Long story short: The children were excited but I was probably more excited than them during the “Programming and creativity using Scratch” workshop series that took place at Koninklijk Atheneum Antwerpen as part of the TEDxYouth@Flanders 2012. Both the morning and the afternoon sessions went very well, and it was a unique experience exploring the fundamentals of computational thinking with children while helping them take their first steps into programming using Scratch. After this event, I have decied to publish my “Scratch Workshop Agenda” document under a Creative Commons license so that other people who would like to organize similar events could be able to take this as a starting point. It is also very nice to see that the previous version of this document had been used at the Devoxx4Kids events (held in Dutch and then French).
I was very lucky to have not only one but two translators, one of them being a professional, during the morning session. This enabled us to overcome some of the language barriers (and as usual, Scratch’s single-click language change feature is super handy for this kind of situations), and as a side effect, one of the translators in Antwerp learned how to program simple games and animations. 😉 During the afternoon session we did not need any translators because apparently all of the children understood English well enough to participate.
After two workshops with super energetic and enthusiastic children, I felt a little exhausted but that was probably almost nothing compared to the huge efforts of the TEDxYouth@Flanders organizers. I am very much thankful to all of them for such a nice organization but my special thanks goes to Eileen Nolan for persuading me to start teaching Scratch to children in Belgium in the first place and to Colin O’Neill for taking care a lot of details that led to a very smooth experience without any glitches at all.