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Creative Computing

8/8/16 to 8/11/16

Tuition: $1,495 per person

Tuition reflects a university subsidy. To inquire about tuition assistance please contact us at or 800-545-1849.

Early application is encouraged for this limited-enrollment new program. After the deadline, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as space is available.

Scratch Overview from ScratchEd on Vimeo.

What You Will Learn

K–12 teachers can play an invaluable role in democratizing access to computing education by supporting all students in learning how to code—an increasingly necessary literacy across grades and curricular areas. In this program, we will be exploring how to support creative approaches to computing education in K–12 classrooms. Our approach is to focus on key problems of practice, which we will investigate through participatory activities and hands-on workshops. Any K–12 educator who is eager to support computational literacy in the classroom is encouraged to participate.

Program Overview

Many young people interact with computers as consumers—playing video games or watching videos—rather than as designers or creators. But computation is an incredibly powerful medium for personal expression and problem solving—and creative computing emphasizes the expressive power of computation. Teachers can play a critical role in supporting creative computing and the development of computational literacy: the concepts, practices, and perspectives that all young people need to create dynamic and interactive computational media.

In the Creative Computing program, we will explore how to support the development of computational literacy in K–12 learners by focusing on key problems of practice: How do we connect computational literacy with required curriculum? How do we balance learner freedom and learner support? How do we assess learning, particularly learning that involves creative artifacts? How do we cultivate our own expertise as educators with creative computing?

The program will be structured as a series of participatory activities and hands-on workshops focused on these key problems of practice. We will use the Scratch programming language as a central example. Scratch is a free authoring environment for creating and sharing interactive media with others in an online community. Launched in 2007, Scratch is used by millions of people (mostly ages 8 through 18) around the world, and more than 14 million projects have been created and shared through the Scratch online community.

Through these activities and workshops, participants will individually and collaboratively develop strategies, plans, and resources that can be used to support young learners as computational creators in the classroom, build networks of connection and support among participants, and engage in small-group and whole-group reflections to analyze and discuss the learning experiences.

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Program Objectives
  • Develop strategies and resources for including creative computing in the K–12 classroom
  • Make connections to a community of educators committed to broadening participation in computing
  • Build comfort and confidence with the Scratch authoring environment
Who Should Attend
  • K–12 classroom teachers in the United States, with any number of years of teaching experience.
  • Educators in the United States that are interested in supporting computational creativity in the K-12 classroom.
  • Educators with or without prior computer science or coding experience. Participants unfamiliar with Scratch will be asked to complete a brief pre-event tutorial. Participants familiar with other programming languages are encouraged to attend.
  • Individual participants and groups are both welcome to attend.
Program Requirements
  • Laptop - To run Scratch 2, you will need a relatively recent web browser (Chrome 35 or later, Firefox 31 or later, or Internet Explorer 9 or later) with Adobe Flash Player version 10.2 or later installed. Scratch 2 is designed to support 1024 x 768 or larger screens.
Faculty Chair

Karen Brennan is an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research is primarily concerned with the ways in which learning environments can be designed to support young people's development as computational creators. Many of Brennan's research and teaching activities focus on constructionist approaches to designing environments that encourage learning through designing, personalizing, connecting, and reflecting, and maximizing learner agency.

Some current projects include: Cultures of Computing, an examination of how K–12 teachers design learning environments to support novice programmers, focusing on teachers' design intentions and how those intentions are enacted; ScratchEd, a model of professional learning for educators who support computational literacy with the Scratch programming language, involving the development of a 20,000-member online community, in-person events, and curricular materials; and Cultivating Computational Thinking, an investigation of the concepts, practices, and perspectives that young people develop through computational design activities.

Before joining HGSE, Brennan completed her Ph.D. in media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she was a member of the team that developed the Scratch programming environment.  


Enrollment Instructions


This application form must be completed in a single session and should take 15–20 minutes if all requirements listed below are prepared.

Step One
You will be asked to provide your personal profile and organizational information.

Step Two
You will be asked to respond to the following questions:

  • How will you be able to incorporate computing into your practice? (250 word limit)
  • What prior experience, if any, do you have with Scratch?
    No prior experience with coding or Scratch is required for this program. (250 word limit)
  • We are interested in learning about the spectrum of organizations being served by our programs. Describe anything unique or distinctive about your school/district/organization’s mission or student population, and feel free to include information relating to setting and student demographics. (100 word limit)


Identify Your Team Coordinator

  • Before beginning the application process, you will need to identify a team coordinator.
  • The coordinator will be the primary point of contact during the application process and preparation for the program.
  • The coordinator does not need to attend the program and will have the opportunity to indicate if they will be attending during the application process.

The Application Process

  • A team application to be completed once by the coordinator.
    The team coordinator should only complete one application in total.
  • A team member application to be completed by each member of your team.
  • In order for your team to be considered for review by the admissions committee, each team member will need to complete the team member application. The coordinator will receive a link to the team member application once the team application is complete.
  • A list of required questions will be provided at the beginning of the team application.
  • When your coordinator is ready to complete the team application, it can be accessed by continuing to the next page.

Please note that participants are required to have a laptop that is capable of running Scratch in order to participate in program activities.

Fees, Hotel Accommodations, and Policies

The comprehensive tuition includes all instructional materials and refreshments. Participants receive a certificate of participation and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction.

Payment or a purchase order must be received within thirty days of program acceptance and prior to the program start. Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses. While a purchase order confirms a reservation, an outstanding balance is maintained until payment is rendered. If funds are unable to be processed within these guidelines, a documented payment plan is to be sent via mail, e-mail, or fax, and received two weeks prior to the program start date.

Please click here for more information on hotel accommodations for on-campus programs.

Please click here for more information on our on-campus and online refund and withdrawal policies. If you have any additional questions or concerns about your ability to participate, please contact our admissions team at or 1-800-545-1849.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the school is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

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