Not literally! Scratch is a visual programming language that is mainly used by children, all over the globe. This visual language it is in the shape of blocks, and it allows its users to create online projects, games, apps, and many other things.
One of the most interesting facts of this visual programming language is the involvement of the community. When someone finishes a project, or whenever a specific user wants to, they share and can discuss their creations with other members of the community. Do you remember when we discussed the importance of teamwork in coding?
Well, community building and initiatives like Scratch put a lot of emphasis on this matter, enabling kids to develop even more skills and abilities through the learning of coding.
Scratch was developed by the MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten group, and in partnership with the Playful Invention Company. These organizations, together with Paula Bonta and Brian Silverman developed the first version of Scratch in the early 200’s. This version was only available for desktop usage.
Since the very beginning, Scratch’s purpose was to help children to learn how to code. Joining the same mindset and goal of big starts like Seymour Papert and Hadi Partovi. We all know that coding will open the doors to a successful future for our kids and that if they don’t learn how to code today it will be even harder and more challenging to join the workforce of the years to come.
Moreover, learning to code prepares kids for the world we live in today. There are tons of jobs and occupations that use code directly, like web designers, software developers and robotics engineers, and even more where knowing how to code is a huge asset—jobs in manufacturing, nanotechnology or information sciences. However, for most kid-coding advocates, reasons for learning to code run much deeper than career prep. It’s a skill that would be useful and possibly uber important for the future.
Today, computing is involved in almost all aspects of our lives, from communications and education to social media, banking, information, security and shopping. Networked computers are capable of controlling our homes’ thermostats and lighting, our cars and our health records.
If grade-schoolers are taught biology and mathematics in order to understand the world around them, then knowing the basics of how computers communicate—and how to engage with them—should be a given.
The skills that come with computer programming help kids develop new ways of thinking and foster problem-solving techniques that can have big repercussions in other areas.
Computational thinking allows preschoolers to grasp concepts like algorithms, recursion and heuristics—even if they don’t understand the terms, they’ll learn the basic concepts.
Therefore, initiatives like Scratch, that were created in a friendly and colorful way are an amazing way for our kids to start developing important skills such as computational thinking, algorithmic logic, problem-solving and creativity.
The benefits don’t stop there, there’s much more to add. By being part of a community of makers and creators, our kids will be able to receive all of the feedback they need to strengthen their developments, to listen to others who might have faced similar issues in the past and to work hard on another important ability for the 21st Century: Teamwork.
You’d be surprised to learn how easy it is to program by using Scratch’s blocks. With a very user-friendly interface, and with attractive colors, Scratch’s founders created the ideal platform to begin the process of learning how to code.
Then, passing to a programming language like Java, C++, or even Python will be a way more natural process for our beloved little pupils.
I must mention the amazing kind of projects kids (and anyone who uses Scratch) can build within the community. It will be easy to create breathtaking effects in our technophobic grandparents with the outstanding creations our kids can do only by putting a few colorful blocks together in Scratch.
There are nathsayers to this. When you teach a kid to code, what benefit do they actually get? The problem is things keep changing. I mean, we can all agree that teaching a kid Python isn’t necessarily going to help them get a job in 10 years because Python will probably not be the hot language in a decade. But if we are just teaching Python, that’s the real problem. A Python class should teach concepts and develop intuition about how computers solve problems. That’s a durable skill. So try to use technology like coding and in-built problem solving.
Nevertheless, the invitation is to join this positive and amusing revolution. Our kids have an amazing possibility to lead tomorrow’s world, and this can be possible only by giving them the tools they need to do so.
In the current Covid 19 situation, at least it helps me to keep the kid entertained and learning at the same time. A building block for the future.
Stay safe everyone!
Check out my related post: Do you have a whole brain child?