Today in digital technologies we were investigating the term coding and the sort of programmes that would cover this topic. We were mainly focussing our time on the software Scratch Junior, which I had previous experience of from computing science at secondary school. I was not confident at all using this software, as I had a very bad experience of this subject at school through a lack of explanation from the teacher. This made me very apprehensive surrounding the progress I would make within this session and how much I would struggle in understanding how it truly worked. I was also unsure as to how it could be used within classes, as I was unaware how to incorporate this into lesson plans for children.
The use of coding and Scratch Junior within the classroom has a variety of benefits to children such as when people learn to code, they learn important strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas. Teaching through the use of coding is also very beneficial to children as the ability to code computer programs is an important part of literacy in today’s society and some people believe that coding is the new literacy.
Throughout his session we were given time to watch tutorial videos on how Scratch Junior worked, and the sort of work that could be produced from it. Scratch Junior is a programme used to introduce children over the age of five years old to programming language and allows them to create stories and games on the iPad. This software works by the children being able to make characters move, jump and sing by clicking different blocks of programming instructions together.
According to The Lead Project (2014) Scratch Junior was designed for “exploration and experimentation, so it supports any different learning style”. This shows that this software is very adaptable an can be used across a wide range of the Curriculum for areas such as mathematics, English, music, art etc. Various experiences and outcomes can also be achieved from this software surrounding computing science such as “I am developing problem-solving strategies, navigation and co-ordination skills as I play and learn with electronic games, remote control or programmable. I can work individually r collaboratively to design and implement a game toys. (TCH 0-09a/TCH 1-09a)” and also “Using appropriate software, I can work collaboratively to design an interesting and entertaining game which incorporates a form of control technology or interactive media. (TCH 2-09a)”.
Within class we were given the opportunity to investigate this software and how it works, starting at the very beginning with the basics. After watching the tutorial videos given to us I began to understand how each element of the application worked and what the various possibilities could have been for using it in the classroom. We were given the task of creating a scene from a story and putting it into action. This same task could be given to children where they would have the opportunity to create their own snap shot from a story, sparking imagination and allowing them to illustrate it digitally. I came up with the idea of describing a day at the zoo, which was ideal as I was able to use a variety of different characters and make them interact with each other with both speech and movement.
Overall, I believe the use of scratch junior within the classroom would be very beneficial for children as it allows them to create stories, which many of them may have difficulty writing about however this can be used as a stimulus for creativity. It is also hugely beneficial to children as they can expand their vocabulary, introducing programmable language and understanding how this can then be put into practice using this software both in school and at home within the digital age of the 21st century.
The Lead Project (2014) Super Scratch Programming Adventure: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games! No Starch Press.
Curriculum for Excellence