Unlike many traditional programming languages, Scratch is relatively easy to pickup and learn by both students and teachers. The nature of Scratch is self learning. According to the creators of Scratch:
“A key design goal of Scratch is to support self-directed learning through tinkering and collaboration with peers” (Maloney, Resnick, Rusk, Silverman, Eastmond, 2010, p. 1).
The design of Scratch enables tinkering and experimenting which often results in a few students quickly becoming Scratch experts; teachers can then utilize these experts as peer tutors.
- In order to stimulate motivation, teachers should encourage students to experiment with Scratch tools and create projects (game, animation, art, etc.) of their own preference.
- Teachers should first introduce the tools of Scratch through scaffolding activities.
- Once students have some basics down they should be free to show off their creativity and take their projects further by tinkering and collaborating with others locally (in their classroom) or globally (Scratch learning-sharing community website).
- Take away the scaffolding as students become more able to problem-solve and create their own projects.
- After the completion of scaffolding activities students should be provided with an opportunity to take their projects further. In order to get ideas flowing and to motivate students it is best to first brainstorm ideas.
- Divide students into pairs or small groups and get them to think about ways to further develop the game. Then collect and discuss ideas as a class or have each group present their ideas.
- Have students search the internet for ideas, a great starting point is the Scratch website (http://scratch.mit.edu/). Students can browse projects uploaded to the site to get new project ideas and learn new programming techniques.
- Set a brainstorming time limit.
- Encourage remixing or building on each other’s ideas.
On the scaffolding activities page a basic dodge ball game was created. Ideas for further developing the dodge ball game could include:
- Adding more balls for the cat to dodge.
- Adding a survival time feature.
- Add another level with a different background.
- Add sounds to the game.
These ideas are demonstrated in the following: