Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Scratch - a free programming language great for all ages

I attended a full day Scratch workshop today at MIT with the folks from the LifeLongKindergarten program. Program Director Mitchel Resnick works with his team of developers, researchers, consultants and students in developing new ways to "engage people in creative learning experiences."

Walking into the E15-100 has several projects happening in this huge 2-story collaboration area the LEGO Learning Laboratory/Smart Cities/Computing Culture/and Lifelong Kindergarten projects.

As you walk into the area there are huge bins that climb the walls full of LEGO ( Mindstorm came out of collaboration from this group for LEGO.)

Scratch is a great programming language that can be used to create your own animations, games, interactive art and digital stories. It is presently being used in primary, intermediate and high schools.

Download Scratch Projects that have been uploaded to the gallery and pull apart the code blocks to see how projects have been built.

The Scratch Boards take the interactivity the students can develop to a whole new level. The boards can be purchased online from the Scratch website and allow students to create Scratch projects that "sense and respond to things going on in the world outside your computer." A demo was given to us on how to use the alligator clamps and a banana peel to play music. This one you HAVE to try...check out Ewan McIntosh's posting where he video taped the banana playing in action!

Schools/classes can setup a free account in the Computer Clubhouse and share their Scratch projects with other students in a safe environment.
To download your free copy of Scratch....go to the download page (Mac or PC) and start to have fun!

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