Mitchel Resnick: The Future of Digital Play

For the fourth part of this series, we asked experts to focus their predictions on digital play by answering the question, “How will the way children play with digital media change in the coming months and/or years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic?”

Creativity, community, and kindness

Mitchel Resnick, PhD, Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, is author of the book Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play.

On March 18, 2020, a member of the Scratch online coding community with username helloyowuzzup shared a project titled Acts of COVID Kindness! The project suggested ways for kids to use Scratch to make gifts for “someone who you think could use some cheering up.”

helloyowuzzup had previously created hundreds of other creative projects with Scratch, including animated stories, art contests, and collaborative music tournaments. But Acts of COVID Kindness! was her first Scratch project in three years. “Social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has given me the combination of free time, a desire to create something, and a need to spread kindness that brought me back here,” she wrote in the project. “I’ve always been incredibly grateful for the community here that supported me in so many creative endeavors.”

The need for creativity, community, and kindness has never been greater. As today’s children grow up, they will be confronted with a never-ending stream of unknown, unexpected, and unpredictable situations. The ability to think and act creatively is more important than ever before. And the isolation, disruptions, and anxieties caused by COVID-19 have highlighted how much children crave and need community and kindness in their lives.

As we design new technologies and activities for children, we can learn from helloyowuzzup’s experience on Scratch. Rather than focusing on delivering instruction to children, let’s look for more ways to provide children with tools, support, and opportunities to express themselves creatively, as part of a community, within a culture of kindness.


See more posts in this series:

Voices on the Future of Childhood

J. Alison Bryant | Andrew Przybylski | Jesse Schell | Jordan Shapiro
Juan Rubio | Katie Salen Tekinbaş | Mitchel Resnick | Tami Bhaumik

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