for their area. We were excited that two members of the Scratch Ed Team from Harvard, Wilhelmina Peragine and Raquel Jiminez, traveled to Lexington simply “meet up” with us in January!
The meetup structure is quite simple and follows the “unmeeting” format. Teachers typically breakout into three or four groups to best meet their needs. The New to Scratch group is led by a teacher who spends time explain Scratch software to teachers, giving hands on instruction to the software and tips for teaching Scratch to students. The elementary teachers and middle/high school teachers break into two groups, each led by a teacher, to share ideas, lessons, assessments or to discuss problems they are having incorporating Scratch in the classroom. A separate room is set up with LEGO WeDos, Makey Makeys and Picoboards for teachers interested in learning more about ways to connect the physical environment to the teachers who attend are learning about creative computing and ways to connect the digital world to the physical world through low cost materials.
By meeting up, these teachers are creating personal learning networks, developing leadership skills and exploring tools designed to promote creativity and thinking in the classroom. We hope you will consider meeting up with us in the future!