There are now many websites,such as Flickr and YouTubeand blogs, which support user-generated content, enablingpeople to create and share text,graphics, photos, and videos. Butfor the most part, Web 2.0 doesnot include interactive content.People interact with Web-basedanimations and games all thetime, but few people can createand share their own interactivecontent.The Scratch project  fromMIT Media Lab aims to changethat, making it easy for every-one, especially children andteens, to create and shareinteractive stories, games, andanimations on the Web, in theparticipatory spirit of Web 2.0.With the Scratch programmingenvironment , users snaptogether graphical programmingblocks to control the actions andinteractions of rich media con-tent, including photos, graphics,music, and sound. Then theyupload their interactive creationsto the shared Scratch website,where other members of theScratch community can interactwith the projects on the site anddownload the original sourcecode to examine or modify theproject .The Scratch website offers analternate model for how children
Empowering Kids to Create andShare Programmable Media
MIT Media Lab | firstname.lastname@example.org
MIT Media Lab | email@example.com
might use the Web as a platformfor learning, enabling them tocreate and share personallymeaningful projects, not simplyaccess information. Children cre-ate and share Scratch projectsas a way to express themselvescreatively, much as they wouldpaint a picture or build a castlewith LEGO bricks. In the processthey not only learn importantmath and computer scienceconcepts, but they also developimportant learning skills: cre-ative thinking, effective com-munication, critical analysis,systematic experimentation,iterative design, and continuallearning. We believe that theability to produce (not simplyinteract with) interactive contentis a key ingredient to achievingdigital literacy and becoming afull participant in the interactiveonline world.
Leaning Toug OnlineCommunity
The Scratch Online Communitymakes programming moreengaging by turning it into asocial activity. Hobbit, a 14-year-old member of the communityexplains: “When I think about it,recognition for my work is whatreally drew me into Scratch.Other things played a part, butthe feeling that my work wouldbe seen is what really motivatedme.” The website provides a widerange of entry points for com-munity interactions. Childrencomment on projects, uploadtheir own projects, and canbecome involved in existing proj-ects. The site is also a repositoryof user-generated content thatserves as a source of inspira-tion and appropriable objectsfor new ideas. Users can con-nect with each other, forming asocial network of creators andcollaborators through the use of “friendships,” galleries (groupsof projects based on a topic), andforums where users can posttheir questions or interests to bediscussed with others.Inspired by Jenkins’s descrip-tion of the states of participationin fan-fiction communities ,we put forward the idea thatmembers of user-generated-con-tent communities tend to movein four different roles or states of participation: passive consump-tion, active consumption, passiveproduction, and active produc-tion. In order to build a success-ful community, it is essential forthe sites in question to supportand welcome users regardless of which state of participation theyfall into. For example, Lave andWenger argue that “peripheralparticipation” is a legitimate
 Resnick, M., “Sowingthe Seeds for a MoreCreative Society.”
Learning & Leadingwith Technology
,International Societyfor Technology inEducation (ISTE),December 2007. Resnick, M., Y.Kafai, J. Maeda, J.Maloney, and N. Rusk,“A Networked, Media-Rich ProgrammingEnvironment to EnhanceTechnological Fluencyat After-School Centersin EconomicallyDisadvantagedCommunities.” Proposal[funded] to the NationalScience Foundation,Washington, DC: 2003. Monroy-Hernández, A., “ScratchR: Sharinguser-generated pro-grammable media.”Proceedings of the 6thInternational Conferenceon Interaction Designand Children, Aalborg,Denmark, 2007. Jenkins, Henry,
.New York: NYU Press,2006. Lave, J. andWenger, E.,
SituatedLearning: LegitimatePeripheral Participation
,Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1991.
i n t e r a c t i o n s M a r c h + A p r i l 2 0 0 8
Design: What It Is, and How To Teach and Learn It