In many new national curriculum’s around the world coding is being viewed
as a new form of literacy as we try to entice kids to become tech creators
and not simply tech consumers.
Scratch Jr is the little brother to the very popular Scratch that was
released nearly a decade ago by researchers from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology or (MIT). Scratch revolutionized coding for kids
as it changed lines of irrelevant syntax with variable jigsaw pieces that
could be manipulated by students with far more simplicity and success.
Scratch has never worked on the iPad unfortunately and there have been
numerous forums discussing the potential of making it happen.
So ScratchJr is now available on the iPad and it is targeted at students
aged 5 – 7 years old. It is free.
As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express
themselves with computers, not just to interact with it. In the process,
kid’s learn to solve problems and design projects, and they develop
sequencing skills that are foundational for later academic success. They
also use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context,
supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.
ScratchJr is somewhat limited in what it can do in comparison to Scratch
but then again it’s also aimed at a younger audience.
Younger students have no trouble picking up the concepts and the basic
skills behind ScratchJr but you will really need to reinforce to them what
they are doing with it or else it might just come off as a poor man’s
animation tool for the iPad.
If student understand they are in fact controlling a computer much like
video game makers do they will value the process far more.
ScratchJr is available on iTunes now with Android coming soon.