Scratch 11/20/2013

First of all I am taking advantage of my blog by saying “Thank You” to my wonderful wife for all that she does.  Today is our wedding anniversery.  I love you “Mo Bhean Chéile Álainn”

In honor of the Hour of Code coming up (December 9th – 15th) I thought I would devote the next few Techformation posts to discussing some of the great programs available for learning computer coding.  One of the easiest to get started with is Scratch.  This online programming environment is limited only by your imagination.

The example on the right is a Starfish Choir.  Just click on the Starfish to hear them sing.  If you like this program but would like to see it with maybe an added element you can import this program into your environment and modify it.  This is called a remix.  Currently there are 77 remixes of the Starfish Choir.

The “language” is not difficult at all.  In fact I am tempted to not even call it a language.  It is extremely visual and all drag and drop. You can manipulate the built in characters on just draw some of your own.  In minutes you can create a very cool little program or given some practice you can create something like Starfish Choir or a full video game.  If your looking for a place to start look at the step by step intro. It is very clear and easy to work with.  Some of the Hour of Code tutorials are created with Scratch.  It would be a great leaping off point into coding with your students.  You can even connect Scratch to the real world. One programmer posted that he made an new Android app that allows you to control a Scratch 1.4 project using any Android powered device. It lets you use a directional pad, buttons, accelerometer values, light sensor values, touch gestures, and voice commands in your project.  You can read more about the on the Scratch wiki.

You can use this to learn with your students about coding or even use it to make very cool demonstrations or visualizations for your lessons. This one was created to go over factoring Greatest Common Factors.

So jump in and get coding.

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