Scratch, an excellent and free drag-and-drop programming language for kids developed at MIT, has a new web-based interface. My 10-year-old daughter Jane uses it to create puzzles, games, and interactive cartoons. One thing I like about Scratch is that it's really hard to make a syntax or spelling mistake. The inevitable bugs that arise in a complex Scratch program are therefore more interesting to solve.
Last year I reviewed a terrific introductory book called Super Scratch Programming Adventure!, which teaches Scratch through game programming. There's a new version of the book that covers the web-based Scratch 2, and it went on sale this week.
Super Scratch Programming Adventure! (Covers Version 2): Learn to Program by Making Cool Games
Here's Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten Group (whence the kids' programming language Scratch comes) doing a TedX talk about the role of programming in education, arguing that kids should learn to code so that they can use code to learn:
Most people view computer coding as a narrow technical skill. Not Mitch Resnick. He argues that the ability to code, like the ability to read and write, is becoming essential for full participation in today's society. And he demonstrates how Scratch programming software from the MIT Media Lab makes coding accessible and appealing to everyone -- from elementary-school children to his 83-year-old mom.
As director of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, Mitch Resnick designs new technologies that, in the spirit of the blocks and finger paint of kindergarten, engage people of all ages in creative learning experiences.
Reading, Writing, and Programming: Mitch Resnick at TEDxBeaconStreet