Family Creative Learning is a workshop series that engages children and their parents to learn together — as designers and inventors — through the use of creative technologies. We designed the workshops to strengthen the social support and expertise of families with limited access to resources and experiences around computing.
As they create together, families learn how to support one another in their learning from asking questions, giving feedback, and persevering through challenges.
Children and parents also connect with other families, by sharing meals from local restaurants, engaging in inter-family activities, and sharing their projects.
Technology pervades all aspects of our lives and young people are growing up playing, learning, and connecting with technology. However, parents, especially those with little to no background in technology, are often unsure what role they can play. These workshops leverage the learning dynamics that families already use in activities like literacy development and support families in using them in the context of computing, enabling parents and children to become more empowered learning partners.
Families participate in a series of five 2-hour workshops held in the evenings. In every workshop, we begin with dinner, followed by a collaborative design activity, using Scratch and MaKey MaKey. With Scratch, families program their own interactive stories, games, and animations. With MaKey MaKey, families create physical interfaces to computers, using everyday objects that conduct electricity (such as fruits or Play-Doh). With Scratch and MaKey MaKey, families learn to not only use new technologies, but also create their own technologies. The workshop series culminates in a showcase night for families to share their projects to the whole community.
The Creative Communities research group at the University of Colorado Boulder, directed by Ricarose Roque, designs the workshops with educators and coordinators in schools and community organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs and public libraries. They have implemented workshop series in Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Mexico. Since the Family Creative Learning Facilitator Guide was released in 2014, many educators from around the world have adapted these workshops in their settings.