Let's connect our Scratch Day events to express the diversity of living things on earth

Hello, Scratcher friends in the world!!

I'm Yoshiro Miyata in Aichi, Japan. I am especially interested in how children from different cultures around the world can communicate with each other using Scratch!

Last year, together with fellow Scratchers in Japan, we organized three Scratch Day events in different places in Japan, and by connecting these events in a variety of ways, including online streaming and collaborations, we and our participants of all ages enjoyed the process of creating socially sharable meaning together. Connecting local events online enabled us to have more global perspective and helped us to construct meaning that goes far beyond individual Scratch programs.

We are planning to further develop this collaboration toward Scratch Day 2010, and would like to invite everyone interested in connecting our Scratch Day events online to join!

This year, Aichi is hosting COP10, an international conference on "biological diversity", an important theme relevant to everyone living on earth (http://www.cop10.jp/aichi-nagoya/english/index.html). We would like to invite many children and adults in the world to share their views on biological diversity. Our plans are as follows.

  1. Everyone chooses a favorite living thing and express it with Scratch: it can be an animation of some interesting behavior of an animal/bird/insect/fish, etc., that one observes, or a story about one's experience with it, or simply a drawing, etc..
  2. Everyone uploads their Scratch projects and share online in a Scratch gallery.
  3. Everyone tries each other's projects, downloads/remixes what they like, and give comments and ask questions to each other.
  4. Some participants may decide to collaborate and put their projects together to make more interesting projects: for example, a project expressing a story about two or more living things interacting, or even a project to express a whole ecosystem, etc..
  5. Finally, we will try to put all the projects together to create an expression of the biological diversity on the whole earth, in the form of, for example, Scratch projects embedded within Google Map/Earth.

Participants do not have to do all the five steps: they can choose to join this process in flexible ways: you can do only step 1-3, or decide to go further into 4, or 5, or do just some of the steps.

If you are interested in joining, or have any questions/opinions, please comment below, or send me a message (see my profile), so that we can start planning more details.

Here is a starter gallery. Please feel free to share any projects you have made or found that are related to biological diversity. http://scratch.mit.edu/galleries/view/70984

Looking forward to connecting with many of you!!

The Scratch Day event at MIT

The Scratch Day event at MIT was composed of a collection of workshops. I think it would be great to have one of the workshops themed around biological diversity and connectedness -- particularly one that is connected to other events around the world!

I look forward to learning more about your plans for working together...

Thank you Karen for your

Thank you Karen for your interest in this idea!

Yes, it would be great to have workshop events connected around the world!

I believe that just like diverse ecosystems on our planet are supporting each other, creating a network of diverse Scratch events would enrich our experiences and help us develop more sustainable learning community.

I will try to write more about my plans for working together soon.

This is a wonderful idea,

This is a wonderful idea, bringing the world of Scratch together with a theme, especially one as diverse and meaningful as our biological world is a superbe idea. Projects could be made to highlight endangered species and human effect on ecosystems, as well as making interactive food chains and life cycle animations. As the events are done in groups, the group (as a whole or in smaller groups) could collaberate to "design a creature" thinking about it's habitat and food, and how that might determine the creature's appearence. Projects could then be made and shared about that animal as part of the workshop. I like your idea very much and hope to see it at the workshop in London.

I'm really glad that you

I'm really glad that you found this idea interesting!

Thank you for many great suggestions.

It is a good idea to set more specific themes like endangered species and human effects so that we can focus more, exchange ideas, and deepen understanding.

The "design creature" collaboration would be interesting, too. Perhaps, you can define a set of environmental conditions and let the groups design creatures that would be able to survive in that environment. Or you can put a number of creatures (and plants) in a single environment and find a niche for each creature so that they can sustain themselves, like in a biotope (a micro ecosystem).

It's great because I was hoping that people will come up with many interesting ideas like yours, and that we can all share and remix our ideas to produce new ideas. Just like living things are connected and support each other, ideas can be connected and stimulate each other.

Oh, is there going to be a workshop in London? Are you organizing it? Yes, it would be nice if you can try these great ideas there.

I'm only 17 and actually live

I'm only 17 and actually live quite a while from London, but there was an event there last year so hopefully there will be one again, and I hope to help run the activities on the actual day. I'm very glad you like my suggestions.

It is even better to know

It is even better to know that young people like yourself are interested in this project, and even greater that you are willing to help an event! I too hope that there will be an event in London this year.

In the meantime, I have opened a biological diversity gallery: http://scratch.mit.edu/galleries/view/70984 So, please feel free to share whatever you've got. I'm hoping that by sharing our ideas online, we can start imagining about what kind of events we would like to create and how we can connect them.

By the way, your "What's Scratching?" site looks interesting. I liked the way you introduced interesting projects in your first issue and look forward to reading more! Thanks for your comments on my project, too!

Hello Yoshiro, We're in

Hello Yoshiro,

We're in Wellington, New Zealand. Our Scratch Day will be run on the 22nd May, in the afternoon so that we are as close as possible to the USA event. I think we are four hours ahead of Japan.

New Zealand is proud of its unique biological diversity, so this sounds like a lot of fun and we'll certainly center one workshop on the activities. I presume you'd like a live link? It would be great to get the kids to actually have some facetime, even via skype or whatever.


Dan Bishop
Learning Media Ltd

Hello Dan, It would be great

Hello Dan,

It would be great if you can share New Zealand's wonderful biological diversity! That would be an exciting experience for the rest of the world!

I agree with you that it would be great to get the kids to meet each other face-to-face. Let's discuss how and what we would like to communicate!

You are right that we need to coordinate the time frame for our workshops. I understand from your event description that your workshop starts at 1pm, which would be our 9am. So it would not be too difficult to find time that we can communicate online.

It seems more difficult to coordinate time with MIT. The MIT event starts at 1pm, which would be our midnight.

So far, it looks like we will have in our communication at least people from New Zealand, MIT, and a few places in Japan. This is so great! I hope people from other areas and countries would be interested in joining us!

Hello Dan, I saw the schedule

Hello Dan,

I saw the schedule of your event and thought it looks very interesting! I wonder if you still plan to have a part of your workshop focus on New Zealand's unique biological diversity. If so, it would be nice to share our ideas and creations, and possibly connect our events online, or try remixing.

We plan to have a ustream channel open during our event, and try skype communication with Tokyo (7pm your time) and MIT event (early next morning), which will be after your event is over. I understand you plan to have online time near the end of your event. That would be our 2pm, so we could try to show you some works-in-progress then.

By the way, in our events we will have mainly university students, plus some guests visiting us from other countries like Korea, USA, and EU, and from other universities.

We've just received a mail

We've just received a mail from Karen (thank you, Karen!) that our workshop proposal for the Scratch@MIT conference has been accepted! So, I hope to meet many of you in person at MIT in August!

Although our workshop is not about biological diversity, its basic concept is very relevant here. The idea is that we can create a richer and more interesting collaboration by sharing every step of the creative learning spiral. So, we can share not only our finished Scratch projects, but also the process of imagining new ideas, creating new projects, playing with them, and reflecting on the whole process. That way, hopefully everyone can find a natural role to play in the collaboration, just like every living thing has a niche in the ecosystem.

In our collaboration for the Scratch day events, different groups will have different interests and strengths, each of which we would like to value. So, it would be useful to share what our interests and strengths are.

Here is how we plan to prepare for our Scratch Day event.

  1. We are now collecting photos and drawings of living things at http://ecoscratchjp.ning.com/photo (This site is in Japanese. We are preparing a mirror site in English).
  2. In April, students in my class at Chukyo University will use these photos and drawings to create Scratch animations of living things.
  3. The students will design and prepare activities and materials (tutorials, sample spirites and projects, etc.) for the Scratch Day, which we will make available online (either at the official Scratch site, or at our own site).
  4. On the Scratch Day, the participants will use these materials to create their own Scratch animations.
  5. Other Scratch Day events in the world can also use the materials (photos, drawings, sample sprites and projects) that we will have developed.
  6. We can all share the Scratch projects created in our Scratch Day events, by uploading to http://scratch.mit.edu/.
  7. We will find time during the events to communicate online with each other, to ask questions about each other's projects, learn about biological diversity in other countries, and make many friends!
  8. We will have some foreign students who will help our Japanese participants communicate in English.

What are your plans for the Scratch Day events? How do you think we can collaborate?

I have a small group of

I have a small group of students who would enjoy creating Scratch animations of living things. If we are not able to connect with you live on the 22nd, we can connect asynchronously before your event and post our creations on the Scratch website.

How exciting to have another

How exciting to have another group joining this collaboration! Scratch animations of living things sounds interesting!

Yes, we can certainly connect asynchronously and post our creations on the Scratch website and comment on each other's creations.

We can use the time differences between our events for collaboration, too. For example, you can download what other groups have created and posted, remix and post the new creations, and so on.

On May 22, our group in Japan can create something that your group in the US can remix later. So, let us know if there is something we can try to create for your group to work on.

Let's discuss and make plans for how we can collaborate.

Today, students in my class

Today, students in my class have started working on this project. They divided themselves into teams, and each team is discussing about a concept for collaboration they've come up with.

One team has decided to create a simulated natural environment within Scratch in which anyone can try to design a living thing (as a Scratch sprite) that can survive in that environment. You can put any number of such living things in the environment and watch how they interact, grow and die. This team has picked as their environment a rice field near our campus surrounded by a beautiful forest and orchards with peach and persimmon trees. They will make this environment as a Scratch project. During the first two weeks of May, a group of younger students will try to create various creatures living in this environment, such as frogs, birds, fish, etc., as their first experience with Scratch.

Another team is trying to create animated version of a story about some animals. In a brainstorming session, they came up with many animal stories. Because there are Mongolian students in the team, they had some Mongolian as well as Japanese stories. In an interesting discussion about how they could combine Japanese and Mongolian stories, the Japanese students learned that animals are very important in the daily lives of Mongolian people. Each team member will work on character design, animation programming, designing various scenes in the story, etc.. They hope to be able to show their animated stories on May 22.

Some other groups will start working in May. I'll post their progress. We think Scratch is an environment with great potentials for collaborative learning. Let us know if you are interested in joining!

I told students about the

I told students about the project today. They started to make an ocean scene. Here is a sample of one of the student's projects. Scratch Project Other students are working on ocean scenes as well. One resource that I really like is http://www.arkive.com I see the students one time a week so we don't have a lot of time, but we can create something and have your students add to them or the reverse.

Great to see your students

Great to see your students working on this theme! I like the drawing of the fish and the waves! How different living things interact is an especially interesting aspect of biological diversity that leads to how an ecosystem sustains itself.

A Scratch workshop for children in Tokyo in March dealt with it in the context of a simple game in which each child designed a creature and tried to survive in an interaction with each other's creatures (the rule was that each creature should change its size when it touched certain colors). http://scratch.mit.edu/galleries/view/75743

I will discuss with my students to find some interesting ways they can collaborate with your students. I can think of several possibilities:

* If your students have ideas about how the shark and the small fish should interact, for example, my students could try to write scripts for that.
* If your students have ideas about what other kinds of creatures they would like to have in the ocean, my students could try to create them.
* Your students and my students could exchange ideas about what's happening in the ocean. They might discover something different between their ideas and learn from each other.

Let us exchange ideas about collaboration!

I see my students one time a week, too. I have three generations of students working as teams, more experienced students helping beginners, and learning from each other. It would be interesting to add even younger students' perspectives from other cultures!

I had a look at the link from

I had a look at the link from 75743. It was fun to view.

One of the options that was particularly interesting for my students when I told them about this project was the possibility that someone more experienced with Scratch could possibly take their Scratch project that they are working on and remix it in some way--possibly adding something to it or enhancing it in some way. This was especially intriguing to one of my students who is in third grade, but also really interesting to the 2 fourth and 2 sixth graders. By next Tuesday they will have their projects in a work in progress form to upload and perhaps then, you could ask your students if any of them would like to add to them in some way. I can upload a work-in-progress so that you can see what one of the students has created so far.
Learn more about this project

It is exciting that your

It is exciting that your students liked the idea of collaborating with us!

I like the work-in-progress project that you uploaded - beautifully done, with animation of the animals and the environment even with the sound!

If you can upload some other works by next Tuesday, I will share them with my students on Thursday and we will discuss how we can remix them. Please let us know if your students have some ideas or wishes for remix.

Hi, The students have

The students have uploaded their projects to the Jackson_Computers site. They would be happy to have their project remixed in any way you would like. They have experience creating glide options so that things move but perhaps some of your students have some other suggestions on ways that objects can move within an environment.

Hi, The students in my class

The students in my class loved your students' projects! A group is trying to remix some of the projects. So far, I have uploaded three works-in-progress and added them to the Biological Diversity Gallery. Some new living things have been added and the way the animals move has been modified. Sorry it took us a while. The students are trying to get ready to teach another group of younger students who will join the class on Thursday and try Scratch for the first time. Then we will keep working on the remixes.

Hi, Thanks very much for

Hi, Thanks very much for sharing the remixes! We looked at them today. Students were excited to see that there were some changes made to their work and thought that they were very cool. Two of the children downloaded your students version of the project since they wanted to add to it. We have never worked in Scratch with students who speak a language other than English so we were surprised that the project would download in 2 languages. This was an interesting challenge for us as we were trying to figure out how we could change the programming back to English so that we could add to it. Is that possible? Thanks again for working with the projects that we made.

Hi, we are glad that your

Hi, we are glad that your students thought the remixes were cool!
Sorry that some parts of the programs were in Japanese, like the sprite/costume names, speeches and messages, etc. I've changed them into English and uploaded to the gallery. Please check to see if they make sense now. 

Thank you so much for

Thank you so much for translating the Japanese! I was thinking that if a project was written in another language but downloaded in English, everything would be in English, so this was a surprise to me. I appreciate all of your efforts. I downloaded the projects this evening so that I could take a look at them. We've never used the broadcast command (as you have with the octopus) so we'll look at it to figure out how broadcast works. I see the name octopus on the command block and the sprites named octopus. I haven't figured out how it knows that the sprite is an 'octopus.' It works well and I'm sure that the students will want to try using these blocks as well. Thank you again!

This was our first time that

This was our first time that we've had the chance to share a project with another group of students. We appreciated your students Project notes and remixes of our projects. It was fun to see a remix created by older students and to read their thoughtful project notes. If you stream your Scratch Day activities or screen share them in a Skype call, I'd be happy to watch on Friday night/ your Saturday.
On Saturday two of my students will go to the MIT Scratch Day. I will go to the teacher sessions there. We look forward to learning more about Scratch.

We enjoyed remixing your

We enjoyed remixing your students' projects, too. I'm glad to hear that your students enjoyed, too. Sorry we haven't had time to work on some of them. Today we did some more remixes so hopefully should be able to share them by tomorrow. It would be great if you or your students can take a look and give comments.

Yes, we plan to stream throughout our event and it would be great to have Skype connection. I understand our event happens from 9pm Friday to 3am Saturday your time. How about a skype connection at 10pm your time (11am our time)? You can then meet the students who remixed your students' projects.

Also, a video document of our event will be on YouTube before the MIT event, so you and your students can probably watch it there. We will try skype then, but it will very early morning for us. Have fun at MIT! Please meet my good friend Nobuyuki Ueda who is visiting MIT!

Thanks for your students'

Thanks for your students' remixes. Daniel D (with the growling bear) and the young student with the Scratch cat will be going to the event at MIT. I will ask Daniel if he can try to add to one of your students projects as well. I would be happy to meet your students who remixed my students' projects at 10 PM EST on Friday.

ChukyoCreative Students,

ChukyoCreative Students,
Thank you for the opportunity to briefly skype in on 'Scratch Day'to you and to see the students who remixed my students'projects. It was nice seeing you! I understand that there were about 10 classmates who worked on the remixing assignment and that many of you worked together to create the remix. Two of my students had the opportunity to chat with your professor, Yoshiro Miyata before Scratch Day and to see your computer lab there. They were happy to see you and noticed that you use Scratch on the same imacs that we have in our lab!
When I showed my students the remixes of their projects they felt 'really important.' They liked seeing their name with your name next to it in the project title. I projected the project on the SMART Board so that the whole class could view it. (Usually they requested to see the remix two or three times, and as they were watching, they were verbalizing the changes that they noted.) I read students your project notes or they read them with me. They liked hearing what you shared about the remix. They agreed that having a student (a college student!) remix a project idea that they initiated was, in their words 'even better than lots of hits.'
Sometimes we downloaded the projects to look at the script. We were curious to see that the sprite names and the text was in Japanese. It was interesting for us to see how you expanded on their ideas.

I asked some of the students to tell me their reactions to the remixing. Here are a few of their comments:

Seamus created the scene with the monkey in the tree.
Remix: http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/chukyoCreative/1067809
He said, ‘I like it. It’s good. The mushrooms kept growing and growing. And I liked the drawing of the zebra. I liked how the neck movement of the head tilts down and the whole body stays upright.’

Chloe created the food chain of fish. http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/Jackson_Computers/1034900 She observed from your remix of the project that ‘The little minnow goes up while the bluetail zooms up and eats the minnow. Then the bluetail goes up and is eaten by another fish and then that other fish is eaten by the dolphin. Then the dolphin starts to float down and fade, dying. And the minnow floats up and eats the little red things and the cycle goes again.'
When Chloe created her initial idea, she knew what she concept she wanted to express, but didn't know how to express it. She reflected back on her original project and said that in her original project it looked like the fish were evolving. Your remix helped her to understand how her idea of a food chain could be illustrated. She clearly understood the concept once she saw your idea.

Diego created the seascape with the anchor that you added the octopus to.: 'I enjoyed the project and how they remixed it with my fish!'
remix: http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/mudpie446/1042386

Joseph created the seascape that you added the diver to. :
Original project:

Japan remix:

Joseph's comment:
'I thought it was very interesting that they choose my project. I think they improved it a lot. They made the waves go back and forth. They added a diver and the rescue tube... I thought it was great that a college student remixed my project because I wasn't expecting it.'

Yoshimi created the images for the song 'Joy inside of Me.'
http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/Jackson_Computers/1061735 This Scratch assignment was one of two 'introduction to Scratch' assignments that all of her third grade classmates had. I gave the third graders an mp3 file clip that I recorded of them singing 'Joy' for their spring concert. Students were challenged to import the sound from a shared folder, create original backgrounds for each of the sentences of the song clip using the Scratch paint editor and write a script to synchronize the sound clip with the music. When Yoshimi and her classmates saw your animation of the notes, her braids, and her mouth, they were all smiling. http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/chukyoCreative/1067695 Your remix brought them to the next 'level' where they could see that in Scratch, not only could they write scripts to make backgrounds move, but they could add sprites to the background and make the sprites move as well. You demonstrated to the third graders some of the endless possibilities of Scratch and in your project notes described your own reflection about your work. (Yoshimi returns to Japan next month, after a three year stay in states. It was especially meaningful for her to know that there are students doing Scratch in her home country as well. )

Brooke created the project with the monkey getting the coconut.
Original Project:

Remix by akikan55

US Remix
Remix based on akikan55 by Brooke and O.

Brooke enjoyed seeing how aikikan555 'made another monkey and revised the story so that the mother monkey got the coconut for the baby monkey.' She' liked how the baby monkey jumped instead of the mother monkey.' I asked her if she wanted to remix the project again. She decided to make a new character ('a native'). Then she wanted to add maracas so that the monkey would dance with the maracas. At first she decided to look for a maraca sound but the maraca sound online didn't have the right timing for her character. She decided to make the sound herself by using a plastic bag. Her classmate took over her project when the class ended. He edited the shoes and worked on the timing so it synched with the music. We hope that you have the chance to see the remix. It was fun for the students.

Thanks again for all of your efforts. We had fun with the project and appreciated your help! We'll look forward to another opportunity to work with and learn with students in your program in the fall.

Thank you so much for the

Thank you so much for the detailed report and reflection. It is very interesting and exciting to know how each student reacted to the remixes and learned from our collaboration, even with new remixes! I will share it with the Japanese students and try to report on their reactions and reflections.

Besides the group who worked on the remixing, we had three other groups.

A group worked on a Scratch project to express ecological system in typical Japanese countryside: http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/chukyoCreative/1067676

Another group worked on a Scratch animation of an old Japanese tale about a monkey and other animals:
Episode 1: http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/chukyoCreative/1067499
Episode 2: http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/chukyoCreative/1067519
Episode 3: http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/chukyoCreative/1067525

There are some things in this old tale that most Japanese children know but have never seen in real life. It would be interesting to see how children from different cultures would react.

Another group of Mongolian and Japanese students found a striking similarity between an old Mongolian tale and an old Japanese tale. It would be interesting to share old tales from different cultures. This group also created an interactive animation to illustrate how the Mongolian grassland became a desert:

Yes, we look forward to continuing this collaboration in the fall.

I will be doing a workshop at the Scratch@MIT conference on August 11 with Nobuyuki Ueda and other friends of mine, so I hope to see you and some of your students there and talk about our next plan.

We plan to start collaborating with a school in Inner-Mongolia in China in September, so we could have collaboration among children from these and other countries!