The Limestone Coast regional Scratch Day 09 event was one of over 100 events globally and one of two in Australia. With the tremendous success of the day those numbers are likely to increase in 2010. There is very good and strong feedback to indicate that we should have at least one event again next year and possibly two, one for newbies and one for experienced. We might need to think about collaborating with another high school to make this happen. The model for the day was very successful and replicable.

Thirteen year 6/7 teams from regional primary schools were involved in this years Scratch Day event. Twelve of those teams also had a teacher with them. Fourteen Grant High School students, predominately year 9 but included students to year 12, acted as facilitators and mentors for the teams. Jason Plunkett, ICT Coordinator at Penola High School was there to help with the running of the event as was the Grant High School Systems Administrator.

Three other important visitors were there for the day or part thereof
  • Student Ambassador, Nikki Pallaras, who is doing the Multi-media program at Uni SA, was flown down for the day by Uni SA. Nikki is also the ADA Gifted Women’s Scholarship awardee
  • Pam Waters from the Mount Gambier Campus Information Technology unit
  • Google Engineer, Tim Ansell did a video conference session. Tim is originally from Adelaide

The event was promoted as an opportunity for students who would benefit from an event that would extend them in their Higher Order Thinking skills and who had the capacity to take their learning back to their respective school and teach their peers.

Support for the day

  • Uni SA - Sent Nikki Pallaras for the day and provided $500 in prize money
  • TAFE SA Information Technology - Sent Pam Water for the day and provided each student with a memory stick
  • Google - Tim Ansell video conference and a range of prizes
Involving industry and further education institutions was an important aspect of the day. It was important to let student see how their learning about Scratch can help them in the future. This was an opportunity for students to learn about career and further learning options.
A huge thankyou to these supporters for their commitment and generosity


Gender

  • Given the gender imbalance in the IT industry it was important to stipulate that there must be at least one member from each gender in the teams.
  • It was brilliant that the two guests for the day were both female

The event promotion stated that we wanted to sow seeds that tackling the hard stuff like Computer Science can be fun and worth doing. Encouraging SHIP students who are likely to be student leaders to be involved means that this message is likely to be passed on to a much broader student population.


Program for the day

9:00
Get to know each other
Introduce guests
Ask a member from each team to introduce their team to the gathering. Talk about their experience with Scratch, if any.
Overview of program for the day
9:15
Scratch Cards (may need longer on this)
Two computers and one set of cards per team
10:30
Scratch Challenges - http://limestonecoast-scratchers.wikispaces.com/Scratch+Challenges

Scratch Challenges
11:00
Recess
Before rest of GHS have recess - Inform canteen to open early
Students to stay near canteen area please
11:15
Uploading and sharing projects
Limestone Coast Scratchers - http://scratch.mit.edu/galleries/view/48030
11:25
Scratch Challenges - http://nebomusic.net/scratch.html
12:20
Lunch
Before rest of GHS have lunch - Inform canteen to open early
Students to stay near canteen area please
1:00
Scratch Competition – strictly one hour.
Competition project – “Try Scratch - What would an advertisement for Scratch look
like? How would you convince someone to try Scratch?

http://day.scratch.mit.edu/sites/default/files/resources/design/individual/TryScratch.pdf
try_scratch.png
2:00
Uni SA talk about courses and how Scratch relates to careers
2:20
Google Tech Web Cam, Tim Ansell
2:40
Strategies for helping others
What makes a good teacher brainstorm
  • Talk people through not take over.
  • Give hints, not answers.
  • Ask people about the ideas they have already before providing further help.
2:55
Competition results announced
3:10
Thanks and finish
Feedback - Feedback Form

Prior to the day

Approximately one week prior to the event, Grant High School students were part of a 1.5 hours session to prepare them for their role as mentors and facilitators. The activities involved
  • Structured brainstorm to find the characteristics of a good mentor or facilitator
  • Some time to look at the website and the challenges that would be part of the day in the two challenges time slots

Presentations

Both speakers were received enthusiastically
  • Nikki spoke about some of the myths associated with the IT Industry, career opportunities and an overview of the course options at Uni SA. Nikki was an excellent choice for the day. Her presentation skills, involvement and connection with all of the students on the day made her a brilliant asset.
  • Tim spoke about what it is like working at Google and how he got there. Students had lots of questions for Tim indicating that he had captured their interest and connected really well with them. Another brilliant asset to the day.
One of the outcomes of these presentations was that creativity and programming skills are transferable. If you know the principles in one language it is possible to transfer that knowledge to other programming languages.


Feedback

feedback2.jpg

Students found the day
  • challenging,
  • heaps of fun and
  • felt confident that they could go back to their respective schools and teach the others.


There was generally strong agreement across all students and teachers that we should have Scratch Day in 2010.
Click on the image to go to the feedback form

Students and staff were asked to complete an online feedback form based on Debono's Thinking Hats.

The feedback on the event was exceptionally positive. Here are a few of the comments made

Year 6/7 students
It was the most awesome school day ever!!!!
PS: no joke

Scratch is probably the best internet software ive ever been on

Pretty fun, keen to show it to everyone, excellent, wants to learn more

I found that session was great!
Seeing that i havent ever used scratch before it was a whole new thing for me. Now that i know what i have to do i will use it alot! I am looking forward to teaching people back at my school.

The things i learned about scratch in just one day was amazing.
scratch is a huge program and it was good to learn about it today

I think the event went well and I'm honored that I was in that group of children that got to take part in the event.

Your mind runs away into the screen! All your thoughts end up in your project!

May be getting into IT won't be so bad after all

I think it has inspired me to do more with computers

Scratch was very fun and i cant wait to show my friends this awesome program

Needed more computers. It was pretty crowded.

Grant High School students
We spoke before scratch day about what we, as a teacher, should be like. we were well informed and covered everything.

Before Scratch day we were told what was expected from us. This included what we were going to be teaching, and the method we should use to teach.

I felt really good about the event. The students I had were quick learners and were enthusiastic. I had no bad feelings about the thought of teaching students because they wanted to do it.

I've learnt that I'm a pretty good teacher. I was happy with winning. I was happy with getting a USB. I really wanted a google t-shirt and still really want one.

I think that Scratch day went very well. Teaching the year 6's and 7's was a great experience and I would like to do it again next year. I was glad to see that they enjoyed it.

The things that happened on Scratch day will help my resume for people skills, communication skills and IT skills.

I think that teaching the years 6's and 7's improved my people skills and now I am better at explaining instructions.

Teachers
The information provided before the event was excellent. Provision of useful links enabled me to have a quick look at what Scratch was all about so that I could answer questions from parents and students.

The information given in the lead up set the tone for the day. It was advertised as an informative, fun, interesting day and that is what happened. There was lots of information presented on possible futures in IT. There was also an abundance of information about Scratch available from the Grant Student Facilitators.

I went back to school buzzing about the day and all the things that my students learnt. I spent ten minutes excitedly telling our school's principal about the day then proceeded to tell six other staff members. There was a great atmosphere of inquiry and fun throughout the day and it had an obvious positive effect on both myself and the students from my school.

The day was very engaging and enjoyable. Our team of three thoroughly enjoyed it and the day was a success due the input of the Grant High mentors. They worked very well with all teams, providing advice and hints when needed and resisted the temptation to 'take control'. The guest speakers were great and Peter did a fantastic job facilitating the day.

The worst thing about the event was that we had to stop and go home!

The most positive thing was the learning of new Scratch skills and understanding just how easy it is to pick up (even for adults!!)
Lunch was excellent too! The car trip home was lively with lots of discussion about what we had done, but also where we could go next. The team is very excited about sharing their knowledge with their peers. Upon arriving home, my son immediately downloaded Scratch and then spent the next hour or so teaching his mother and sister all about Scratch. He even made an animated birthday card for his older sister. it was fantastic!

I can see this being a major event for the Limestone Coast Scratchers. In future, perhaps similar days aimed at beginners, but also advanced days for those that want to extend, test their skills against others in the region. Scratch competitions etc. with extension challenges for the chronic Scratchers! Online evaluation of games etc. across sites .... the list goes on.

Scratch will be a part of our IT program for Term 3 with the team excited about sharing with their peers. Can envisage students using Scratch for presentation of research projects etc.
I'm infected and haven't stopped Scratching in the past 2 days. It's great fun.

WOW! The students came to Scratch knowing nothing about it and left enthused and informed.
Having time to just "play" with computers without fear of "breaking" anything or not achieving the expected work load.

I can see myself planning a unit of work based around Scratch. I would love to participate in any future Scratch day events. I could do it all over again tomorrow with my entire class!

Barriers for our school- not enough computers/ computer time. I hope that the positive attitudes of the students who attended will effect the students and staff who did not as this could provide a barrier to others getting involved in Scratch.

I have been to lots of IT training but this has to be the best. It makes sense to train the students to be the teachers. Maybe this could be a model that is used for some other IT training.