12709 ED: Hip-Hop Dance and Scratch: Interest-Based Pathways into Computational Fluency

06/13/2015 @ 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
The Wiltern C

Organizers: Ricarose Roque, Natalie Rusk, Eric Schilling
Presenters: Saskia Leggett, Crystle Martin, Santina Protopapa, Celia Avila, Paulina Haduong

Intended Audience

Educators (working with youth ages 8 and up) in formal or informal learning spaces, parents, researchers, and other program leaders. No Scratch experience necessary. Bring your own laptop (if available).

About the Workshop:

We live in a society that is increasingly mediated by computational systems embedded within our social networks, transportation, educational settings, and civic participation. For youth, learning how to code, or to create, design, and express oneself with technology, is an important fluency for participation in our society. And as they learn to code, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas and practices such as sequencing, variables, debugging, and remixing.

However, people often see coding as a narrow activity that is disconnected from their interests and appropriate only for a small tech-savvy minority. In this hands-on workshop for educators, youth program staff, and researchers, we will explore two questions: (1) how we can design equitable and robust interest-based pathways into computational fluency? (2) how can we support youth to engage in these pathways?

The workshop will engage participants in a hip-hop dance activity using the Scratch programming language. Hip-hop dance is a part of a global movement initiated by youth which invites creative self-expression. Scratch is a programming language and online community which enables young people to create and share their own interactive media such as animations, games, and stories. In the workshop, participants will learn about hip-hop dance moves, such as toprocking and popping, and then take photos of themselves in several dance moves. Using Scratch, participants will create animations of their dance moves and play with music beats.

We will use this design experience as a launching point for discussing ways to develop and support interest-based pathways into computational fluency for youth from groups under-represented in computing. To supplement the discussions, we will share the lessons we’ve learned implementing this Scratch hip-hop dance activity through workshops with youth and local hip-hop performers at public libraries in Los Angeles and Cleveland. Libraries are a powerful space for providing access and a supportive social context which cultivates the connected learning of youth. This activity has been developed in collaboration with the Progressive Arts Alliance, an arts organization based in Cleveland that engages youth in summer hip-hop camps and works with schools and libraries throughout the year on learning experiences using contemporary arts and 21st century media.

Hosting the workshop are Ricarose Roque, Natalie Rusk, Eric Schilling, and Saskia Leggett from the Scratch Team, Crystle Martin from the DML Research Hub, Santina Protopapa from the Progressive Arts Alliance, Celia Avila from Los Angeles Public Library, and Paulina Haduong from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. This workshop is part of a National Science Foundation funded initiative, “Coding for All: Interest-Driven Trajectories to Computational Fluency,” a collaboration led by the Scratch Team at the MIT Media Lab, the DML Research Hub at University of California Irvine, and Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

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