When I initially set up this blog, I thought it would be a place for me to participate in discussions and ruminations with the online community of educators as part of my virtual PLN. In reality, I have used it rarely, and when I do, it is as a virtual notebook or backup brain for when I am doing professional development activities.
This is exactly how I am going to use it for the next six weeks. I have enrolled in the free 6 week Creative Computing Online Workshop hosted online by Harvard University this June 3- July 12. The focus of this workshop is to develop proficiency in teaching programming concepts using the SCRATCH programming language. I will be using my blog to document my learning during this workshop. Scratch is a visual programming language developed by MIT to teach children basic computer science and programming principles by snapping together lego-like blocks of code. I have been teaching Scratch to children for about 3 years.
June is a very busy time of year for teachers in Canada. The last day of school is June 28, and we have provincial standardized testing, report cards, end of year activities, and Grade 8 graduation before then. However, this winter I completed February Album Writing Month, so I am no stranger to sneaking in a large creative project on top of work and home.
Scratch is a programming language developed at MIT that allows children to easily explore computer programming and learn through experimentation.
With scratch, children can create video games, explore math concepts, create animations and digital stories, and many other media projects.
Scratch is installed on scdsb computers at programs->Science and Technology –> scratch, but if you need to download it to install at home or on a teacher notebook, you can find it at
scratch.mit.edu. Direct link to Download page: http://info.scratch.mit.edu/Scratch_1.4_Download
Betchablog – Scratch: Australian teacher Chris Betcher has a great introduction to Scratch and very comprehensive list of Scratch resources. Below is Chris Betcher’s presentation for the 2010 k12online conference entitled, Teaching Children to Think Using Scratch. It is about 20 minutes long and provides an excellent overview to how and why one might use Scratch in a classroom.
LearnScratch.org A great source for lesson plans, videos and guides for teaching scratch.
Sean McGaughey- Bayview Public School