Enter the Scratch Ed Team from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with Getting Unstuck. The Scratch Ed Team works to support teachers with incorporating creative computer programming experiences into their classrooms using the Scratch Programming Language. The Creative Computing Curriculum Guide shares ideas and strategies meant to be adaptable to any computing classroom, afters school club, and other educational spaces. This guide is paired with the Getting Unstuck strategies that offer ways for educators to support their students with problem solving their way through a creative project. Together they help answer the questions, "how can I engage my students in creative computing? and, "what do we do when we get stuck?". These resources are open source, available to all, for free.
The Getting Unstuck summer learning experience was designed for educators, formal and informal, to connect and support each other through creative Scratch projects. Each week day, from July 6 through July 17 participants received an email containing an open ended programming prompt. There was a link to a studio for people to share their projects in. The studio serves not just a as a warehouse for projects, but as a place for people to draw inspiration, learn how to do things, ask questions, and to gather and offer feedback to each other through the comments feature of Scratch. In addition to the communication tools in Scratch, there was a Twitter hashtag (#GettingUnstuck) to follow and a Facebook group where participants could interact to work out bugs and share tips. Finally, there were two live video meetups for people to gather live to talk about their projects, teaching, learning, and anything else that came up.
I have long felt that the best professional development is teachers talking to other teachers. The Getting Unstuck experience is the best example of this kind of learning. Over the course of this 2 weeks I connected with many dozens of educators from around the world. I saw hundreds upon hundreds of inspiring Scratch projects. I learned new ways to use Scratch, explored elements of the language I am unfamiliar with, and collected inspirations for student projects to last me many years.
I had the great pleasure to serve as a facilitator for Getting Unstuck. As such, I spent many joyful hours checking out projects in the studios each day helping participants debug their programs, offering tips and encouragement in the comments, and feverishly taking notes in support of my own learning. During the two video meetups I acted as one of the breakout room small group facilitators. Getting Unstuck would certainly have been the highlight of my quarantine professional development schedule on its own. Getting to work alongside Karen and Paulina from HGSE, and Kimberly and Susan, both teachers with a wealth of experience teaching with Scratch, made the experience not just inspiring, but transformative. Heretofore it has been tough to muster much excitement about planning for the new school year given that so much of how it will go remains a colossal question mark. Now, at the conclusion of two weeks of intense making, learning, and connecting, I have finally found the energy and the sense of purpose I need to start crafting my lessons.
Today's live meetup ended with each of the 50+ participants individually unmuting themselves and sharing one word for how they are feeling here at the end of our Getting Unstuck adventure. Inspired, grateful, creative, empowered, and joyful were just some of the words given. I am feeling all of those.
My words cannot fully express how grateful I am to everyone who participated in Getting Unstuck 2020. The energy and inspiration I have received from this community will sustain me through the many challenges that lie ahead.
Each day's Getting Unstuck studio with everyone's projects linked from this page.