One of my main goals for this summer was to make a tutorial series. The one I have in mind is made using Scratch. I recently gave two workshops using this tool, and I absolutely loved it. I really do see its potential in terms of what can be done, and believe the possibilities are almost endless! If all goes according to plans, there should be a video tutorial series for Scratch, and one short video about Scratch Jr., which is an app that can be used on most tablets.
What is scratch?
Scratch is a tool/editor/language/platform created by the MIT that allows anyone without code knowledge to program either games, animations, interactive scenarios and even more. Really, you can make anything you want from scratch (bah-dum-tshhhh) and the only limit is your imagination! As it uses actual words that are sorted into categories, it makes it easier for kids who want to code. Keywords, functions and statements are presented as colored blocks. As you might have guessed, each category is represented by a different color. There is no typing involved (at least, not unless you want to add your own custom message), so you won’t bump into bugs related to forgetting a semi-colon! You pick the blocks and snap them together.
What have I precedently taught using Scratch?
So I have taught two workshops, and also had a kiosk at the Eureka Festival.
The first workshop was for the National Girls Learning Code Day, which is an initiative from Ladies Learning Code, a non-profit that has over 30 chapters across Canada. On May 13th, the girls who came to our chapter’s workshop created an animated story inspired by the video The Girl Who Hated Books.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, Ladies Learning Code came up with another initiative, Canada Learning Code. The workshop I lead consisted of creating a short interactive quiz which had the 23rd article of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a theme. How cool for a group of francophone students!
Finally, in June, Ladies Learning Code had a kiosk at Eureka, the annual science celebration in our city. Kids could come up to visit us. I would show them a very basic game and together, we tried to edit it by looking at the code and seeing how we could change it. That really was a hit, as the kids didn’t have to start from Scratch.
What’s the plan for the tutorial?
Instead of going through the menus and presenting everything starting with a blank screen, I have decided to adopt the same strategy as the one I had at Eureka. My idea is to start from an existing Scratch projet, provided by the Scratch team and remix it.
I’ve already laid out a few points:
- What is Scratch and presenting the environment
- Try the game and understand its basic logic
- Change a sprite behavior
- Change a sprite behavior using messages
- A few challenges
I’ve decided to start with a French version of the tutorials and might translate it to English, but I feel a lot more comfortable speaking in my native language! But I do agree that this would be a nice challenge.
Next, before I screencast anything, I’ll cut my plan into different videos, and take notes about what I’ll need to talk about (or else, I’ll forget 😉 ).
And then, filming and editing should be a piece of cake, as I’ve made a lot in the past for my job.
To be continued!