April 9-12, 2008
Montréal, Québec, Canada

Interactions: Description

Scratch: online, interactive, social programming language from the MIT LifeLong Kindergarten Group

Liddy Nevile, La Trobe University, Australia

Music DJs 'scratch' when they explore sounds and ideas. Scratch is a new, free, programming language from MIT's Media Lab that makes it easy to work with a mix of media to explore ideas and construct interactive on-screen objects and environments. Approximately 95,000 such projects have been published this year on the open international Web site where social networking supports collaboration in project building and critique of ideas represented.

This mini-workshop aims to show how easy it is to engage on-screen and online with ideas, objects and other people in a Scratch environment. Museum staff can easily use Scratch to provide interactive on-screen demonstrations of precious items within a collection such as mechanical devices; to provide interactive contexts for collections, such as background materials; to provide opportunities for museum visitors to further explore exhibitions, and importantly, to take the museum and their museum experiences to the outside world.

The workshop will introduce the website and programming language to participants; demonstrate some uses of the programming language; demonstrate the facilities of the website and provide some examples of how it has been used, and show how physical actions can be used to drive screen objects so Scratch can be used for the development of interactive exhibitions.

Participants will not need to have any particular skills but those with advanced programming skills will be equally engaged as those who have none. Participants may bring a laptop computer running Scratch on Mac OS X, Windows or Ubuntu Wine. Scratch is available (for free) from or at the workshop.

Mini-Workshop: Programming Scratch [Mini-Workshop]

Keywords: Scratch, programming, social networking