Scratch – Extra Special Learning Resource par Excellence!

Extra Special Learning Resource

In my estimation, there are certain digital learning resources that offer something extra special. This is the fourth in my series about what I’m calling Extra Special Learning Resources. So far I’ve written about…

Today I’m re-visiting another truly remarkable free learning resource.

Scratch is a program with tremendous potential to engage, while facilitating skill building and creative problem solving within a meaningful context. Scratch also offers learners multiple ways of showing what they know by putting together interactive multimedia projects. For example, I have seen Scratch used effectively by learners with autism to complete assigned social studies projects.

If you are involved in primary or secondary education, I believe you owe it to yourself and to the learners you support to be familiar with Scratch. Learners almost everywhere can use Scratch because it is truly cross-platform software, with downloads available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Scratch: overview from andresmh on Vimeo.

I first wrote about Scratch in September of 2007. Since then, the program hasn’t changed. The people at MIT who are behind Scratch, have just added some excellent tutorials and support material.

The Scratch website sums up the program well…

Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.

The online Scratch community enhances the engagement potential of the program hugely. Learners can not only share what they create, they can download and build upon what others have made with Scratch.

The screen shot below shows Scratch’s intuitive user interface. Blocks are dragged from the left into the center and locked together to create programs. Backgrounds (scenes) can be created within Scratch, or imported into it.Variables can be adjusted. Music, narration, and/or sound effects can be added. The music can even be created by using musical instruments built into Scratch. This is just ‘scratching’ the surface of what is possible.

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