Scratch That

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DSC_0764When is the last time you watched a 12-year old using Scratch?

I had my first (and so far last) opportunity just a few days ago. In conversation, it turned out that one of our visitors, a 12 year old boy growing up in a household with very limited technology awareness was familiar with Scratch, the MIT’s programming tool for kids: http://scratch.mit.edu/. So, I took the boys upstairs, and gave them access to a mouse, keyboard, and a Raspberry Pi running Scratch.

It was for them to take the front row and time for me to step back, occasionally leaning over their shoulders for a better look.

This programming tool is obviously easy to understand and comes with a very flat learning curve, and is made to stimulate. Can you make it eat the monster? or when they hit the tree, they’ll die or other creative ideas were shouted out by the younger of the boys, while the eldest solved practically every task thrown at him in this manner. He didn’t always know how to do it, but looking around and browsing the available programming building blocks, we’d soon find a way.

After a very short time, he had a cat and wing-flapping bats chasing each other, scoring at certain events and exhausting their lives at others, messages were sent and received, sound was coming from the speakers, environmental factors changed, and he even sketched together his own character. Rough and primitive as it was, the total was just very impressive and awe-inspiring.

I had heard of Scratch before, but seeing it in action used by children is something different altogether.

Excellent stuff.

 

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