The Scratch team in the MIT Media Lab is gearing up to release a new version of Scratch designed to work on mobile devices. The team is also working on a way to integrate the physical world with Scratch using what they’re currently calling a “Scratch Pad.” Developers are testing these new features on a separate ScratchX site, where they’ve posted open source code for the various extensions that could work with other types of physical devices, such LEGO, WeDo, Arduinos, or even text-to-speech. The idea is to make it easier for students to write programs in Scratch that control or manipulate things they’ve built in the physical world. The developers are also building up the supportive materials they offer to teachers who want to get started using Scratch in the classroom. They’ve created learning resource cardsthat are freely downloadable and modifiable so teachers can change them to suit their needs.
Plus: Scratch Day is a global network of events that brings together young people from the Scratch community to share projects, learn from one another, and welcome newcomers. Last year more than 1,000 events were celebrated around the world. This year’s celebration will take place on May 12, 2018. Look for a Scratch Day in your community or organize your own.
Each month we publish blogs and several newsletters full of digital learning, funding, professional growth, social media, and STEM resources. Below are items from our blogs and newsletters that educators turned to the most in August.
Each year the American Computer Science League (ACSL) organizes a computer science or programming competition for precollege students in five divisions—Senior, Intermediate, Junior, Classroom, and Elementary. A preliminary competition, in which individual students compete to get their school team qualified for the All-Star Contest, consists of four contests, each of which has two parts: a written section (called “shorts”) and a programming section.
Many education experts believe that coding will soon be an essential skill for young people entering the workforce. At the same time, there is growing concern about the increasingly sedentary lifestyles of children. Unruly Studios takes on both issues with a product that makes learning and movement accessible and engaging.