Saturday, January 22, 2011

Maria's Scratch reflection

I started playing with Scratch about a year ago... Two days ago, I downloaded it again and I realized that I wasn't able to remember much! So I started experimenting with it again. I looked through all the options I had with the controls, the sounds, movements, backgrounds... I started with the yellow cat.. :) and then I added a butterfly... I happily discovered that I could have her say hello through the controls and also change her size from the buttons above the white screen.

Soon, Scratch and the butterfly were moving towards the right part of the screen and they were saying "Hello"! Easy task so far... How about adding some background? I searched my computer and found a picture from an online project I worked on... ok, imported... that was easy too! The process of playing with the controls and the commands was a bit challenging. I think it needs some practice though, until one can manage to be fast enough in programming animations on this (it was hard to figure out how to change the background after one clicks the space bar...).

I can definitely see the theory behind this tool. I can see the constructivist elements that we talked about in our last week's online class. Interacting with the tool, and at the end you have a product, an outcome, that is the result of your personal (in this case) learning process. I think I need to explore more those properties of Scratch in order to fully understand how it works. It is indeed a complex tool that takes time to master.

After looking at other projects on the Scratch site (it is amazing how creative children can be!!!) I wasn't confident for uploading it on the site... so I took some screenshots of the various modifications I made on my first project. I am hoping that throughout the next few weeks I will be able to have a decent animation project to share with the larger community!


  1. I have to agree, kids are very creative - and Scratch is a great way to display those hidden talents!

    I hope to work on Scratch the next couple of weeks and figure out something more 'sophisticated!' My creations lack creativity!!! Maybe it's because I'm tired :)

  2. yeah, i need to work more over the next couple of weeks to master this tool. Hopefully, I will come up with something creative :)

  3. Maria,
    I am finding more and more things in common with you :) I noticed your Masters Dissertation is similar to the research I am planning right now for a class I am taking! I might need to meet with you sooner than later - would you mind meeting sometime?

  4. Sure :) we can meet. I also got your emails and will reply soon :) Excited to know that other people have common interests with me!

  5. The Scratch cat in QA! Look at that! Yes, it is pretty amazing what the kids have produced on the site -- it's even more amazing watching how they build on one another. The projects that are there now are so much more sophisticated than they were several years ago. For example, the kids used to make their own side-scrolling games and came up with a lot of creative ways to get the background to scroll. If you're a newbie, you can imagine and it starts to make your head hurt just thinking about it! Then on the Scratch website, they started posting sidescrolling engines (blank games that you could import your own characters and objects) and there was this major increase in these projects from having some of the tools available -- I think that this is actually a nice example of how code is reused or repurposed in the community, gradually giving us newer and better things more easily. It's interesting introducing some of these ideas to kids -- when at first glance they often call this cheating.