Summer Plunge: Dive Into Coding and Photography

Connected Learning Alliance Hosts Free Online Courses

Learners all over the world are being invited to take part in online photography and coding classes as part of this year’s Cities of Learning initiative.

The website Pursuitery is hosting two free online classes — “Coding with Scratch” and “Phonar Nation.” While anyone can take the classes, they are aimed at youth. The courses are being offered by the Connected Learning Alliance, a network that brings together organizations, projects, initiatives and individuals working to leverage today’s technology for more equitable access to learning and opportunity for all young people. Pursuitery is part of CLA.

Class Details

Phonar Nation and Coding with Scratch are being offered in two five-week sessions:

  • Coding with Scratch starts its first session June 16 and second session, July 21.

  • Phonar Nation starts its first session June 23 and second session, July 28.

Scratch is a programming language and online community developed as a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab as an easy way for young people to learn to code. Youth around the world have shared more than 4 million projects in more than 50 languages on the Scratch website, with several new projects added every minute.

This summer’s Coding with Scratch class will teach students mathematical and computational ideas while they create programs for their own interactive stories, games, animations and simulations.

Designed by award-winning British photographer Jonathan Worth, Phonar Nation teaches kids how to tell stories through photographs. Worth, whose Coventry University photography course is ranked No. 1 by The Guardian in its “University Guide 2015,” will direct Phonar Nation and conduct real-time mentoring sessions.

“Phonar Nation is more than photography; it is visual literacy and digital fluency for a connected 21st century,” Worth said. “Students will learn to speak clearly through images and engage a connected audience.”

Both classes are available at, where learners can connect with experts, share their work, earn digital badges and participate in contests for prizes.

“Phonar Nation and Coding with Scratch represent the best in open educational offerings in the digital arts,” said Mimi Ito, CLA’s advisory board chair. “These programs offered by Pursuitery represent the commitment of the Connected Learning Alliance to ensure that all young people have access to top-notch summer learning experiences where they are exploring interests, connecting with inspiring mentors, and gaining valuable skills and expertise.”

Cities of Learning

The Cities of Learning movement, supported by the MacArthur Foundation and powered by the Digital Youth Network and Badge Alliance, launched in Chicago last year with free summer courses for youth, online and in the community. This summer, a number of cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. are taking part, offering myriad courses and activities online and in libraries and community centers.


The Connected Learning Alliance is a project of the New Venture Fund, a nonprofit public charity that incubates new and innovative public interest projects and grant-making programs.

More Information:
For questions about the classes, send email to or tweet @pursuitery.

Media Contact:
Mimi Ko Cruz,, 949-824-4587

Banner images: Students taking part in coding, left, and photography courses. Left photo by Chris Mosier/The Archer School For Girls Scratch Club. Right photo by Jonathan Worth/Phonar Nation.