I had the pleasure this week to be a guest on Code4Kids, a webinar series with Kelly Moore. Kelly is a teacher and tech coach in Melbourne, and she asked if I’d come on the show and talk about the use of Scratch to help teach computational thinking and coding. Well, you might know I’m a bit of a Scratch fanboy so I didn’t take too much convincing!
Rather than just talk about theory stuff, we actually created a classic but simple guessing game in Scratch during the live show. I thought this was a good example because it uses quite a few fundamental programming constructs such as sequencing, looping and branching, etc. It also makes good use of Boolean comparisons, if-then decisions, and reassignment of variables. Throw in some simple maths like random number generation, greater than and less than operators, and it’s the start of some simple yet sophisticated Scratch coding.
It was nice to get some comments from the livestream viewers that they learned something from watching.
If you’d like to check out Kelly’s channel and her other videos, head on over to her Code4Kids playlist
And if you’d like to check your own Scratch skills, you can take the 15 question Scratch Quiz I mention at the end of the video… just head to bit.ly/scratchquiz and take the quiz… your results will be emailed to you immediately thanks to Google Forms and Flubaroo!
While not every student might want to write their own software, understanding the big ideas of coding is a skill that all students would benefit from, even the very young ones. Understanding the key ideas of computational thinking – identifying patterns, thinking algorithmically, manipulating data, solving real problems, etc – is an important step in helping our students build mastery over their world.
This presentation aims to take you on a guided tour through some of the resources available to your students to help them learn the principles of creating code. It starts by looking at a range of desktop and mobile apps suitable for teaching very young students to program, right through to tools and websites that can help your older students learn to hack code, and much more.
If you do actually try any of this stuff out, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
As a keen Scratch user (OK, Scratch fanboy) I was rather excited to find that Scratch 2.0 is now in public beta for anyone to try out. I really like it and think it has some major improvements over the older Scratch 1.4. To help explain the changes, I made this video that takes you through some of the new features and explains some of the new UI design.
You can only log into 2.0 using a Scratch account created prior to January 26, although you can still use it without an account. (You just won’t be able to share your projects on the Scratch website yet) A huge cheer to Mitch Resnick and the team at MIT for their work on this… Scratch is a fantastic resource for education and it leads the way as a tool for teaching computational thinking to younger students.