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Scratch is a type of programming language, very useful as a way of introducing programming principles and other principles in general. It has specific tools allowing you to create your own stories, games and allow to publish them on-line if need be. Mitchel Resnick developed the first version of Scratch in 2003 at the MIT Media Lab. It can be used in class by the students to create projects, simulations, animated stories and games. In Scratch the students are allowed to command an object called “Sprite”, even more than one, to move it around how they want. Here they would be using event driven programming. The Sprite can be created by the user him/herself, can be any one chosen from the list available from the scratch or else imported from a file. Students can play with existing projects which are ready available on the Scratch website.
The results of all the sprites are listed in the upper part of the left column. There are the tabs which allow different actions for the sprite each of which with a different colour: motion, control, looks, sensing, sound, numbers, pen variables. When the tab is clicked, all the blocks belonging to it surface for selection and dragging and are found under “Scripts” tab. This tab is found in the middle column together with two other tabs being: “Costumes and Sounds”. For each of the eight tabs mentioned above, when double clicked, a window is opened for each one having different conditions and parameters which can be used to govern the selected sprite. Eventually they are dragged and dropped in the area where the coding should be. In the far right there is a help area where if students have difficulties they can ask questions there.
Scratch is a fun and interesting way of introducing programming principles to the students. To be good in programming you should have good basic programming principles and then move on to the syntax. Scratch aids these teenagers in class to learn how to creatively think, be creators, reason things systematically and how to work in groups with other people-fundamental skills for life in this century. Introducing scratch even to small children helps to adapt to nowadays technology. Up till then they have been living in a world where they follow rules and procedures but now they are creating these for themselves and thus feel in control. Resnick stated:
“Indeed, our primary goal is not to prepare people for careers as professional programmers but to nurture a new generation of creative, systematic thinkers comfortable using programming to express their ideas”.
This program can also be used in subjects such as English, in poetry and storytelling. Students can develop their own stories and their enthusiasm for writing surely will increase. Furthermore, we will give them the opportunity to start thinking creatively and evaluate the different methods there are where they can freely express themselves.
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