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Friday, October 6 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Creativity and Connectivity: Exploring Issues of Identity, Community and Voice with Scratch

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Through television, podcasts, and the many other forms of media that pervade the digital landscape, young people constantly consume information. Because of the role media plays in shaping the thoughts, aspirations, and actions of young people, access to critical media literacies and supportive learning networks can help young people analyze mainstream narratives, which can be a source of disempowerment—especially for non-dominant youth. However, in today’s highly networked world, young people need to become critical creators as well as consumers, and supporting young people’s senses of trust and connectedness is essential to this task.

In this teach-in, we share lessons learned from the Cambridge Creative Citizens Project, a participatory action research project that engaged teens in a summer-long media production and “artivism” experience to explore issues of identity, community, and voice, using Scratch. We will also engage participants in creating and/or analyzing a media artifact related to an issue that is personally meaningful (such as family history, fake news, or immigration). This design experience will be used to ground discussion of ways to develop and support computational fluency through empowering design-based learning experiences in schools and informal learning environments, particularly for non-dominant youth. Participants need no prior programming experience and all are welcome to attend.

This teach-in will be facilitated by members of the Creative Computing Lab, based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and we will engage participants in creative production activities, using the Scratch programming language and online creative learning community. Our approach to supporting young people’s media empowerment draws from the communities of practice and connected learning frameworks. From these perspectives, learning and identity can be understood to be mutually constituted, and connected communities enable processes of identity and worldmaking as steps towards broader forms of empowerment.


Raquel Jimenez

Ph.D. student, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Friday October 6, 2017 9:00am - 10:30am PDT
Emerald Bay B