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Scratch: Coding for People of All Ages

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Scratch is a visual programming language created in 2007 by the MIT Media Lab. Its colorful blocks and drag-and-drop interface make it one of the easiest programming languages to learn. Unlike traditional programming languages such as Python, which requires the coder to write out the code, Scratch allows both children and adults to effortlessly develop interactive games and programs by linking code blocks.

Scratch is usually advised for kids above the age of eight. ScratchJr is an alternative choice for youngsters ages 5-7, featuring an even simpler and more intuitive platform than ordinary Scratch. Scratch is a coding language for children and people of all ages. Although Scratch is best suited for children aged 8 to 11, older children and adults can also benefit from it. Scratch is an approachable and welcoming introduction to coding for anyone with no prior computer science background. Scratch and other related block-based languages are being used in beginning computer science courses at numerous institutions, including UC Berkeley!

If you’re already experienced with computer programming, you might find it easier to learn text-based programming languages like Python or Java. While Scratch is a terrific place to start, these more complicated programming languages are the ones that are used on a daily basis in computer science careers.

 

Now that you know what Scratch is, let’s look at how it differs from standard coding languages.

A Distinctive Coding Language

Scratch may not appear to be a true programming language at first appearance, but it is. In fact, as of May 2020, Scratch was the world’s 19th most popular computer programming language! Scratch, on the other hand, is clearly distinct from the other programming languages on that list.

In a project, Scratch blocks are linked together.

The majority of the world’s most popular coding languages are written in C++ “”text-based,” which means that code is written by typing words and symbols on a keyboard. To write a program with text-based languages such as Python, Java, and C++, you must manually string together several lines of code. While this programming style is efficient and powerful, it can be challenging to master for the first time – similar to learning a new language.

Text-based code script lines

This is an example of text-based code. Text-based coding languages, like human languages, have their own grammar and vocabulary, as well as distinct ways to create different commands (instructions directing the computer what to do). This learning curve might be upsetting for inexperienced coders.

Scratch, on the other hand, is a block-based, visual programming language. Scratch commands, as opposed to standard written commands typed using symbols on the keyboard, take the form of colorful blocks. Users can build programs by snapping together blocks, much like virtual LEGO! They can then run them by clicking the green flag button in the Scratch interface.

 

Let’s Put It Into Pictures

To demonstrate the power of Scratch, below are two simple computer programs that both output the message “Hello! “How are you doing today?” One is written in Java, and the other in Scratch.

 

Printing code in Java ‘Hello! ‘How are you doing today?’

Software that displays the message “Hello!” In Java, the question is, ‘How are you today?’

 

Printing code created with Scratch ‘Hello! ‘How are you doing today?’

Software that displays the message “Hello!” ‘How are you doing today?’ asks Scratch.

 

Both do the same thing, but the Scratch application is much easier to use. Scratch code, as illustrated above, is easier to generate and read, allowing you to quickly learn and apply computer science fundamentals. Scratch removes the difficulty of syntax, allowing inexperienced coders and young children to get directly into creating enjoyable and interactive projects.

 

Stories that are Interactive

Scratch also allows you to construct your own interactive narrative, which makes the platform more creative and personalizable. Scratch’s interactive storytelling differs from the classic storybook storylines we are accustomed to. Unlike traditional fairy tales such as “Red Riding Hood,” interactive storytelling in Scratch allows everyone playing the game to be the main character!

Treasure Cave is a Scratch interactive tale. Try it out for yourself by clicking the Green Flag! For example, in the interactive narrative Treasure Cave, the player takes control of an entrepreneurial elf. The elf expects to find treasure by exploring the Treasure Cave, but each time they find some, they must answer a question. They will lose everything if they answer too many questions incorrectly!

Scratch’s use to tell stories gives it a fun approach for students to practice storytelling while also learning code. Stories don’t have to be complicated; sometimes even simple tasks may be enjoyable and intriguing! Scratch also allows you to construct classic, non-interactive storytelling, such as generating your own short film. Funky Town is a simple and enjoyable non-interactive Scratch narrative about a dancing dinosaur. To begin the animated clip, click the Green Flag!

 

Scratch’s Community

The Scratch community is full of incredible projects that demonstrate what you can do with Scratch. Scratchers (Scratch users) can use this online community to share their Scratch projects with others with the press of a button. It might be a terrific source of inspiration for individuals who want to make their own projects but don’t know where to begin. You can see the source code of any project and make changes to the ones you prefer by “remixing.” “or you can modify your own copy of them.

The Scratch community is safe for children, and the Scratch team, which is part of the MIT Media Labs’ Lifelong Kindergarten Group, assures this. They implement strong community norms to promote a safe environment in which anyone can contribute. There is now a Scratch Wiki where all Scratchers can read about the newest updates and tips on different Scratch features and code!

 

Other Advantages of Scratch Coding

Learning to code with Scratch helps youngsters enhance a variety of critical life skills in addition to being an excellent entry point for anyone to delve into the world of coding. The following abilities are repeatedly developed and sharpened while exploring the endless possibilities for projects in Scratch.

 

Design & Creativity in the Arts

For a cohesive game, your child will need to develop a collection of characters known as “sprites” who will be the game’s subjects. Scratch includes a wide collection of pre-made sprites and backgrounds, but it also allows you to draw your own. This means that with enough practice, your child will be able to construct interactive stories including any character they can imagine! Customizing sprites and creating tales will help students develop their artistic abilities as well as their design, storytelling, and thematic coherence.

Planning Capabilities

Your child will need to figure out how many sections of their code or design will function together to plan out the mechanics of their game or story. Brainstorming in Scratch helps children build excellent planning and organizational skills that transfer to other aspects of life.

Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving

Making projects in Scratch helps your child become a better coder and familiarises them with computer science. Your child will be better prepared to tackle higher-level computer science or even accelerate their learning in other disciplines such as math or science if they practice basic logical thinking and problem-solving coding skills.

In Scratch, an if-then block is used. Scratch blocks (such as the one seen above) assist children to learn utilizing logical thinking to solve issues, such as practicing “if… then” conditionals.

 

Are you ready to begin learning Scratch?

Scratch is an innovative platform and coding language that brings creativity and easy learning to new programmers of all ages for all of the reasons stated above and more. To begin, your youngster can create a free account on the Scratch website, scratch.mit.edu. They can start with a blank project and experiment with different blocks to see what they can come up with! They can also look at projects created by other Scratchers in the Scratch Community for ideas.

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About HKCC

Hong Kong Coding Club is a social coding club for children, teenagers, and young adults who want to learn how to code. We’ve created a number of online coding challenges to help those who are new to coding get started.

We believe that everyone is proficient in at least one field. The goal is to recognize and capitalize on your skills. Assist your child in achieving his or her creative and technical goals.