Scratch is a programming language created by MIT and specially designed so that everyone can get started in the world of programming. It serves to create interactive stories, games and animations; besides facilitating the diffusion of the final creations with other people via Web.
The name comes from the word “Scratching” which in programming languages means those pieces of code that can be reused, easily combinable and adapted for new uses.
It is a language that has had an enormous diffusion thanks to its gratuitousness (it is free software) and its ease of use.
What is Scratch?
Scratch is both an application that we can download to our computer (it is available for several operating systems: Windows, Ubuntu, Sugar, Mac) as a web application that we can run from our browser.
In both cases we have on the one hand a series of objects or “sprites” (in the nomenclature used by Scratch) and on the other hand a series of actions and behaviors that we can combine to get objects to react to act in a certain way.
One of the most interesting things about Scratch is that these actions or behaviors have a puzzle shape and our mission as programmers will be to cook those pieces to get a certain action or behavior. So essentially program becomes something like solving a puzzle, which eliminates one of the main barriers that have neophytes in the world of programming that is the arid and complex aspect of programming environments. Turning the programming process into something like a game.
Actions and behaviors are divided into categories and are these:
Move: Move and rotate an object around the screen.
Appearance: Change the display of the object: the background, make it larger or smaller, etc.
Sound: Play audio streams.
Pencil: Draw by controlling the size of the brush the color and the shadow of the same.
Data: Create variables and their assignment in the program.
Events: Event handlers that “trigger” certain actions in a block.
Control: Conditionals: if-else, “forever”, “repeat”, and “stop”.
Sensors: Objects or “sprites” can interact with the environment or with elements created by the user as a lay robot for example.
Operators: mathematical operators, random number generators, position cooperators.
More blocks: Own blocks and controllers of external devices.
What is it for?
Allows the development of thought processes and mental abilities in learners
It is perfect for getting into programming
It allows sharing projects through the web, can be downloaded and used. Being able to be downloaded and used by other people
Programming is the new language we all need to know if we want to have a good understanding of the world today and above all that comes as good job opportunities. it is estimated that about 50% of the jobs we know today will disappear and to a large extent will be replaced by the software industry and robotics. In this way Scratch becomes a great tool to understand the concepts and logic of programming. in addition it does approaching its learning from a playful point of view to avoid the initial rejection that for many people suppose the classic programming environments.
Advantages for child development
If there is an environment in which Scratch is especially indicated, it is in the teaching of programming to children, for that playful component of which we have spoken before. We could group a number of advantages that their use provides to children:
Develop logical thinking.
Develop methods to solve problems in a methodical and orderly manner
Develop the habit of self-diagnosis regarding your work
Develop the ability to question one’s ideas
Having the possibility of obtaining complex results from simple ideas
Work each at your own pace depending on your own competencies
Learning and assuming mathematical concepts: coordinates, variables, algorithms, randomness
Learning the basics of programming
Use different media: sound, image, text, graphic …
Enabling collaborative learning through the exchange of knowledge
Scratch is free, multiplatform, simple and oriented to the introduction of children (and anyone who wants) in the world of programming.
To start, it is so simple to download the program and start playing by changing the different objects that come with the program with the actions and behaviors that are available.
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