I am taking a class for my education degree that is introducing us to the program Scratch.  Has anyone used this program in their classrooms?   I'm having troubling seeing its practical use in the classroom over other programs.

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Here is the main Scratch educators site: http://scratched.media.mit.edu/

This has some good stuff: http://learnscratch.org/

What other programs are you thinking of that you see as more practical? Just curious. Keep in mind the creative and open-ended nature of programming, even in a kid-friendly environment such as Scratch, may be hard to easily put in neat curricular boxes. Sometimes the journey is more important in the long run than the actual destination.
Using a tool like Scratch requires that you allow a LOT of time for your students to "play" with the program. There is much to be gained in the process -  perhaps more than in the usefulness of the finished product. It is also imperative that you give yourself ample time to know how to work with the many options in the program.

Scratch is on the XO laptops that I work with (One Laptop per Child Australia). As mentioned, it's great to promote thinking skills and creativity and when implemented well, sits at the top of Blooms taxonomy- it's for this reason that a lot of educators are pro-Scratch.

 

I do understand the need to make it fit with a curriculum, however. In terms of coupling it with content, here are a couple of examples:

 

- I've seen it used in a really nice way to create digital stories- and it can harness the interactivity dimension of digital stories better than many other programs. At it's most basic, have students create backgrounds and use program blocks to move between backgrounds. Scale it from there- add Sprites to interact with the backgrounds, create interactions between sprites and the user, create multiple story paths, etc...

- There are an enormous array of mathematical concepts that can be hi-lighted in Scratch. Students can use Scratch to illustrate these concepts, such as angles, basic operations, algebraic equations, etc... Likewise there are plenty of scientific concepts to explore- physics in particular. Get them to make games to illustrate concepts. This is a nice example of a simple game to teach angles:

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/bblohowiak/1714691

Here's a good one to model physics:

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/Telemachus/1124568

 

I personally think the best appropach when introducing Scratch is to have a broad project brief in mind, give the students the tools to begin on the project, then let them collaborate and work together to discover how to extend and apply the skills. Good luck!

 

 

http://www.smsn.vic.edu.au/ictguy/wp-content/podcasts/scratch_pong_...

 

This website I just used last week with my 7th and 8th grade computer class.  I used some of the tutorials to introduce them to the program, and this was the intro for their own project design.  We started here to give them an idea of what is possible, and they then took it and did some of their own extension activities.  Of course, they relate very well to video gaming, so some of them did incredible things and then shared some of their "finds" with the rest of the class.  For a class that can be hard to keep engaged....it was not a problem keeping them focused on this.  We spent 3 periods on this and some came up with some amazing discoveries.  Good luck.  Judy Milleville   Altamont Lutheran School  judy.milleville@gmail.com

We start our grade 4s with the Scratch Cards... Grade 5 builds a catching game and a shooting game. Then they can take it from there.
It does require a lot of planning to make anything other than quick animations.

My experience with Scratch is that it can test the patience of many students.  A far less demanding alternative is Pivot. Pivot is very limited in comparison  to Scratch – but students can create a worthy animation very quickly which can then promote enthusiasm for more demanding programs.

A high school computer programming teacher uses Scratch to teach programming basics. Hereis a website she shared at a recent NCCE conference.

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