Scratch is a wonderful free program produced by MIT which lets you create little animations that you can then publish to the MIT site (or to your own site) for all to admire!
Take a look at this video presenting Scratch:
Scratch version 2 was released in May 2013. You should of course use this later version. Version 2 is available for online use and also for download as a beta version. You can try the online version HERE. Version 2 includes some new features such as procedures (make your own bricks), the possibility of cloning sprites (such as bullets) while your program is running, the possibility of using 'vector graphics' to make sprites and a sound editor. Visit this page for more info about the new features, and a video. All the following lessons should work with version 2.
Scratch is built on Logo so everything you can do in Logo you should also be able to do in Scratch. Follow this link to see a comparison of a simple program in Scratch and in Logo. Compared to Logo, Scratch is more colourful, more fun, more powerful and more open-ended. In fact it is so much more powerful than Logo that a better comparison might be with Flash. Like Flash, Scratch produces multimedia animations that can be incorporated into web pages. It is unlike Flash in that:
- It's free! You can use the program online or download it here: http://scratch.mit.edu/
- It is designed for beginners or intermediate level aged 8-16 (it's also used in the US even at university level with students who are new to programming)
- It works mainly by dragging blocks into place to build a script
- It is more limited than Flash, and thus much easier to learn
- It produces animations in Java format rather than Flash format
- It is produced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – a guarantee of quality
- It has the backing of Microsoft and many other companies
- Animations can be published (shared) on the MIT site free of charge
- There are plenty of easy-to-understand lessons and tutorials available
- There are plenty of resources for teachers available
Another plus for our students: it is available in many languages.
Parents and colleagues, here is a video in which the creator of Scratch, Mitch Resnick of MIT, explains why it is important for kids to learn how to code: