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If You’ve A Creative Itch… SCRATCH it!

May 16, 2007

This post is slightly overdue… and seeing that the story is all over the media (here, here, and here) I thought I’d better post this!

There is an amazing phenomenon sweeping the PCs and Macs of our kids, and it’s called Scratch. In essence, scratch is a free programming language that is designed to give children an entry to programming. It gives instant gratification, is incredibly easy to start using, and – as the user becomes more competent – is capable of producing some really incredible games… and many of them can have an educational bias! The really clever bit from my point of view is that the Scratch site is also a social networking site where you can share your creations with other users and rate/leave comments… no wonder it’s taken off like a house on fire! (And I haven’t even mentioned the ability to link to your games/etc on Bebo…)

The reason I know all this is not because I’ve been reading about it on the web, it’s because I have two Scratch experts in my house Andrew (10) and Kathryn (12). Since I downloaded the programme a few weeks ago, Andrew has gone from wondering what was so good about ‘programming’ to rushing home to write another little game or simply to try out a new idea for animation. Kathryn has not been quite so prolific, but she has managed to create a couple of very clever little animations which are both simpler and more sophisticated than Andrew’s effortshttp://scratch.mit.edu/about

In an interesting twist, Andrew’s school in Scone has now got a thriving little Scratch group thanks to him telling his friends about the programme and even being asked to demonstrate it to his teacher and class! Not bad for a naturally reticent boy!

At the moment, it is nigh on impossible to access the site because of the increased traffic created by the news coverage, but once things calm down a bit, I thoroughly recommend you check it out… and if you want to see what Andrew and Kathryn have been doing, look out for ‘munkeeb‘ and ‘bobkat‘… they really will appreciate your comments!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2007 5:04 pm

    Everyone should learn x86 Assembly from the age of 9.

  2. Mrs W permalink
    May 17, 2007 8:49 am

    A waste of time introducing COBOL then?

  3. May 17, 2007 4:32 pm

    Quite 😛

    Having taken a look at the language and IDE, it’s a lot more powerful than I expected. I’m also really quite impressed at the stuff your son has made.

  4. Mrs W permalink
    May 18, 2007 10:50 am

    I remember impressing people because I could change the colour of the C:\ prompt. I try looking at what the progeny are producing on Scratch from that perspective and it makes me a tad dizzy.

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  1. Andy in Aberdeen » SCRATCH - Animation and programming for kids

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