Educators from across Africa are gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, this week for the first Scratch Africa Conference. The conference is an opportunity for educators to share ideas on how young people can create and learn with Scratch, the programming language and online community developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab.
At the conference, the Scratch Team is launching a Swahili version of Scratch. Now, for the first time, young people will be able to use the Swahili language interface to design and code their own animations, games, and other interactive projects. Marian Muthui, a graduate researcher in the Media Lab, led the Swahili translation initiative, and Chris Garrity, an engineer on the Scratch Team, implemented the translation. Scratch is now available in more than 50 languages, thanks to volunteer translators from around the globe.
Researchers from the Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten group, including Marian Muthui, Carmelo Presicce, and Carolina Rodeghiero, will be offering presentations and workshops at the conference. They will be featured in a panel discussion on Creativity in the Classroom, led by Ollie Bray, Director of the Connecting Play & Education Initiative at the LEGO Foundation.
The conference includes hands-on workshops, panel discussions, and poster sessions to explore and celebrate how young people throughout Africa are learning to express their ideas creatively with Scratch. The conference is organized by Max Musau and others working with the Africa Creative Coding and Learning Foundation, and runs from October 16 to 18, 2019.
In addition to the online version of Scratch at scratch.mit.edu, Scratch is also available as a downloadable app, so that teachers and students can use it in schools without internet connectivity.
The Scratch Africa conference is co-sponsored by the LEGO Foundation, Scratch Foundation, EPAM, and other supporters.