Nokia's Scratching Attracts Teacher Attention

Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create interactive art, stories, simulations, music and games – and share those creations online.  Since it was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007, over 2.4 million Scratch projects have been developed, mostly by 11-16 year olds.

Finnish global telecommunications leader, Nokia has cleverly leveraged Scratch as a way of both teaching programming and encouraging young people to learn about collaboration, teamwork and mentoring.  For a number of years, high school trainees following Nokia internships have been successfully running after-school Scratch Clubs for elementary school children aged 11-12 in the town of Akaa in Southern Finland.  With Nokia’s support, the interns have developed guidelines which they follow to set up and host the clubs in a collaborative and fun way.

Feedback on the Scratch Clubs has been very positive, and the number of schools and students in Akaa involved in them is growing. This prompted Nokia to offer the guidelines for creating a Scratch Club as an inGenious practice.

“The clubs run without the teacher having to do the teaching. Teacher resources are limited so I’d like to promote the approach that you don’t always have to have the teacher taking responsibility. The schools we’ve collaborated with are eager to run the clubs because they do not put extra load on teachers. Our trainees take responsibility for planning and running the clubs”, says Timo Sorsa, Head of Student Innovation Lab, Nokia.

So far, Nokia’s feedback on the clubs’ success is anecdotal. Through inGenious, the company will be able to get some formal, objective assessment of the practice and test the idea beyond Finland.

The Nokia Scratch Club scheme has captured the imagination of inGenious pilot schools and teachers from all over the EU have been calling for local language versions.

So, you can now download the Nokia guidelines on setting up a Scratch club in English and Finnish, with Spanish following at the beginning of September 2012. If you get the itch and use them, please let us know how scratchy your students got.

If you would like to learn more about the use of Scratch as a teaching tool sign up to our Community of Practice on the topic.

Click here to learn more about Nokia’s projects in education.