Hooray! Scratch Day!

There are times that working at the Oven Glove just makes me smile. Today is one of those days, as I look forward to one of MIT Media Lab’s widest celebrations: Scratch Day. Just what is Scratch, that it deserves its own celebratory day? It’s a computer program for kids to create their own programs – specifically to create games, stories, animations, or other interactive pieces. These can be shared and further built upon online. The whole idea is to be interactive, collaborative, and expanding across the globe – which the program has done, as seen from the user-created events being held in various countries to celebrate the program’s second anniversary. Most events are totally open to the public and free, extending the creative zone to people who might not have experienced it before.

Personally I am not familiar with Scratch. I’ve looked at a few of the programs online, and plan to check out a few more when i go home. I might even try my hand at creating something small, just for fun. But the real interest for me in programs like this is something that MIT really excels at – making specific scientific knowledge available. The beauty of Scratch is that it’s a building-block system. You don’t need prior knowledge, you just learn as you go. And that learning gets you hooked on what else might be available out there – the work of different people, creative collaboration on artistic projects, or maybe even an interest in programming, in what goes into the software itself to make it work. making technology available to a broad audience is MIT’s driving mission – making it available for use with our creative impulses, to my mind, goes above and beyond.

I think it’s awesome. I still like LEGOs, and this is like communal LEGO-building online, plus a learning component. But what else would you expect from the guy who’s head of MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten group?

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