Coding and programming look set to become a big part of ICT in schools, hitting the ‘Developing ideas’ section of the curriculum which includes using information systems and sequences of instructions to solve problems.
But before your purchasing team snap up armfuls of Raspberry Pi computers and get stuck into a few hefty Java and C++ language manuals, there could be an easier way to get staff and students’ heads around basic coding and programming.
I’ve recently been looking into Scratch – a programming language developed by MIT aimed at getting 8-16 year olds into coding by using a graphical approach in place of text script. Because it comes with blocks of ready-made code, students can quickly build images, video and audio into movies and games, all without having to write a single line of code themselves.
Intro to Scratch from ScratchEd on Vimeo.
The BBC recently featured a report on how Lampton School, Hounslow, have been using Scratch in their Citizenship classes. They’ve been teaching with it for over a year, giving students the basic building blocks and aiming to get them adapting their own code to give a full understanding of the whole process.
The people behind Scratch explain: “As students work on Scratch projects, they have opportunities to learn important computational concepts such as iteration, conditionals, variables, data types, events, and processes. Scratch has been used to introduce these concepts to students of many different ages, from elementary school through college. Some students transition to traditional text-based languages after getting introduced to programming with Scratch.”
So why not give Scratch a go? It’s an incredibly intuitive way to get a taste of coding, and it’s free too. Find out more at the Scratch website.
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