Scratch

Free! Scratch is a community of users of programmers who create, share, and discuss programs they made using this website. After registering with the website, users can choose one of the three main options at the top of the screen. The “Create” option lets users design a program. Once clicked, users are provided a character and a set of tools and commands needed to control the character in the program, which includes the motions, looks, sounds, and more. Users must click on different commands and then drag them and connect them using the workspace on the right of the screen…

Review Overview

A. Instructional - 8.5
B. Design - 8.5
C. Engagement - 9

8.7

Scratch: A Resource for Learning & Using Computer Coding

Summary : Taking the “Pro” Out of Computer Programming!

Scratch is a community of users of programmers who create, share, and discuss programs they made using this website. After registering with the website, users can choose one of the three main options at the top of the screen. The “Create” option lets users design a program. Once clicked, users are provided a character and a set of tools and commands needed to control the character in the program, which includes the motions, looks, sounds, and more. Users must click on different commands and then drag them and connect them using the workspace on the right of the screen to build the program. As more commands are added, users can click on them to control the character. When ready, users can title it and then click the “Save Now” option under the “File” menu. (Several additional options are available to users in the “Create” component of Scratch, and users are encouraged to experiment with the different options.) Next, the “Explore” option lets users view and comment on Scratch projects created by other users. Users can engage the program, view and leave comments for the programmer, and view the “Remix Tree” by tapping the button on the bottom right of the screen. The “Discuss” option allows users to view posts and comments related to a variety of Scratch topics, which are also categorized by topic.

Please Note: There are additional features and functionalities of this website that exceed the scope of this review. We encourage users to explore Scratch and learn about these additional options.

Instructional Ideas

  1. Teachers and students can view the different Scratch programs created by other users and posted to the website’s “Explore” section. Next, teachers can play the program for students and/or let students play the program for themselves. After gaining familiarity with the program, teachers can facilitate a critical review of the program by asking students: (1) What were the program’s strengths?, (2) How could the program be improved?, (3) If you were going to make one change to the program, what would it be?, (4) Do the sounds and images “match” each other?, and (5) If you could give the programmer one piece of feedback, what would it be? Students can answer either verbally or on paper.
  2. Teachers can have students view the programs under the website’s “Explore” section and choose their top three programs. Next, teachers can have students explain why they chose the different programs either orally or in writing. At this point, students can share their list and rationales with a partner, and the two students can combine their lists to generate a shared top-three list, with a justification for each program is included. Finally, the teachers can have each pair share their selection and record them on the board. The teacher can then have students review each program listed on the board and have them vote for the one they liked most. Teachers can add a twist and give students 3, 5, or 7 votes, and the program with the most votes wins! Afterwards, teachers can have students write the programmer feedback and post it to the Scratch website.
  3. When ready, teachers can have students create programs in Scratch, and teachers can put parameters on the program (e.g., the program must contain a certain amount of movement, sounds, controls, events, etc.). When finished students can share their programs with the entire class at once or in small groups. After students finish sharing, other students can provide feedback by explaining what they liked about the program and how it can be further developed.
  4. As an assignment, teachers can have students create their own Scratch program. As they do, students can consult a class partner who offers them feedback while completing their program. When finished, students can post their program to the Scratch website and a link to it on a class website. That way, classmates will be able to access the program and review it.
  5. For an extended class activity, teachers can have students draw a topic, setting, character(s), and/or theme for a Scratch project and then require students to create it. When complete, students can post it to the Scratch website and a link to it on a class website. Finally, the student’s classmates can then view the program and offer feedback.
A1. Rigor
A2. 21st Century Skills
A3. Conn. to Future Learning
A4. Value of Errors
A5. Feedback to Teacher
A6. Level of Material
A7. Cooperative Learning
A8. Accom. of Individual Diff.
B1. Ability to Save Progress
B2. Platform Integration
B3. Screen Design
B4. Ease of Use
B5. Navigation
B6. Goal Orientation
B7. Information Presentation
B8. Media Integration
B9. Cultural Sensitivity
C1. Learner Control
C2. Interactivity
C3. Pace
C4. Flexibility
C5. Interest
C6. Aesthetics
C7. Utility
B8. Media Integration
B9. Cultural Sensitivity

Screenshots

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