Lifelong Kindergarten
How to engage people in creative learning experiences.
The Lifelong Kindergarten group is sowing the seeds for a more creative society. We develop new technologies that, in the spirit of the blocks and fingerpaint of kindergarten, engage people in creative learning experiences. Our ultimate goal is a world full of playfully creative people, who are constantly inventing new possibilities for themselves and their communities.

Research Projects

  • App Inventor

    Hal Abelson, Eric Klopfer, Mitchel Resnick, Leo Burd, Andrew McKinney, Shaileen Pokress, CSAIL and Scheller Teacher Education Program

    App Inventor is an open-source tool that democratizes app creation for and by all. By combining visual LEGO-like blocks together on the screen, even users with no prior programming experience can use App Inventor to create their own mobile applications. Currently, App Inventor has over 1,000,000 users and is being taught by universities, schools, and community centers worldwide. In those initiatives, students not only acquire important technology skills such as computer programming, but also have the opportunity to apply computational thinking concepts to many fields including science, health, education, business, social action, entertainment, and the arts. Work on App Inventor was initiated in Google Research by Hal Abelson and is continuing at the MIT Media Lab as part of its Center for Mobile Learning, a collaboration with the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP).

  • Build-in-Progress

    Tiffany Tseng and Mitchel Resnick

    Build-in-Progress is a new platform for people to document and share design projects that are still works-in-progress. The website encourages designers to share their designs as they are under development, showcasing the trials and errors that naturally occur throughout the design process. This is in contrast to existing platforms, which tend to present users with edited recipes for replicating existing projects. Build-in-Progress also has a companion mobile app for enabling designers to easily share media associated with their projects.

  • Collab Camp

    Ricarose Roque, Amos Blanton, Natalie Rusk, and Mitchel Resnick

    To foster and better understand collaboration in the Scratch Online Community, we created Collab Camp, a month-long event in which Scratch community members form teams (“collabs”) to work together on Scratch projects. Our goals include: analyzing how different organizational structures support collaboration in different ways; examining how design decisions influence the diversity of participation in collaborative activities; and studying the role of constructive feedback in creative, collaborative processes.

  • Computer Clubhouse

    Mitchel Resnick, Natalie Rusk, Chris Garrity, Alisha Panjwani, Claudia Urrea, and Robbie Berg
    At Computer Clubhouse after-school centers, young people (ages 10-18) from low-income communities learn to express themselves creatively with new technologies. Clubhouse members work on projects based on their own interests, with support from adult mentors. By creating their own animations, interactive stories, music videos, and robotic constructions, Clubhouse members become more capable, confident, and creative learners. The first Computer Clubhouse was established in 1993, as a collaboration between the Lifelong Kindergarten group and The Computer Museum (now part of the Boston Museum of Science). With financial support from Intel Corporation, the network has expanded to more than 20 countries, serving more than 20,000 young people. The Lifelong Kindergarten group continues to develop new technologies, introduce new educational approaches, and lead professional-development workshops for Clubhouses around the world.
  • Computer Clubhouse Village

    Chris Garrity, Natalie Rusk and Mitchel Resnick
    The Computer Clubhouse Village is an online community that connects people at Computer Clubhouse after-school centers around the world. Through the Village, Clubhouse members and staff at more than 100 Clubhouses in 21 countries can share ideas with one another, get feedback and advice on their projects, and work together on collaborative design activities.
  • DIY Cellphone

    David A. Mellis and Leah Buechley

    An exploration into the possibilities for individual construction and customization of the most ubiquitous of electronic devices, the cellphone. By creating and sharing open-source designs for the phone's circuit board and case, we hope to encourage a proliferation of personalized and diverse mobile phones. Freed from the constraints of mass production, we plan to explore diverse materials, shapes, and functions. We hope that the project will help us explore and expand the limits of do-it-yourself (DIY) practice. How close can a homemade project come to the design of a cutting-edge device? What are the economics of building a high-tech device in small quantities? Which parts are even available to individual consumers? What's required for people to customize and build their own devices?

  • DressCode

    Mitchel Resnick, Jennifer Jacobs and Leah Buechley

    DressCode is computer aided design and fabrication tool that combines programming with graphic drawing and manipulation, allowing novice programmers to create computationally-generated, physical artifacts. The software is comprised of a programing environment and a graphic-user interface design tool, as well as a custom programming language. The GUI tools allow for a unique combination of graphic drawing and computational manipulation, because the software automatically generates editable code in the programing environment that reflects the designer’s drawing actions. DressCode exports designs that are compatible with digital fabrication machines, allowing for the creation of physical artifacts. We have introduced DressCode to amateur programmers with a series of craft activities that allow them to produce functional, beautiful, and unique objects including t-shirts, jewelry, and personal accessories.

  • Family Creative Learning

    Ricarose Roque and Mitchel Resnick

    In Family Creative Learning, we engage parents and their children in workshops to design and invent together with Scratch, a programming language that allows people to create their own interactive animations, games, and stories. Just as children's literacy can be supported by parents reading with them, children's creativity can be supported by parents creating with them. Children who learn to create with technologies like Scratch often come from homes with strong support systems. In these workshops, we especially target families with limited access to resources and social support around technology. By promoting participation across generations, these workshops engage parents in supporting their children in becoming creators and full participants in today’s digital society.

  • Learning Creative Learning

    Mitchel Resnick, Philipp Schmidt, Natalie Rusk, Srishti Sethi, Ricarose Roque, Sayamindu Dasgupta, Alisha Panjwani

    Learning Creative Learning (http://learn.media.mit.edu) is a new online course that introduces ideas and strategies for supporting creative learning. In the first semester (spring 2013), thousands of educators, designers, and technologists participated in the course and shared ideas with one another. We view the course as an experimental alternative to traditional Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), putting greater emphasis on peer-to-peer learning, hands-on projects, and sustainable communities. We are currently planning version 2 of the course for spring 2014.

  • Learning with Data

    Sayamindu Dasgupta and Mitchel Resnick

    More and more computational activities revolve around collecting, accessing, and manipulating large sets of data, but introductory approaches for learning programming typically are centered around algorithmic concepts and flow of control, not around data. Computational exploration of data, especially data-sets, has been usually restricted to predefined operations in spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel. This project builds on the Scratch programming language and environment to allow children to explore data and datasets. With the extensions provided by this project, children can build Scratch programs to not only manipulate and analyze data from online sources, but also to collect data through various means such as surveys and crowd-sourcing. This toolkit will support many different types of projects like online polls, turn-based multiplayer games, crowd-sourced stories, visualizations, information widgets, and quiz-type games.

  • MaKey MaKey

    Eric Rosenbaum, Jay Silver, and Mitchel Resnick

    MaKey MaKey lets you transform everyday objects into computer interfaces. Make a game pad out of Play-Doh, a musical instrument out of bananas, or any other invention you can imagine. It's a little USB device you plug into your computer, and you use it to make your own switches that act like keys on the keyboard: Make + Key = MaKey MaKey! It’s plug and play. No need for any electronics or programming skills. Since MaKey MaKey looks to your computer like a regular mouse and keyboard, it’s automatically compatible with any piece of software you can think of. It’s great for beginners tinkering and exploring, for experts prototyping and inventing, and for everybody who wants to playfully transform their world.

  • Map Scratch

    Sayamindu Dasgupta, Brian Silverman, and Mitchel Resnick

    Map Scratch is an extension of Scratch that enables kids to program with maps within their Scratch projects. With Map Scratch, kids can create interactive tours, games, and data visualizations with real-world geographical data and maps.

  • MelodyMorph

    Eric Rosenbaum and Mitchel Resnick

    MelodyMorph is an interface for constructing melodies and making improvised music. It removes a constraint of traditional musical instruments: a fixed mapping between space and pitch. What if you blew up the piano so you could put the keys anywhere you want? With MelodyMorph you can create a customized musical instrument, unique to the piece of music, the player, or the moment.

  • Musical Paintings

    Eric Rosenbaum and Sophia Brueckner

    Touch the painting to release its music. Slide your finger across it to play melodies, play chords with your palm, improvise a duet. We've combined traditional painting techniques with conductive paint and capacitive touch sensing. The result is a new form of visual music, combining composition and instrument into a playable score.

  • Open Learning

    Philipp Schmidt and Mitchel Resnick

    Learning for everyone, by everyone. The Open Learning project builds online learning communities that work like the web: peer-to-peer, loosely joined, open. And it works with Media Lab faculty and students to open up the magic of the Lab through online learning. Our first experiment was Learning Creative Learning, a course taught at the Media Lab, which attracted 24,000 participants. We are currently developing ideas for massive citizen science projects, engineering competitions for kids, and new physical infrastructures for learning that reclaim the library.

  • Scratch

    Mitchel Resnick, Natalie Rusk, Amos Blanton, Champika Fernanda, Ricarose Roque, Sayamindu Dasgupta, Shane Clements, Abdulrahman idlbi, Eric Rosenbaum, John Maloney, Karen Brennan, Michelle Chung, Brian Silverman, Paula Bonta
    Scratch is a programming language and online community (http://scratch.mit.edu) that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations—and share your creations online. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively, while also learning important mathematical and computational ideas. Young people around the world have shared more than 4 million projects on the Scratch website, with several new projects added every minute.
  • Scratch Day

    Ingeborg Endter, Ricarose Roque, Karen Brennan and Mitchel Resnick
    Scratch Day (day.scratch.mit.edu) is a network of face-to-face local gatherings, on the same day in all parts of the world, where people can meet, share, and learn more about Scratch, a programming environment that enables people to create their own interactive stories, games, animations, and simulations. We believe that these types of face-to-face interactions remain essential for ensuring the accessibility and sustainability of initiatives such as Scratch. In-person interactions enable richer forms of communication among individuals, more rapid iteration of ideas, and a deeper sense of belonging and participation in a community. The first Scratch Day took place on May 16, 2009, with 120 events in 44 different countries. In 2012, there were 186 events in 44 countries.
  • ScratchJr

    Mitchel Resnick, Marina Bers, Paula Bonta, Brian Silverman, and Sayamindu Dasgupta

    The ScratchJr project aims to bring the ideas and spirit of Scratch programming activities to younger children, enabling children ages five to seven to program their own interactive stories, games, and animations. To make ScratchJr developmentally appropriate for younger children, we are revising the interface and providing new structures to help young children learn core math concepts and problem-solving strategies. We plan to make a version of ScratchJr publicly available in 2014.

  • Singing Fingers

    Eric Rosenbaum, Jay Silver and Mitchel Resnick

    Singing Fingers allows children to fingerpaint with sound. Users paint by touching a screen with a finger, but color only emerges if a sound is made at the same time. By touching the painting again, users can play back the sound. This creates a new level of accessibility for recording, playback, and remixing of sound.

  • Unhangouts

    Philipp Schmidt, Drew Harry and Srishti Sethi

    A platform for virtual unconferences. Unhangout is an open source platform for running large-scale online unconferences. We use Google Hangouts to create as many small sessions as needed, and help users find others with shared interests.