MIT Media Lab category

Scratch Day DC 2013 at Gallaudet University

Scratch Day DC 2013 will be hosted by Gallaudet University in collaboration with Uplift, Inc. and Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Public Charter School.

What: Scratch Day DC 2013 for Everyone!
When: Saturday, May 18, 2013, 10 am to 5pm
Where: Gallaudet University [map, aerial photo], Student Academic Center in computer labs SAC 1010 and SAC 1212, Washington, D.C. 20002
Lunch is on your own. The SAC cafeteria kitchen is closed, but you can bring lunch to eat in the dining area. Off campus, try Union Market
nearby or this map.

You will have a chance to try out the free MIT Scratch software which enables kids of all ages to author multimedia stories and interactive games by snapping together visual programming blocks. The software runs on Linux, Mac and Windows. Scratch also connects to sensors in the physical world using the PicoBoard USB accessory from SparkFun Electronics. We will have one of those on display and two of them will be raffled off!

Kevin Cole has his labs set up to run Scratch 1.4 and the new web-based Scratch 2.0. Bring a USB drive if you want to save your project, or we can help you set up an account on the MIT Scratch web site where you can upload and save your projects. If you have your own projects, bring them on a USB drive or laptop to show off!

Photos here and here of our previous Scratch Day events.

And some excellent Scratch Resources:

written by Mike Lee on 15 May 2013 Comments Off

Scratch Day 2012: That Cat’s A Superhero!

We’ve gotten RSVPs from friends old and new for this Saturday’s MIT Scratch Day in Arlington, VA. It’s going to be a fun event locally that’s part of an epic global day of celebration that will see our superhero orange cat dancing across thousands of computer screens. All of our event information is the same as previously announced, but here’s a recap and some new goodies:

Scratch Day 2012, Arlington, VA

Saturday, May 19, 2012, 10am-2pm

Washington-Lee High School

Rooms 4207, 4209, and 4211
1301 N Stafford St
Arlington, VA 22201

Street View:


  • 10:00am – 10:15am – Welcome and introduction with Mike Lee
  • 10:15am – 12noon – Scratch Learning Sessions in 2 or 3 classrooms with experts Paul Bui, Anthony Spanos and Richard Bullington-McGuire
  • 12noon – 1:00pm – Lunch on your own; Yelp listing of restaurants nearby:
  • 1:00pm – 1:45pm – Continue with the learning sessions
  • 1:45pm – 2:00pm – Closing thoughts and prize raffle

And there are several interesting and related developments occurring this week:

MIT Media Lab Conversations Series Hosts Sugata Mitra – Wednesday May 16th 4:30-6:00pm (tomorrow!) Professor Sugata Mitra, champion of the concept of “minimally invasive education” (MIE), will discuss the question “Is Education Obsolete?” Mitra has most recently been collaborating with Nicholas Negroponte to test a deployment of 20 Android tablets in a remote village in Ethiopia. The talk will be webcast live and archived here:

5-day Preview of Scratch 2.0 – The Scratch team at the MIT Media Lab has been hard at work developing the next generation of Scratch, which will be completely web-based, requiring no installation of software. To commemorate Scratch Day and the 5th anniversary of the software, the team will open up the alpha version of the new site starting this Thursday May 17 through Monday May 21. The site is currently password protected, but check this link soon: Here’s a preview video:

Get Your MaKey MaKey! – Two graduating members of the Scratch team, Eric Rosenbaum and Jay Silver, have revealed a new project on Kickstarter called MaKey MaKey. It’s an amazing little $35 circuit board that turns almost any real-word object into a computer keyboard or piano key input. It requires no assembly or additional software other than what you have already to create a piano out of bananas or a game controller made of Playdoh or buckets of water to name a few of the infinite possibilities. The project was fully funded last night after launching early on Monday. Hurry over to the site to learn more and place an order:

O’Reilly Books 50% Off 18 E-books This Weekend – It turns out this weekend is also when Maker Faire will be held in San Mateo, California. To celebrate, O’Reilly is discounting by 50% selected DRM-free ebooks on the topics of robots, sensors and science. Visit this link:

Well thanks for sticking with this long message. I hope there’s something for everyone whether you can attend Scratch Day or not. See you soon!

written by Mike Lee on 15 May 2012 Comments Off

MIT Scratch Day 2009 at the Arlington Career Center

MIT Scratch Day 2009

What: Special Event: Scratch Day 2009 – OLPC XO laptops still welcome!
When: Saturday, May 16th, 2009, 10 am to 1 pm

816 South Walter Reed Drive,
Arlington, VA 22204
Contact Page, Map, Aerial Photo, Bus Info)

Our May meeting will celebrate Scratch, the MIT Media Lab’s programming software for children and teens, which we have presented at previous meetings. Scratch Day started last year in Cambridge, MA as the first international Scratch@MIT conference. This year, the Scratch team decided to invite any interested groups around the world to run their own Scratch Days at the same time as this year’s conference in Cambridge. So far, over 100 70 events are planned in 41 20 countries.

The Scratch visual programming environment empowers children ages 8 and up to design and program their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. The free software runs on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems and comes pre-installed on the OLPC XO laptop’s Sugar Learning Platform. Later this year, it will should also be available on compatible with Sugar LabsSugar on a Stick (SoaS).

Scratch is taught in several DC area schools. In Virginia, two elementary schools use GNU Free and Creative Commons licensed lesson plans developed by Learning Club member Richard Bullington-McGuire.

Saturday’s festivities will begin with a brief presentation on the features and benefits of Scratch and its online community web site. Then local students and parents from Taylor Elementary School and elsewhere will demonstrate their Scratch projects. MIT’s sensor input circuit board for Scratch, the Picoboard will be demonstrated, as well as LEGO’s new WeDo robotics system, which will be controllable by the next release of Scratch. Naturally, we’ll also have Scratch running on the OLPC XO-1, as well as netbooks such as the Intel Classmate 2 and Classmate 3 convertible.

At around noon, we’ll do our free raffle again, for which you must be present and have a numbered ticket to win. Prizes include a copy of the book Scratch Programming for Teens, an OLPC XO green Mr. Brightside USB LED laptop light and several sets of laminated Scratch activity reference cards.

While we’ll conclude at 1pm, you can still catch another Scratch Day event at Takoma Park Middle School, which runs from 10 am to 3pm. Phil Shapiro has written an excellent article about Scratch for PC World that has also appeared in Macworld and the Washington Post.

If you’re a user of online social networking sites, you should know that the Scratch team is on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. I’ll be posting to Twitter with the hash tag #scratchday as well as photos and video to Flickr.

Our next regularly scheduled meeting should be on June 20th at Gallaudet University. We send email updates once a month as well as update this blog.

written by Mike Lee on 9 May 2009 2 commenti

August Meeting Media

Here are links my photos, presentation slides and archived audio from the meeting. The automatic MP3 capture from worked exceedingly well and also provided toll free numbers to those dialing in. We were, however, constrained to staying near the speaker phone at both locations, but that was workable.

The audio is stored on, which offers an embedded audio player or downloading in various audio formats. I’ve posted my timestamped annotations on the page so you can advance the audio player to the portions you want to hear. With the slides open in another window, you can follow along the audio of my trip report.

Thanks again to the teams at Nortel for helping with logistics, Anna Schoolfield for calling in from Birmingham on a busy Saturday and to the new and regular attendees for bringing your energy.

written by Mike Lee on 23 August 2008 2 commenti

OLPC: The Prequel

The Cube at the MIT Media Lab

The “Cube” in the basement of the MIT Media Lab

Our next meeting will be at the Arlington Career Center in Virginia.

What: Family XO Mesh Meetup
When: Saturday, April 26th, 2008, 10 am to 1 pm
Where: Arlington Career Center
816 South Walter Reed Drive,
Arlington, VA 22204
(Contact Page, Map, Bus Info)

Mike Lee will distill several years of visits to the MIT Media Lab into a photo log on the culture of innovation and invention that gave rise to the One Laptop Per Child project. To make more tangible some of the lab’s work, several commercially available products from spinoff companies and sponsors will be demonstrated including the Ambient Orb, Clocky, LEGO Mindstorms, Scratch Sensor Board, Hyperscore, and E-ink.

Then we’ll cover the news on OLPC’s software Update.1 for the XO laptop and help install it for the brave. Much meshing should ensue.

We’ll also bring back the raffle with at least one XOView Camera Viewfinder as a prize.

UPDATE: An event page for this meeting has been created on Facebook.

Photo credit: Ewan McIntosh

written by Mike Lee on 14 April 2008 2 commenti

Pitching In

XO beta 4 camera: Cici 'n me taking a pause from TamTam

Hello. My name is Mike Lee. The photo is of me with my 4-year-old daughter mugging for the built-in camera of a prototype XO laptop.

Wayan has asked me to take over running this blog and the OLPC Learning Club – DC. Wayan’s not going anywhere, but as you might imagine with the surge of interest in One Laptop Per Child because of the Give One Get One program, Wayan has been close to maxed out maintaining OLPC News.

I became personally involved with OLPC because as part of my day job as one of the directors of a large non-profit web site, I have been my company’s sponsorship liaison to the MIT Media Lab for the last four years. It’s a profound privilege to be able to visit the lab 4-6 times a year. When OLPC spun off from MIT, several people I knew from the Media Lab went over to join Nicholas and I was able to drop in periodically to see their progress over the last 14 months.

Since August, I’ve had two of the B-test-4 laptops. Experiencing them has brought me to the realization that they are truly a breakthrough in so many ways not apparent to the press or casual viewer. Probably for the first time in the history of digital computers, a computing machine, the XO-1, has been developed from scratch to serve a purely humanitarian need. Beyond being an educational platform for small children in developing countries, the open source nature of the software and hardware encourages all who come in contact with the XO to set their minds free and think about bold new applications.

I’m not involved here because I work with the Media Lab or because I happened to have one of the prototype XOs because of contacts at OLPC. I truly love the ideas behind OLPC, and would certainly have become involved regardless. I’m volunteering some of my free time to the cause.

So, I look forward to getting to know you all. Please join OLPC Learning Club – DC and set your mind free to the possibilities!



written by Mike Lee on 5 December 2007 2 commenti

The OLPC Learning Club DC and Sugar Labs DC are independent grassroots organizations supporting the missions of One Laptop per Child and Sugar Labs.

contact us

mike lee -
curiouslee at

jeff elkner -
jeff at

kevin cole -
dcloco at

luke faraone -
luke at

wayan vota -
wayan at


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