Return to Communications Center

Reading, Writing, and Programming | Mitch Resnick

Mitch Resnick is inspired by the way children learn in kindergarten. “As kindergarten students create, play, and collaborate with wooden blocks and fingerpaint, they’re developing as creative thinkers,” he says. “And in today’s fast-changing society, nothing is more important than learning to think and act creatively.”

For more than 25 years, Resnick’s playroom has been the MIT Media Lab, where he leads the Lifelong Kindergarten research group. His group develops new technologies, such as LEGO robotics kits, that engage learners of all ages in designing, creating, experimenting, and exploring — just like kindergarten children. “The most significant learning experiences come when learners are putting ideas into action,” he says.

Resnick sees coding (computer programming) as an important new way to put ideas into action. While many people view coding as a narrow technical skill, useful only for a small slice of the population, Resnick believes the ability to code, like the ability to read and write, is becoming essential for full participation in today’s society. “When people learn to code, they learn important strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas,” he says.

Resnick’s group developed the Scratch programming language to make coding accessible and appealing to everyone. In his TEDxBeaconStreet talk, Resnick gives a sneak preview of the next generation of Scratch, and demonstrates how millions of people around the world are using Scratch to learn to code — and also to learn many other things.