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Scratch: More than Meets the Code

10/07/2016 7:36 AM | Tim Sieber (Administrator)

What do young people learn as they create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art with Scratch?

Creating projects in Scratch helps students develop a deeper level of fluency with digital technology.

While Scratch is a programming language, it also provides a much broader and richer learning experience for students. It enables youth to interact with the digital world as they learn 21st century life skills critical for success in the future. We understand many students may not pursue careers as professional programmers, but learning to program in Scratch will deliver benefits far beyond coding and into the reaches of other professions.

Following are five benefits of using Scratch beyond the basic of learning to code:

  • Scratch is an online community. It enables students to explore and experiment in an open learning environment with other Scratch members from all backgrounds, ages, and interests. Members can share their work, get feedback, and learn from each other.
  • Students learn mathematical and computational thinking while creating programs in Scratch. Core computational concepts such as iteration and conditionals are commonplace when creating projects. Students also gain an understanding of important mathematical concepts such as coordinates, variables, patterns and randomness.
  • Scratch is an application that gives students a meaningful and motivating context. When students learn about variables in traditional math classes, they usually feel little personal connection to the concept. But when students learn about variables in the context of Scratch, they quickly apply the concept in very meaningful ways such as controlling the speed of an animation, or keeping track of the score in a game they are creating.
  • As students work on Scratch projects, they innately learn the process of design. Students always start with an idea or goal in mind, they create a project (or prototype), try it out, troubleshoot when things go unexpected, collect feedback from others, and then revise or redesign.
  • Creating projects in Scratch helps students develop a deeper level of fluency with digital technology. Fluency you ask? To be considered fluent in English, Spanish, or any other language, one must learn not only how to read but also to write – that is, how to express oneself with the language. Similarly, to be fluent with digital technology, students must learn not only how to interact with the computer but also to create with it.

Scratch can boost confidence while enabling students to express themselves more fully and creatively. It helps students develop as logical thinkers and helps them understand the workings of the new technologies they encounter everywhere in their everyday lives.

YouthCode is a program of Impacting The Next Generation Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
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