On Saturday, December 1, five Browning boys representing Lower and Middle School co-led a class at the third annual Scratch Day hosted by the Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Scratch Day is a fun-filled event of learning and creating with Scratch.
You maybe wondering, “What is Scratch?” People often think that Scratch is a computer game. However, Scratch is a real programming language and a tool to learn computer programming. We often want students to both learn these computer programming skills and develop the confidence they need to learn more. To achieve this, it is important to emphasize that Scratch is not a game!
In fact, it was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT which also helped co-create LEGO Mindstorms for teaching kids how to program and engineer robotics. Most recently MIT launched the “Jr” version of the visual block-based drag-and-drop language. ScratchJr is a free app used on tablets developmentally appropriate for the youngest programmers aged five to seven.
Browning’s workshop description below describes the experience:
Introduction to ScratchJr
Anderson Harp and Browning School Students from Kindergarten, Grade Two and Grade Five
Learn the basics of computer science, engineering and design with ScratchJr, a version of Scratch designed for young learners. This workshop is an introduction to coding through storytelling and animations using the ScratchJr app. Parents and children will learn the basics from Browning’s Lower School and Middle School students in this hands-on workshop geared for beginners. No experience is necessary. You will leave with the knowledge and tools to create and make stories come alive with ScratchJr.
We had a fun-filled morning whereby the boys shined in working with their audience to guide them on their first experience of learning to code. In fact, the parents, teachers and students left having shared the thrill and joy of computing. I expect many new fans of computer science, thanks to our boys who made participants feel confident, empowered and prepared to continue creating and making.