If You’ve A Creative Itch… SCRATCH it!
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 efforts
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!