Thesis

SCRATCH ♥ MEMORIES: Visualizations that empower children to celebrate and reflect on their creative trajectories

Copyright

©2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

Manuj Dhariwal

Thesis: Shruti Dhariwal. SCRATCH ♥ MEMORIES: Visualizations that empower children to celebrate and reflect on their creative trajectories. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. September 2018.

Abstract

Millions of young people around the world are increasingly engaging on digital platforms in learning computer programming to create and share interactive projects, and connect with others online. Not surprisingly, this has also led to a growing interest in designing tools and methods that can automatically assess children’s progress in computational learning by analyzing the data being generated by their participation. Many of these approaches are looking at children’s data with a narrow lens, often using it to generate dashboards that are primarily designed for educators, and focus exclusively on evaluating specific computational concepts in children’s projects. In this thesis, I design and offer an alternative approach—one that utilizes children’s data for empowering children themselves to celebrate, discover, and reflect on the full range of their contributions as members of a creative community.

I introduce Scratch Memories, a new web-based visualization system I developed to enable children to reflect on their creative journey with Scratch, the world’s largest online programming community for children. The system dynamically generates personalized visualizations highlighting a child’s key moments, diverse creations, and collaborative experiences with others since the time they first joined the community. I share my own creative journey and the iterative development process behind this work. Based on observations and semi-structured interviews, I describe how the system not only sparked children to reflect on their personal trajectories, but also to feel inspired to make new memories. I conclude by describing future work through what I call my explorable explorations—a set of new in-progress tools and ideas that I hope can inspire others to create positive reflective experiences with data that celebrate, rather than evaluate, children’s creative selves. 

Copyright

©2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

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