Last year sometime I wrote about an application from called Alice which I considered to be a useful way of introducing students to the object oriented games development environment. This morning I came across Scratch, from MIT which provides a similar sort of “drag and drop” creative environment – with some extra features that really appeal to me. The website explains:
Scratch is a new programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.
Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design.
There’s a useful introductory video available on the site that provides a pretty good overview of how it works:
I accessed the free download and managed to get some animations up and running fairly quickly. For those keen to develop further, there are several tutorials available, plus loads of examples of projects created by others that you can view and unpack to see how they’ve created them.
The developers say that Scratch has been develped with educators in mind, and provide loads of information and resources on their education page to help you understand this.
It’s remarkably easy to set up your own account, and create an online space to be able to upload your animations etc into your own gallery for sharing with others. I’d be interested in seeing examples of Scratch being used by students!