Scratch, the world’s largest free creative coding platform and community for young people and educators has received a $5 million COVID Relief Support Grant from the LEGO Foundation.
The company will use the grant to amplify its strategic plans to reach young people and educators everywhere with creative learning and coding education and to drive scale in supporting families, students, and educators to emerge stronger than ever after COVID-19, according to a press release.
The pandemic impacted education everywhere – early childhood enrollments were down, schools across the world had to deal with closures, and educators and school districts were – and continue to be – significantly impacted by staffing issues. The financial stress and uncertainty, not to mention the global health emergency, have placed a heavy burden on families and children. The LEGO Foundation’s COVID Relief Grant will help in the effort to ensure more young people and educators, especially those that have been most impacted, have access to creative coding education.
Scratch Will Continue Making Free Creative Coding Accessible to Everyone
The LEGO Foundation’s funding provides Scratch with the greater organizational and technical capacity to advocate for learning through play and make creative learning and coding more accessible for young learners everywhere. This will be achieved through four main activities:
- Improve online tools and structures to ensure safe, equitable use of Scratch
- Lower the technological floor so the quality of hardware does not limit a child’s access or experience
- Invest in ScratchJr and improve access for young learners aged 5-7 years
- Prepare for a user impact study to identify how using the Scratch platform affects students and teachers
“Scratch has always aimed to create equitable opportunities for young people who have been excluded from creative learning opportunities,” said Shawna Young, Executive Director at the Scratch Foundation. “We now have an opportunity to bring structural reform and change to educational systems that have viewed creative learning and critical thinking as privileges for some, not rights for all. Thanks to this generous grant from the LEGO Foundation, Scratch will be positioned to expand our Tech & Play initiative, which supports transformative educational change by developing and promoting playful, creative approaches to coding.”
LEGO Foundation Grant Will Have Lasting and Sustainable Effects
Scratch is the world’s largest coding community for children, impacting young people in nearly every country in the world. The LEGO Foundation grant will allow Scratch to expand its focus on equity, inclusivity, and access. The two main expected results from the LEGO Foundation grant address reach and learning:
- Scratch will be able to reach young people who do not currently have access to the Scratch and ScratchJr platforms by meeting the growing data privacy expectations in schools and by developing applications that are effective on lower-cost devices.
- The Scratch online community (nearly 300,000,000 active users in 2021) will benefit from the implementation of improved moderation.
- The organization will increase its knowledge and expertise in areas of data privacy, technological accessibility, and culturally mindful and scalable moderation.
- Improvements of Scratch’s infrastructure will continue to protect the data and privacy of all users and provide multiple paths of engagement that bridge gaps in technological access.
“We are at a transformational moment for educational systems everywhere. This donation builds on the LEGO Foundation’s core values of finding creative solutions to the difficult challenges, caring for children and the communities they live in, and the power of collaboration to address the challenges, and opportunities, posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Chief Executive Officer, LEGO Foundation.
“Together we need to make a leap in playful learning, creating a future that promotes inclusive education, lifelong learning opportunities for all children, and where holistic skills and innovation are central. We call on the private sector, philanthropic organizations, governments, and other donors to donate generously to the global COVID-19 response. No one is safe until everyone is safe,” he added.