I play it. They create it. Scratch.

About a year and a half ago I had the opportunity to listen and watch as Mitchel Resnick, creator of Scratch, demonstrated how this free, open-source programming language software engaged students around the world.  I was so intrigued with the program because it was so different and so far removed from the Atari games I played as a child.  And so, I  began experimenting with its possibilities both at home and in the classroom. My students used the programming language with ease (admittedly, I had much more difficulty then them and didn’t explain it well) but they used software tools to create digital storyboards about the Olympics, as culminating activities in our Space unit, to tell stories about Early Explorers  or they simply used the programming language to create and share games (for fun). At home, to my utter delight,  both my kids (7 and 9 years old) quickly replaced their usual sites – mini-clip or andkon.com with Scratch. They spent hours reviewing the games created by other children and studied the codes. They downloaded and changed games to make it “theirs”.  I can’t help but find pure joy in watching my boys create games.  There is some irony in the fact that at 8, I played Pong, while at the same age my child creates the game for himself. P1016550 It was for this reason, I was so excited to meet Mitchel Resnick at ISTE 2010 last year in Denver. I asked him for an autograph (for my son, of course).  My 10 year, told me recently that one of the newest features on the Scratch website is the   “Scratch Suggestions” portal. The creators are engaging and empowering the users by asking them what they think and it is that kind of respect that keeps them coming back. That is what my son told me. Now onto the point of this blog post – The other morning I came downstairs to find my boy on Scratch (surprise, surprise). I stopped for a moment to watch him and was amazed at the skill level. When did he learn this? Who did he learn it from? He told me that although Scratch is available at school, he doesn’t use it. So where did he learn it? Certainly not from me.  From the other players. From the examples.”I  learned it by reading the scripts”.  So I asked him to show me what he was doing. I do hope you find a second to give my son a comment.

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10 Replies to “I play it. They create it. Scratch.”

  1. Great work Nate! I’ve been teaching my kids how to program in Scratch, but I’m super impressed with what you’re doing here! It looks like a great game and I’m sure you’ll continue to add to it to make it better and better… that’s just kind of how it works right? 🙂 I’m also impressed that your mum siad you’ve taught yourself a lot of this… that’s awesome! Keep up the great work… can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  2. Wow Nate! This is incredible! I don’t know anything about Scratch. Now I want to give it a try though. Thanks for inspiring me to try something new and being such a great teacher too!

    Aviva

  3. Like Aviva just wrote, thanks for inspiring others to learn this program. I’ll be showing your work to my gr. 7/8 students.

    I’m also glad you shared with your mom the value of having your voice heard by the developers. Teachers often need that reminder.

    Heather @hdurnin
    P.S. did mom ever actually give you that autograph…or was it for her? 🙂

  4. Wow. This is super cool!!! I can see that I will need to show this to my two boys tomorrow. They will be very impressed by your know-how and imagination. Great job! I can tell you they will probably need some good tips!

  5. WOW Nate! I have a hard enough time trying to beat even a single level of Super Marios, and here you are creating a game! That is AMAZING! I had never seen Scratch until I saw your video and I am quite impressed. This is definitely something that I will be bringing into the classroom when I get my own group of students. Thanks for showing us this cool tool Nate. Great Job!! 🙂

  6. Shauna, your boys would most definitely appreciate this game (and I bet they could even show you how…)
    Thanks so much for the comment!

  7. WOW Nate! That is so impressive! You have just inspired me to try something new! This is what they mean when they say “we learn as much from our kids as they learn from us!”

  8. Pingback: This Week in Ontario Edublogs « doug – off the record

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