Scratch

In session 6, we looked at a computing programme called “scratch”.
For this session we had to make our own game, i decided to make a game similar to a touch game ‘fruit ninja’: my game included the elephant collecting the fruit. The software is free to download from: http://scratch.mit.edu/, the website states that it is mainly for children aged 8-16 but both younger children and older adults are able to use the software. Once signing up to the website, children are able to upload and share scratch projects. Scratch provide a ‘getting started’ pdf file, which is 14 pages long and gives a step to step introduction to using the software. These include:

  • Start moving
  • Add sound
  • Start a dance
  • Again & again
  • Green flag
  • Change colour
  • Key press
  • Add sprite &
  • Explore

Obviously, not all of these sections will be used when greeting a game with children but, it provides a clear understanding to either the teacher or children to how to make something move or repeat itself. The two image below an examples of what the software looks like, within the picture there are commands for the game; these will the sprites what to do during the game. Also below the images is an example of my game.

Learn more about this project

Micheal Gove is currently in discussion about at adding in computing into ICT national curriculum, this is due to the country not producing enough people able to work with computer programming. Therefore children will be able to design and create their own games which can link to any part of the curriculum, not just ICT. If you would like to know more about this then read here.

In July 2009,  ScratchEd was launched, this is a online community where educators share stories, exchange resources, ask questions, and find other Scratch educators. The video below shows some examples of what you can use ScratchEd for.

When looking at wider reading i found that, Futurelab provide a handbook about computer games and learning which is download-able as a PDF file. As the term ‘game’ is very board the document gives definitions on different games, and has game elements which can all be explored during a lesson. Also within this there is a large section on ‘games in school’ looking at the following areas:

  • Role of teachers,
  • Using game as a stimulus,
  • Using games to teach &
  • Creating games and others.

If you want to learn more about games within the classroom, i suggest to read it!

When visiting techradar.computing, one school which is keeping their children up to date with technology is Cedars School of Excellence. This school in Greenock, Scotland has provided each child with an ipad. They were first looking at getting children an ipod touch but then realised that the keypad would be small and it couldn’t be projected on a whiteboard. A quote from the article states that “on the first day, it ran and ran. I couldn’t make the battery die, and I realised this alone would transform the technology experience in the classroom. Even teachers who weren’t confident with technology and didn’t see a place for their laptops in school started bringing their iPads with them every day, and everyone found different ways for Apple’s tablet to enhance their classes” This shows that technology is getting easy to use and that all people are able to use and teach with the simplest things, and also if charged correctly they can be used throughout the day! So therefore teachers shouldn’t be scared when using new technology. For more on this article, read here.

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