12628 EF: Inventors4Change. Fostering Invention-Based Collaborative Learning for Social Change
Organizers: Eduard Muntaner Perich, Jordi Freixenet, Xavier Cufí
Inventors4Change wants to provide children with tools and techniques that let them invent the changes they want to see in the world. It consists of a network of schools which use Technologies for Creative Learning and Digital Media tools to foster Invention-Based Collaborative Learning and Education for Global Citizenship among children from different countries. The project is particularly focused on children from disadvantaged communities, and children’s inventions are inspired by Human Development challenges.
The pilot project revolved around cross-cultural virtual exchange through Scratch (a free online programming language and education community designed at MIT to encourage kids to create and share interactive stuff), and took place from October 2013 to March 2014. In the first phase there were four participating schools, two from South India and two from Catalonia (Spain). The participating schools in India provide education to the most vulnerable and underserved children of India’s lowest caste, the so-called “untouchables”. The participating schools in Spain provide education to sons or daughters of immigrant families with very low socioeconomic status. Each school selected a group of students of different ages, and the organizers designed mixed teams of children from India and Catalonia. Each of these teams used Scratch and asynchronous communication (in English) to collaboratively invent a story/animation related to the issue of Children’s Rights.
After this trial, the idea is to progressively open the project and create a wide network of schools from around the world. In the second phase, right now we are training more teachers and conducting workshops for children in India (low-cost robotics, digital storytelling, etc.). A new school in India and a secondary school in Catalonia are joining the project, and some schools in Wales and US will join the network very soon too. This year the main topic for the animations/stories will be again inspired by a Human Development challenge, and connections among children via videoconference will be promoted.
We strongly believe that Computational Thinking, Invention-Based Collaborative Learning and Virtual Exchange help develop creativity, critical thinking and teamwork among children. Moreover, when this learning process takes place in disadvantaged communities, we are also helping those involved children to become agents of change, being more innovative and motivated to make positive changes. We promote educational uses of digital and networked media that enable greater voice, visibility, and equality for children from underserved communities.
The second phase will be completed in April 2015, so in June we will be able to share all the results.
The project was officially presented last summer at MIT Media Lab, during the Scratch Conferece 2014. Inventors4Change is a project of UdiGitalEdu (University of Girona).
Blog posts related to Inventors4Change: http://www.eduard.cat/search/label/Inventors4Change
Scratch Studio (with stories uploaded by children): http://scratch.mit.edu/studios/278075/