Pedagogical approaches in London and Prague
While the Literacy from Scratch project is a joint international venture, it is clear that there are differences emerging between the approaches to the classroom use of Scratch for developing creative narrative work in the two countries:
In London, the work undertaken in the classroom is being driven by a teacher of English, and the project is therefore seen from a Literacy viewpoint. The Planning Sheet grids are completed in words, for example.
In Prague, by contrast, the same project is being driven by a school in which art and creativity are central, and so the classwork developed is seen largely from an artistic viewpoint. This includes the Planning Sheets, which are completed using pupils’ own images. Examples are posted on this web site.
Both countries use storyboarding techniques, therefore, but in two very different ways.
Both countries agree, however, that these two approaches need to be supported and developed in the future by the addition of Music sound files (WAV and MPEG) created in the classroom by pupils, which can provide background, atmospheric accompaniment to parts of their unfolding narratives.
Further work is being developed using voice-over sound files for the sprites, when they are speaking or thinking.
In London, the work is being taken further across the curriculum: into maths, science, history and geography – anywhere in which narrative lines can be used to develop pupil learning. A new web section is being added to illustrate this cross-curricular use of Scratch.
In Prague, the activity is also being further developed across the curriculum, from literacy to communicate, into language and ICT education.
The most important practical aspect of learning how to use Scratch has, in both countries, been to deconstruct existing examples of projects, i.e. to look at successful coding, and to learn from these examples how to solve problems. In Prague, files sent from the UK were used both as a stimulus for creativity, and as examples from which Czech pupils could learn details of successful coding practice. The ICT student teacher explained to the ICT and language teachers how their pupils would work, and developed study materials (also on this web site) for the project. In this way, experienced teachers were able to learn from younger student teachers how to work in Scratch.
At Brunel University, the Workshop plenary sessions in which trainee student teachers shared their work with each other proved to be the most valuable parts of the Workshop sessions. There were shared solutions to coding problems, and the stimulus of seeing the creative ideas of others also resulted in further creative ideas. The plenary sessions were steadily increased in length, as the project developed.