Kickstarting Scratchjr: Scratch programming for under-eights!

Mitchel Resnick runs the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten lab, from which came the amazing, kid-friendly Scratch programming language. He writes, "We just launched a Kickstarter campaign for ScratchJr, an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games. As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with the computer, not just interact with it. In the process, children develop design and problem-solving skills, and they use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.

ScratchJr is a variation of our Scratch programming language, used by millions of people (ages 8 and up) around the world. In creating ScratchJr, we redesigned the interface and programming language to make them developmentally appropriate for younger children, carefully designing features to match young children's cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development."

Read the rest

Learn to Program with Scratch - tutorial to kids' programming language

Scratch is a free drag-and-drop programming language for kids, developed at MIT. My 10-year-old daughter Jane uses it to create puzzles, games, and interactive cartoons. In 2012 I reviewed a book called Super Scratch Programming Adventure, a comic book guide to Scratch. I recommend it.

I also recommend the new book, Learn to Program with Scratch: A Visual Introduction to Programming with Games, Art, Science, and Math. Like Super Scratch Programming Adventure, this book is aimed at the complete beginner, but it goes deeper, exploring powerful programming concepts that show how useful Scratch is, for kids and adults.

Read the rest

Super Scratch Programming Adventure! - guide to kids' programming language

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

Kids should learn programming as well as reading and writing

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 (Thanks, Mitch!)