If you have a child (a young sibling, cousin, student, or even friend) in your life, chances are you know about Scratch—the wildly popular graphical program language that kids use to dream up interactive stories, games, and animations. But it’s entirely possible you don’t know the man behind Scratch, Mitch Resnick, the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, or that the Scratch Foundation has a strong, long-term relationship with EPAM. After listening to the latest iteration of The Resonance Test, in which Resnick and Shamilka Samarasinha, EPAM’s Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, answer questions from producer Ken Gordon, that ignorance will instantly evaporate.
The episode digs into the reasons why Scratch is, and always has been, a free program (“We didn't want there to be barriers for young people to get access to Scratch,” says Resnick) and how Scratch helped children during Covid (the first year of the pandemic saw the number of Scratch projects double and the number of comments the kids wrote on each other’s projects increase fivefold).
You’ll hear about Scratch and the kids of Ukraine. Says Resnick: “In early March, 10 days after the invasion of Ukraine, I got a message from an educator in Ukraine named Olesia Vlasii.” Vlasii had the idea to use Scratch to create what she called Waves of Kindness. The result: A Waves of Kindness gallery on the Scratch website “where kids from around the world could upload projects about how you could spread kindness,” says Resnick. Within days, Waves of Kindness featured “literally thousands of projects from kids around the world.”
The conversation also touches on how Scratch engages a wide ecosystem of learners to promote diversity and inclusion in expanding education and how EPAM’s partnership with Scratch fits into our other ESG activities. “In the social impact space, obviously education is one of our core areas,” says Samarasinha.
Finally, Resnik and Samarasinha talk about the evolving relationship between the Scratch Foundation and EPAM—our EPAM E-Kids program has expanded from four to 19 countries—and the upcoming virtual Scratch Conference.
It’s a conversation that your kid will want you to hear. So listen!The Resonance Test 82: Mitch Resnick
Get the inside skinny on the Scratch Foundation.
The EPAM E-kids program is programmed to succeed.
July 21 is the date of the next Scratch Conference. Save it.
Mitch Resnick is always learning from Scratch. Always.
If you like this conversation, you’ll love Resnick’s classic book, Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play.
Check out the Colour Divide and read about Waves of Kindness.
Shamilka Samarasinha and Elaina Shekhter discuss how EPAM’s CSR initiatives have evolved into their current ESG program.
Host: Alison Kotin
Engineer: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon