In our fourth week of Digital Technologies, we looked at the concept of coding using the Scratch Jr application. Scratch Jr is an introductory programming language that allows children aged 5 and up to be creative and interactive by creating their own stories and games. Children can add programming blocks together to make characters move, sing and talk (ScratchJr, 2017).
When children create programs, it allows them to develop their creative thinking skills, logical reasoning skills, problem solving skills and their collaboration skills (Scratch Jr, 2017). “Scratch was developed for young people to help them develop creative learning skills for the 21st century” (Scratch, 2017). According to The Lead Project (2014), “Scratch is designed for exploration and experimentation, so it supports any different learning style.” It can help support teachers in many different subjects such as maths, literacy, art, music and information technology (The Lead Project, 2014). The ability to code computer programs is a vital part of literacy in society today. Some people believe that coding is the new literacy. Coding can aid people in learning important strategies for problem solving, the communicating ideas and designing projects (The Lead Project, 2014).
The aim of today was to complete an assessment by creating our own adventure story using Scratch Jr on the iPads. Initially I thought it would be a challenging task. However, after following the activity card instructions on how to move characters, change the backgrounds and add speech, it became easier to do. My activity started off with an under the sea theme with animals that live under the sea. I started off the story with a fish looking for his friend and the task for the children would be to write about what they think will happen next. As a teacher, I would also ask them about the animals that are in the story and what other animals could live under the sea. In addition to this, I would also ask questions about how the characters are feeling throughout the story and how that made them feel. This would give children ideas for writing their part of the story and open up their imagination, whilst also learning about animals that live under water.
The technology experiences and outcomes that are covered within this activity are: TCH 1-04b/2-04b, “I can create, capture and manipulate sounds, text and images to communicate experiences, ideas and information in creative and engaging ways.” The literacy experiences and outcomes that are being covered are: LIT 0-09b/LIT 0-31a, “I enjoy exploring events and characters I stories and other texts and I use what I learn to invent my own, sharing these with others in imaginative ways.” (Education Scotland, 2017)
Codeacademy is another website that provides various coding languages. It can be easily accessed at school and at home. This means that children can log into the browser at school, log their progress and pick up where they left off. They would also be able to use this resource to set homework, do quizzes and play games. In addition to this, teachers can use lesson plans for all levels throughout school and is an effective way of checking homework (Telegraph,2014). The ability to code computer programs is a vital part of literacy in society today. Some people believe that coding is the new literacy. Coding can aid in learning important strategies for problem solving, communication of ideas and designing projects (TESL-EJ, 2017).
Today was my first experience of coding, and I thought it would be really complex and difficult to understand. However, it turned out to be simple and straight forward as I followed the instruction cards. As a student teacher, I would use Scratch Jr in my classroom as it has many benefits for the children, and also for me as an educator. It would increase and improve the children’s imagination skills, literacy and numeracy skills, problem solving skills, and logical skills In In addition to this, Scratch Jr can be tailored to any subject which is very useful and effective as a teacher. As individuals we must keep up with the digital technology that is readily available to us. In education, we should use this to our advantage to ensure that children grow up understanding how to use technology surrounding them and not be afraid to use it. Overall, Scratch Jr is easy to use, is readily available on the internet browser and is free to use. It is an effective resource for the classroom.
Education Scotland (2017) Benchmarks : Literacy and English. [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot [Accessed : 30th January]
Education Scotland (2017) Benchmarks : Technologies. [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot [Accessed : 30th January]
Scratch (2017). [Online] Available: https://scratch.mit.edu/ [Accessed:30th January]
Scratch Jr (2017). [Online] Available: https://www.scratchjr.org/teach/activities [Accessed:30th January]
Telegraph (2014) Teaching our children to code: a quiet revolution [Online] Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10410036/Teac…[Accessed: 30th January 2018]
›The Lead Project (2014) Super Scratch Programming Adventure: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games! No Starch Press.
TESL-EJ (2017) [Online] Available: http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/issues/volume21/ej82/ej82int/ [Accessed : 30th January]