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I Can't Program!

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 3 months ago

    The first day of the Building Learning Communities Conference 07 for me was actually the day before the conference actually began.  Cathy and I had signed up to spend the day at the MIT Media Lab working with the folks at the Lifelong Kindergarten group and their visual programming language called Scratch

    I know NOTHING about programming computers.  I am a classic end-user.  I don't care what the architecture of the programs is like, how it works, why it works - I just want computers and software to work!  But, I'm up for the challenge of programing, so we set our alarm for a dreadfully early hour.  We woke up to the snarl and shout of the alarm clock at 6:15 Boston time (5:15 Chicago)- to make the 7:15 bus to MIT. The bus driver took the curlicue way from the Newton Marriot to Kendall Square in Cambridge - MIT and the Wiesner Building, home of the MIT Media Lab.

    Amazingly cheerful people, led by Mitch Reznick, led us through the process of building a basic computer program to make two dimensional characters interact in settings and situations of our choice.

    The Lifelong Kindergarten at MIT is big fun. The room is full of Legos. They invented the lego robotics "mindstorms" stuff.   I wish my room at school looked like this place - like a demented giant decorated it.  Here is my crummy cell phone photo of the lab-

 Sheesh - I wish I could figure out how to text wrap!

Anyway - We had a great time learning stuff that for me is not what I usually learn, and that was a great lesson for me.  My strengths are not usually in these categories, but I made a little two page program with a picture of me and a silly illustration of my dog, Sky.  She chased a ball, we hung out in the Shakespeare Gardens at NU, and she came when I called.  And yes, I figued out - with the help of some good teachers - how to do it myself.

The LLK group believes that we are at our most innovative in Kindergarten - when we get to imagine, play and really innovate with our ideas.  Here is their model of problem solving - it's a spiral that starts  with Imagine -- Create -- Play -- Share -- Reflect -- Imagine.  What a great model for innovation, collaboration, and any classroom!  Now, how to bring it home to American Lit....   Kate

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