Working as a correspondent for ‘Business Week,’ I felt that I was simply informing people, not empowering them. I saw a parallel problem in the world of education. In too many educational settings, teachers simply ‘inform’ or ‘instruct’ learners, rather than providing learners with opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves.
For me, the most important and distinguishing property of new media is interactivity. But how many people can actually create interactive games, animations, or simulations? Not very many. So, in my mind, very few people are truly literate with new media.
With ‘Scratch,’ our goal is to allow people to mix together all kinds of media, not just sounds, in creative ways. We want people to start from existing materials – grabbing an image, grabbing some sound, maybe even bits of someone else’s program, and then extending them and mixing them to make them their own.
I became interested in educational technologies because I believe that they have the potential to transform how we practice and think about education and learning.
As I see it, whoever’s doing the inventing is also doing most of the learning – and probably having most of the fun.
Our society expects that everyone should learn to write, even though very few become professional writers. Similarly, I think that everyone should learn how to program, even though very few will become professional programmers.
When you learn to read and write, it opens up opportunities for you to learn so many other things. When you learn to read, you can then read to learn. And it’s the same thing with coding. If you learn to code, you can code to learn. Now some of the things you can learn are sort of obvious. You learn more about how computers work.