No, not in the DJ style of things, but using Scratch software from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
I’m a late entry to the Scratch party but now I’ve arrived I’m hooked. I’m currently working with a group of KS2 G&T pupils at Adelaide Primary as an after-school club and I wanted to do something with them that they hadn’t done before and Scratch fitted the bill.
The LA technician downloaded the software and I downloaded the getting started guide and some cards that show how to ‘do things’ in Scratch. I explained to the pupils that I was about 2 hours experimenting in front of them and that we’d be off on a learning journey together and I wouldn’t always have the answers at my fingertips.
We’ve had 2 weeks Scratching so far and we’re now at the point where most of the group can make things move either by using a logo like repeat command or by assigning keys that activate movement. (I’m quite proud of my helicopter that is driven by the arrow keys and my fish tank with randomly moving occupants! Take a look here.)
We’re now thinking of how we can develop our initial work into some sort of game for younger pupils to play.
Ideas so far are:
A car driven by arrow keys round a maze ( the extension is to program a penalty if you leave the on-screen maze)
Create a game like the above only with increasingly difficult levels.
Create a game where the character is led round the screen by the mouse to improve basic mouse control.
It has been an interesting couple of weeks so far and as well as the pupils learning some basic programming we’ve also had discussions on angles, scale, repeat loops, IF statements, animation techniques and positive and negative co-ordinates in 4 quadrants. Not bad eh?
The pupils have gone off in different directions and my role is certainly not the ‘font of all knowledge’ and is very much more in the support/tutor role. The pupils have been excellent at breaking down issues, using the guide, the cards, me, video clips and, most importantly, each other to solve problems.
I’ll update this sometime soon and we will put the finished games online for anyone to use, which is another incentive. We write for different audiences, why not program for them?
As you can see, late arrival at the Scartch party I might have been, but I’ll be one of the last to leave.
And yes.. I probably will put on a 1/2 day course as part of the HCTS programme.
Oh! One last thing. This splendid piece of software is free.