Scratch

Full Description: 

Scratch is an educational programming language that allows people of any experience, background and age to experiment with the concepts of fully versatile computer programming by snapping together visual programming blocks to control images, music and sound. Scratch is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, with financial support from the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, Intel Foundation, Nokia, Iomega and MIT Media Lab research consortia.
Scratch can be installed and freely redistributed on any Windows, Mac OS X or Linux computer.
The source code is made available under a license that allows modifications for non-commercial uses.

System Requirements: 

Operating systems: Windows, Linux, Mac OSX

Short Description: 
Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and share your creations on the web.
Icon: 
Rating: 
4
User Interface: 

Reviews

2

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Scratch
Scratch is a program used emulate computer programming with visual drag 'n drop boxes. Scratch is the basis of the proprietary program Stencyl, which has a similar layout and design, but offers more advanced features and options. I was aware of the Scratch online application, but didn't know that I could download the stand-alone program as well! I'm happy to find out about this!
The Scratch interface is very simplistic and looks like it belongs as part of a kindergarten curriculum with it's large icons and bright color scheme. But don't be fooled, it can actually create quite intricate projects. There are eight categories with which to chose your drag 'n drop boxes from: motion, looks, sound, pen, control, sensing, operators, and variables. Within each category there's a plethora of choices, many of which are customizable.
A nice feature of Scratch is that it offers the option to draw the sprites (the objects in the project) right there in the program as opposed to having to import them from elsewhere. Similarly, you can add sound to your project by recording it right there in the program as opposed to having to import a sound file from elsewhere. These all-in-one features cut down on the required knowledge base and are good for younger users. However, Scratch also allows the more advanced user to import and use sprites and sounds that have been created in other programs. Once your project is finished, you have the option of uploading it to the Scratch website where it can be played, viewed, shared, and modified by other users.
Scratch introduces the ideas behind computer programming in a non-threatening manner. The drag 'n drop boxes are, for the most part, easy to understand and use. Scratch encourages young users to develop creative ideas and supports them with an easy interface as they make these ideas come to life. Scratch also introduces some basic math concepts such as degrees (i.e. make the character rotate 90°), and score keeping (addition and subtraction).
Pros of Scratch include the ease of creation. The programming blocks are color coded to make it even easier to create a script. There's also a one-click option to upload and share your project, which is rewarding for anyone- especially kids.
The only drawbacks to Scratch are that you can't directly upload your projects onto your own website, you have to upload them to the Scratch website, and then from there you can embed them on your own website. Also, getting started with Scratch can be difficult. There's a steep learning curve to start, but it quickly levels off.
Scratch is appropriate for a wide range of age levels starting at about 3rd grade. There are some more advanced tools that may be difficult for younger users, but there are plenty of straightforward tools as well.
I'm giving Scratch four stars as opposed to five only because of the annoyance of not being able to directly upload your project onto your own website.

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

This software would be good for kids in 3rd grade to 6th grade. It was really easy to install and started right up. I had a hard time figuring out how to use it. I had to play with the controls for a while to figure out what everything did and how to make it work. I think it would be great for kids to be able to create their own interactive stories. This program allows for a lot of creativity and a different way for students to learn using technology. It needs some sort of tutorial for new users to view.