Education STEM/STEAM

Scratch Is Scratching An Itch To Grow More Creatively And Teacher Friendly

MIT Media Labs, Scratch, Prepares For Version 3.0

scratch-top Scratch Is Scratching An Itch To Grow More Creatively And Teacher Friendly

Scratch, the coding language for kids developed by MIT Media Labs, and the LifeLong Kindergarten group, is the easiest way to teach kids the concepts behind coding. But coding isn’t what Mitch Resnick the creator, is entirely focused on. He, and others, know that the true ethos of the Scratch platform is to teach kids creative thinking. How do I get from point A to point B and what happens if I change this, or that. If I do this, than that will happen.

There’s no doubt that coding skills and computer science are the wave of the future. There are several initiatives across the country that are trying to instill computer science or some kind of coding class into the every day requirements for students. Computer science and coding, may one day, soon, become as common place as language arts, math or social studies.

That’s not what drives the Scratch team though. It’s more than that.

Scratch is built on four key ingredients: passion, projects, peers and play. This story from KQED’s Mind/Shift, talks about a student named Ipzy that has created not just games on the Scratch platform, but they’ve also created a following and found a place within the community. Ipzy’s love of scratch didn’t stem from someone saying “hey coding will be an important skill in the future” but more because Ipzy and kids like Ipzy can use Scratch to express creativity in new ways. (Ipzy is a general neutral student who’s pronouns are they, and theirs).

“We created Scratch to give people new ways to think about things,” Resnick told Mind/Shift. For him the project is at the center of that goal. “A project is a way to put your idea into action. As kids work on projects, they learn core ideas in a meaningful context.”

Many of today’s hottest edtech products, designed to help teach kids to code, like Wonder Workshop’s Dot and Dash, are fueled by Scratch. It’s become an integral part of the conversation when it comes to STEM and STEAM.

MIT Media Labs are preparing to unveil the highly anticipated Scratch 3.0.

The newest version will introduce more features for education like teacher accounts, learning resources and in person communities. They are also working on making the newest version more light weight so that it can be deployed on mobile devices. Now, Scratch users will be able to create new lightweight applications right on their mobile device.

According to Mind/Shift, the newest version of Scratch will get more physical as well. They are working on a small device being called “Scratch Pad” right now. The device will be a small round object with a button a slot and sensors inside.  Kids will be able to turn the device into whatever they can imagine.

MIT Media Labs worked hand in hand with educators to design Scratch 3.0. They plan on releasing a public beta sometime in the beginning of 2018 and hope that they can deploy a full release, including the mobile version, later next year.

For a real in-depth look at the upcoming features of Scratch 3.0 check out the Mind/Shift story here.