Education Opinion

Free, Online, Summer, Digital Arts Courses for Youth

By Justin Reich — July 02, 2014 2 min read
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At the last Digital Media and Learning Conference, one of my great discoveries was Johnathan Worth’s Phonar course, an open course on photography and digital visual expression. It’s a course, in the spirit of DS106 and other participatory, public online courses. Worth gave a great plenary presentation, about his journey to openness, which is worth watching. So I was excited to hear that the Connected Learning Alliance is hosting a summer version of the Phonar class, along with Coding with Scratch. The annoucement is listed below. So after your kids finish their project for the UNICEF/Berkman ebook on youth and Internet, they can join these classes. The announcement is below:

The website Pursuitery is hosting two free online classes -- “Coding with Scratch” and “Phonar Nation.” While anyone can take the classes, they are aimed at youth. The courses are being offered by the Connected Learning Alliance, a network that brings together organizations, projects, initiatives and individuals working to leverage today’s technology for more equitable access to learning and opportunity for all young people. Pursuitery is part of CLA.

Class Details

Phonar Nation and Coding with Scratch are being offered in two five-week sessions:

  • Coding with Scratch starts its next session, July 21.

  • Phonar Nation starts its next session, July 28.

Scratch is a programming language and online community developed as a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab as an easy way for young people to learn to code. Youth around the world have shared more than 4 million projects in more than 50 languages on the Scratch website, with several new projects added every minute.

This summer’s Coding with Scratch class will teach students mathematical and computational ideas while they create programs for their own interactive stories, games, animations and simulations.

Designed by award-winning British photographer Jonathan Worth, Phonar Nation teaches kids how to tell stories through photographs. Worth, whose Coventry University photography course is ranked No. 1 by The Guardian in its “University Guide 2015,” will direct Phonar Nation and conduct real-time mentoring sessions.

“Phonar Nation is more than photography; it is visual literacy and digital fluency for a connected 21st century,” Worth said. “Students will learn to speak clearly through images and engage a connected audience.”

Both classes are available at summer.pursuitery.com, where learners can connect with experts, share their work, earn digital badges and participate in contests for prizes.

“Phonar Nation and Coding with Scratch represent the best in open educational offerings in the digital arts,” said Mimi Ito, CLA’s advisory board chair. “These programs offered by Pursuitery represent the commitment of the Connected Learning Alliance to ensure that all young people have access to top-notch summer learning experiences where they are exploring interests, connecting with inspiring mentors, and gaining valuable skills and expertise.”

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