Training session (tutorial) at the 4th Pan-Hellenic Conference ‘Informatics Didactics’, Patras 28-30 March 2008.
Familiarization with the SCRATCH educational programming environment
G. Fesakis1, A. Dimitracopoulou1,
K. Serafeim1, A. Zafeiropoulou1, M.Ntouni1, V.Touka1,
1Department of Preschool Education Sciences and Educational Design
The session concerns the training of young scientists and teachers in the MIT Scratch programming environment (http://scratch.mit.edu). Scratch is a new programming language designed for education. It allows the user to easily create interactive stories, animation, video games, music and digital art. The vibrant web-community created around the Scratch environment gives anyone the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions with other creators and to be actively involved in a community of practice and learning. Scratch is an open software based on squeak. It is designed for use from the age of 8 years. Scratch designers aim to develop basic skills such as: creative thinking, clear communication, systematic analysis, efficient collaboration, iterative-progressive design and lifelong learning skills. Kids who program in Scratch come in contact with important mathematical and computational ideas, while understanding better the general process of design.
Structure and duration
In the proposed training session, participants will have the opportunity to:
- attend a demonstration of the basic features of the development environment and of the web-community
- examine ready applications with emphasis on educational
- try lesson plans for familiarity with the language that concern authentic micro-applications that they will implement themselves.
The duration of the session is estimated at about 2½ hours as follows:
F1. Introduction to Scratch as project, 5′.
F2. Introduction to the development environment, 45′.
F3. Introduction to the web-community, 10′.
F4. Application of learning scenarios, 90′.
The training will be implemented with the contribution of TEPAES students, who have already created appropriate educational and training material.
Who is involved – expected benefits
- New researchers: Scratch is surrounded by a group of scientists working on interesting issues of effective integration and exploitation of programming environments in education. New researchers will be able to better approach the theoretical ideas and research data produced by the scratch community. In addition, familiarity with the environment enables them to design and test research ideas by easily developing the prototypes of computational environments required.
- Teachers: The environment gives new opportunities for the teacher of Computer Sciences (Primary or Secondary Education) to engage children with introduction to programming and advanced concepts (‘object’, ‘fact’, etc.). Besides teaching of Programming, Scratch provides each teacher with an easy way to produce interactive educational material, micro-worlds, simulations, etc. In the training session, samples of various learning activities will be distributed, including activities required from the official curriculum.
- Children: Scratch environment brings innovations in the approach of obscure concepts and programming techniques and its spread in education and extracurricular involvement of children is believed to improve their relationship with Computer Science in general, while at the same time it will make programming more interesting for girls and students of theoretical sciences.
Word keys: scratch, educational programming, training.
SCRATCH (2008), http://scratch.mit.edu, Last access 7 Feb 2008
Fessakis G., Dimitracopoulou A., (2006). Review of educational environments for programming: Technological and Pedagogical Dimensions, journal THEMES in education, 7(3), pp. 279-304 (in Greek).