Peru project grows with Scratch workshops

Regional Director Dana Rensi at a conference table with her presentation on Scratch software

Dana Rensi, PPI’s regional director for Latin America, spent the month of March in Peru providing training and working to further develop the computer labs installed by PPI.

She conducted two training workshops with primary and secondary school teachers at the San Francisco Rio Itaya school in Iquitos, Peru. Nearly twenty teachers participated in the training workshops, including the principal of the school. The educators learned how to use Scratch, a coding program developed by MIT. It is a visual programming language designed for children that cultivates skills in creative problem solving, collaborating to develop solutions, and developing systematic thinking.

Teacher gives a "thumps up" after successfully completing a training activity

Teachers learned to use and work with Scratch for the first time during the workshops. They eagerly engaged with the program, learning to animate and adjust images through the “Animar Un Nombre (Animate a Name)” activity. After participating in the workshops, teachers are even more excited about the ways that they can engage their students in the computer lab to build their digital skills.

Ms. Rensi shared “My favorite part of the workshop was watching them learn and develop confidence in solving problems. When something is not working the way you want, you have to think about why. The activity develops problem solving skills. It is fulfilling to see learners create and come up with inventive solutions.”

Scratch has a simple and intuitive interface to help students learn programming using objects and attributes such as color, size, positioning, and movement. Without the need for deep knowledge in coding, Scratch users gain new skills that enhance their knowledge and performance in the computer lab as well as throughout their education and future employment.

Using computers to animate and change visual images is distinctive because it requires active learning. Rather than passively watching a video or presentation, students and teachers have to engage with the software to solve problems and develop solutions to complete the activity. These skills are important beyond the classroom; the students learn how to use creative thinking to develop solutions to questions and challenges in all areas of their lives.

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Teachers learn to use Scratch software in a computer lab