I’ve been meaning to integrate the use of a programming language that allows students to create animated stories, games, etc. called Scratch into my curriculum for a number of years now. Unfortunately, difficulty getting computer lab time, a packed curriculum, a burdensome assessment schedule, etc. kept me from jumping in.
Knowing that next year I’ll be teaching in a one-to-one netbook program where I’ll be expected to teach some basic programming, I finally decided to take my students on a journey to learning the basics of programming by designing short stories using Scratch. My initial worry was that they’d find Scratch difficult to learn, especially at the end of the school year when their minds are gravitating with rapid acceleration towards summer.
Introducing the assignment and giving students a quick overview of the program, I felt a bit vulnerable knowing that students would likely have questions I couldn’t answer or require assistance that I could not provide. Despite absolutely NOT being able to answer several questions or successfully troubleshooting everybody’s issues, the entire experience was a HUGE success…mostly BECAUSE I couldn’t help them with every little issue.
The critical thinking that went into their projects, the creativity of their stories, and their very obvious feelings of satisfaction at completing their projects all made me wonder why on earth I waited SO long to jump on the Scratch bandwagon.