What is it? This is a programming tool for ages eight and up that allows users to create video games, interactive stories, animations and more.
How does it work? Scratch makes coding complex animation and controls a breeze, taking all of the technical coding out of the process and replacing it with color-coded bars that can easily be dragged into an interlocking series of commands. Scratch is offered by MIT for free and can be downloaded for Mac, Windows and Linux via the Scratch Web site.
How hard is it to use? It’s very easy—and even fun—to use. While researching the software, this writer, in less than 10 minutes, even made a goofy tribute animation to a favorite science fiction franchise. While all of the commands are basic, it will take some time for users to make more advanced programs like some of the ones visitors will see on the main site. A Scratch user needs to create an account with the community in order to share his/her work online. Users can interact with comments, see what others are viewing and even compete in remix contests.
How well does it work? This free software is powerful enough for users to replicate playable levels of Super Mario Bros, create animations that are close to Adobe Flash quality and bring Minecraft creations to life. Scratch works extremely well, and with its built-in audience, it also enables quick feedback from a range of users. Both artistic and techie-inclined students could do a lot with this tool.
How do I use it in the classroom? Scratch is a fantastic free educational resource and a standout in the Web 2.0 world, offering endless possibilities for creative teachers looking to engage students in tech-related careers. Some teachers might even be inclined to produce their own educational games and interactive stories.
Read about other products featured in the Tech in the Classroom series.
Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting.
Article by Jason Cunningham, EducationWorld Social Media Editor
Copyright © 2013 Education World.