Using Scratch

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 15.10.49In this weeks seminar we looked at the advantages of using the programme Scratch. This is a free kit that allows children to practice more complex coding skills like the ones I talked about in my last blog. It gives children the opportunity to create animations, games, quizzes and much more. These creations can then be shared on the internet.

One advantage that it has over other programmes that I explored last week such as Logo, is that it’s a lot easier for children to put together a sequence of code. This is because you drag different tiles together to create a sequence of coding rather than having to type the code in. It’s also in a language that the children will understand, this being English! As can be seen below.

Scratch 1

I remember using scratch when I was at primary school. But I had the priviledge when doing my pre-course experience of working with children when they were doing a scratch project. The project was a cross curricular one between maths and ICT. The project was for the children in pairs to produce a game where their character would ask the user mathematical questions such as “What is 12 x 5?” Then the children had to make it where the programme would ask the user what the answer was. Then the coding would bring up a box in which the user had to write the answer but under timed conditions. The outcomes would then be the following;

a) Correct answer would lead to a congratulations screen followed by the next question

b) If the question wasn’t answered in the time limits then they would be taken back to the beginning

c) If an incorrect answer was given then they would be told what the correct answer was and then taken back to the beginning

As an adult in that lesson I was asked a lot of lessons and I realised a key part of it was letting the children know that if they got the coding wrong then it didn’t matter! To actually work out where they went wrong and try again. Once this message had got around the class I noticed that the children enjoyed the project a lot more as they were experimenting with the different instructions without worrying about the outcome.

It was a challenging project but one that was immensely enjoyed by both teachers and students and I would recommend it to all who may be teaching or wanting to look into programming or coding. Simply because of its basic screens yet advanced coding opportunities, its east for children to navigate and teachers who may not be in touch with ICT or done coding before.

Thanks for reading!

Miriam

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