Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Scratch - Teaching kids programming
This session was taught by Christopher Michaud from Nebo Elementary in GA.
Why teach programming to elementary students?
1) It allows students to encode and reflect on sequential and logical thought in a dynamic system.
2) It provides real application to math concepts - coordinate plain, directions, grids/arrays
3) Game making is a form of storytelling
4) Develops technological fluency
Scratch was developed by MIT to teach young students programming concepts and develop skill in multimedia communication. It is easy, fun and visual. It's object oriented so reading level doesn't really apply. And...it's free!
If you go to Christopher's site he has tutorials for practice. We practiced making a sprite perform an action. Such as...pac man eating in a maze. This took me a while, but I could see elementary kids doing this in 15 minutes! Christopher said he planned his first lesson for a 50 minute class period and the kids finished the project in 10 minutes.