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Designing for Imagination: Creative Computing in the K–12 Classroom

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Sunday, June 23, 2:30–3:30 pm
Location: Nutter Theater: Level 1

Dr. Karen Brennan   Alexandra Kutler   Laura Peters  
Learning to program can be exciting, engaging, and empowering. Join members of the Creative Computing Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for an exploration of how K–12 teachers design beautiful and powerful computer science learning experiences in their classrooms.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Project-, problem- and challenge-based learning
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
For Educators:
  • Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Our team at the Harvard Graduate School of Education supports K–12 educators in designing computer science learning experiences that foreground creativity, self-expression, and problem solving, across grades and subject areas. Through our research and outreach activities, we aim to enable a diverse range of people, from students to teachers, to imagine themselves as computational creators.

In this Interactive Lecture, we will offer participants an overview, with examples, of creative approaches to computer science education. Through this session, participants will: (1) reflect on creative computing as a practice and philosophy, through the perspectives of teachers, students, and educational researchers, (2) meet and connect with other educators who are interested in fostering creative computing in their classrooms, and (3) explore the breadth and depth of resources that support this work, produced by our group and by educators from around the world.


This 60-minute session will be organized in three parts, introducing session participants to creative computing as a philosophy and practice. In the first part, session participants will interact with student projects and hear student testimonials as a way to imagine what is possible with creative computing. In the second part, session participants will hear stories of practice from educators who foster creative computing in their K–12 classrooms. Finally, in the third part, participants will be invited to write a letter to themselves, in response to the prompt: What is the story you want to tell about your creative computing classroom?

Our team will close out with a reflection and Q&A, including a brief walkthrough of our three main resources—the Creative Computing Curriculum Guide, the ScratchEd Online Community, and the ScratchEd Meetups Network—guiding participants through the various ways in which our Lab supports educators to cultivate this creative computing mindset in their teaching practice.

5 minutes: Welcome and session overview
15 minutes: Exploring student work and testimonials
15 minutes: Hearing teacher stories of practice
15 minutes: Reflecting on personal intentions for creative computing classrooms
10 minutes: Final reflections and overview of our resources

This session will be participatory and reflective, with opportunities to examine student work and contemplate practice. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of the types of learning experiences that support creative computing, as well as familiarity with the resources offered by the Creative Computing Lab.

Supporting research

* Resnick, M. (2017). Lifelong kindergarten: Cultivating creativity through projects, passion, peers, and play. Boston, MA: MIT Press.
* Brennan, K., & Resnick, M. (2013). Imagining, creating, playing, sharing, reflecting: How online community supports young people as designers of interactive media. In N. Lavigne & C. Mouza (Eds.), Emerging Technologies for the Classroom: A Learning Sciences Perspective (pp. 253–268). New York, NY: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-4696-5_17
* Brennan, K. (2013). Learning computing through creating and connecting. Computer, 46(9), 52–59. doi:10.1109/MC.2013.229

More [+]


Dr. Karen Brennan, Harvard University
Alexandra Kutler, Harvard University
Laura Peters, Harvard University

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