Sharing a passion for learning through play, the LEGO Group, the LEGO Foundation, and the MIT Media Lab have worked together for 35 years exploring how a hands-on, minds-on approach to learning empowers children to become creative lifelong learners. A formal partnership between the LEGO Foundation and the Scratch Foundation, a nonprofit organization that grew out of the MIT Media Lab, will now bring learning through play with technology to millions of children through Scratch, the free block-based creative coding platform and online community that is now the world’s leading coding platform for children.
30 years of collaboration towards empowering children to be creative thinkers
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, LEGO Group owner and member of the LEGO Foundation Board, says: “
My late friend and founding faculty member at the MIT Media Lab Professor Seymour Papert has had a great impact on how we understand the way that children learn. His studies on how children make sense of the world serve as an extraordinary inspiration for how we support children’s creativity, imagination, play, and learning.
Children learn most effectively when they are playfully engaged in constructing meaningful projects. Scratch shows how computer programming is not only a very creative process but also an important skills-building activity that offers children the opportunity to tell and live their own stories by building and creating things that are important to them.
It is a joy to know that so many children across the world will now get the opportunity to learn through play with Scratch.”
With Scratch, children can create their own digital stories, games, and animations, then share them with one another in an online community. Children create Scratch programs by snapping together graphical blocks of code, similar to the way children build with LEGO bricks. Developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch was publicly launched in 2007. Last year, Scratch moved out of MIT to the Scratch Foundation, a nonprofit organization, to support its continuing growth and long-term sustainability.
Scratch has proven to be an effective digital platform for supporting learning through play. As children create and share Scratch projects, they learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively, essential skills for everyone in today’s world. Scratch is used by millions of children in homes, schools, and community centers. But the use of Scratch is unevenly distributed around the world. The new LEGO Foundation partnership with the Scratch Foundation will bring Scratch tools, materials, and activities to children who have not previously had the opportunities to engage in learning through play with digital technologies. The initial focus is on children and their communities in Mexico, South Africa, Ukraine, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda.
Scratch Around the World
“This is the start of a wonderful new chapter in our 35-year collaboration,” says Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at MIT Media Lab, co-founder of Scratch, and Chair of the Scratch Foundation Board. “The key to our long relationship is our shared commitment to improving the lives of children, by providing children with new tools and activities for creating, playing, and learning. We’re always looking to provide children with opportunities for understanding the world in new ways -- and expressing themselves in new ways.”
- Grant description: With a 5-year 10,000,000 USD grant, the Scratch Foundation will become one of the four specialist partners in the new LEGO Foundation Tech & Play Initiative, connecting organisations around the world that are igniting a more playful approach to using technology in classrooms. As part of this work, they will work with strategic partners in important LEGO Foundation geographies to develop and disseminate free digital tools, activities, and educational materials, based on the Scratch programming platform and online community, to make learning through play with technology more accessible to teachers and equip children with the skills to thrive in a technology-driven world.
- The LEGO Foundation aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; a mission that it shares with the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to building a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents, the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for play. www.LEGOFoundation.com
- The Scratch Foundation’s mission is to provide all children, from all backgrounds, with opportunities to imagine, create, and share with new technologies, so they can shape the world of tomorrow. The Foundation provides Scratch as a free, safe, creative platform, available in more than 60 languages. Last year, more than 20 million young people created projects with Scratch. scratch.mit.edu