In this podcast, Spotlight talks with MIT's Mitchel Resnick about Scratch, a programming language that makes it easy for kids to create and share media on the web. Scratch just won a Learning Lab award for innovation in digital media in the 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition.

Scratch launched in 2007 as a tool for kids to create their own interactive stories, games, animations, music and more. Since then, the program has been translated into nine languages and is used in schools, after-school programs and libraries, as well as at home.

Scratch teaches kids to “think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively,” says Resnick, director of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT’s Media Lab.

“Over the last few years," he adds, "we’ve had hundreds of thousands of kids share more than a million projects on the website. But we also get lots of requests from those kids for new features … so we really want to work with the community to open up the next generation of Scratch to open up even more possibilities for kids to share and collaborate.”

Like Lego bricks, Scratch makes it possible for kids to add to and build on each other's work. It also encourages kids to experiment -- and to fail, and they learn as they go through the cycle of trial and error. Just as important, says Resnick, is their ability to learn how to make something “that’s of interest to a community.”

With the Learning Lab award, Scratch will expand opportunities for young people to participate in the community aspect of the site – to share ideas, collaborate and remix projects -- and to integrate projects into social media tools.

“With Scratch, we want to give kids the ability to develop their own voice, to be inspired by what others do, but then put their own mark on it, to express themselves and share their own ideas with others in the world,” says Resnick.

For more on the Digital Media and Learning Competition see spotlight.macfound.org/btr/category/digital_media_and_learning_competition/

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