Last week, I was reintroduced to Scratch, a graphical programming language designed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. I first saw Scratch a few years ago, when I had friends working at the Media Lab, and at the time it seemed like a neat way for kids who were unfamiliar with programming to jump in and start designing their own interactive stories and games. It was a serious improvement on tools like Logo Turtle and Hypercard that I grew up with… but still, a programming environment.
Then, in May 2007, the Scratch online community (called ScratchR)
was released. It’s a place for Scratch users to upload, share, and remix their Scratch projects. ScratchR is a true social network, connecting hundreds of thousands of people–kids and adults–in about 200 countries around the world. It’s an inspiration to anyone trying to create an online community around informal learning. In this post, a look at the intentional design choices that make ScratchR work.
There are four sections to this post:
1. An overview of ScratchR user types and related statistics.
2. Why people participate.
3. How kids and adults are able to play together safely.
4. How ScratchR makes strong use of platform power and social objects.
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