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TEACHERS EMPOWERED BY SCRATCH WORKSHOPS

Press Release

Workshops on the Scratch coding concept, sponsored by the Seprod Foundation, have been opening the eyes of school teachers to the benefits of using Scratch in their respective classrooms. They believe using Scratch is the way forward to teaching today’s children in a technology-based society as it facilities a more efficient way to communicate to students.

Scratch is forerunner of many of the popular apps promising to teach young children how to code, and remains the premier platform for introducing creative computing to them. Scratch works both offline and online, has millions of users worldwide, and enables children to create games, animations and interactive stories in fun, playful exploration.More than 100 teachers engaged in workshops held on April 20, April 29, 30, May 5 and May 6 at General Accident, 58 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10. During the workshops, teachers were given a mixture of activities such as let’s dance, hide and seek, animation, dress up, and story-telling to explore different features of the Scratch software. They felt empowered and excited to share with their class.“Teachers are realizing the vast potential of Scratch and that through learning how to code, they are also coding to learn,” said Marvin Hall, the founder of Halls of Learning who is partnering with the Seprod Foundation on the initiative.“Specifically, one teacher remarked that Scratch would be perfect for her "Read Across Jamaica" activity as the children could make their own stories and, hence, develop their literacy and understanding of the concepts in a fun and interactive way. It is obvious that Scratch is breaking down boundaries for less tech savvy teachers to engage in technology and empowering them to bring it back to their classrooms.”


Michael Layne, a Visual Arts teacher at the Enda Manley School of Arts, said learning to use the technology has given him the ability to manipulate digital tools that will enable expressions of learning in more efficient and diverse ways. He believes using Scratch will allow teachers to deliver content more efficiently and improve his teacher/student communication.“I have realized that this could be something that would be good for all our student teachers to use. We are always training them to find interesting ways to engage students. The use of digital tools is more available in classrooms now more than ever before and helping to bridge that gap, where they are thinking that they always have to be writing on the chalkboard. In a college where we are training students to understand that children learn by doing and not by them showing them all the time, this would be a very hands-on, practical way for them to connect the theory to the practice."Tracy Ann Hall, teacher at Jonathon Grant High School, said from what she has learnt at the workshop, she will now be able to help her students to explore more of the outside world and learn about new developments in technology.“

The experience here at the Scratch workshop was very exciting. It is something new and innovative that we can take to the classroom and help the students to gravitate more to whatever curricular, whatever areas you are teaching because the animation helps to get them more involved in the learning process,” said the 2017 Global Teacher Prize finallist, who believes that using Scratch would be more beneficial when teaching younger students.“I think, though, that it is not for the upper school, not the grade-10 and -11 students, but for the (grades) seven and eight, based on what I have seen. I see how well it can be integrated into that area and when I go back to Jonathan Grant I will be sharing this with some of the teachers.”So far, over 130  teachers have been trained over 11 workshops and over 13,000 students impacted by the scratch Day training sessions.