Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tech Thursday: Scratch - a fun way to learn programming

Created by the MIT Media Lab (which in itself is a really cool site to visit if you want to know more about trending tech), Scratch allows you to program your own interactive stories, games, virtual tours, birthday cards, interactive tutorials, and animations. Once made, share your creations with others in the online Scratch community.

Joining Scratch is free. Just visit and click on "Join Scratch". After learning the basics with their step-by-step tutorial, proceed to making your awesome animated creations. The building code pieces click together like Lego blocks, so you don't have to worry about putting something in the wrong spot. The "See Project Page" button shows you what your choices do. I'm not a great animator, but I had fun playing around.

Click on the image below to go to the website for viewing (it needs Flash to play).

To run programs, click on the green flag in the project's viewing screen, then follow any other directions listed. For example, to start the above "DIY Purse Tutorial", you also need to press the spacebar. Click on the Stop Sign icon to stop the video.

People worldwide use Scratch to not only to make an interactive birthday card or fun cartoon, but for more serious things like school projects. For example, a 13 year-old boy from India animated a character's travels to the center of the earth, describing the various layers along the way: . Scratch is available in numerous languages - language options are at the very bottom of the page.

screenshot of "Traveling through the Earth" animation  by msres in Bangalore, India
To see some of the cool things others have made, or if you're creatively blocked and need some inspiration, browse through Featured Projects, Featured Studios, or What the Community is Loving.

See something cool and want to know how they did it? Just
click on the "See Inside" link, and you'll see all their building

Want to take someone else's creation and add your own flair -- which is strongly encouraged (all projects are covered by Creative Commons license)? Just click on "Remix" and a workspace opens up with all the code blocks already in place. When you're done putting your twist on things, click "Share" and your work will be posted on the website for all to see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Into Arduino (DIY electronic programming)?
Sparkfun, an awesome purveyor of arduino and other electronics, now offers even simpler Arduino programming with MIT's Scratch program: