15 Jan 2010 [ Prev | Next ]

Scratch: Unleashing the Creative Potential of Kids

We've talked quite a bit about what kids can learn from playing games. And we've also touched on the "are games art" debate. While little kids still need to fingerpaint and roll clay snakes in order to explore the physical world, as they get older they will spend more and more time in a digital world.
Instead of worrying about whether kids can absorb by playing games created by adults, let's consider what can they can accomplish by creating their own media for their peers.. 
MIT's free tool Scratch is designed to get kids programming, so that they can create their own games and animations. (Watch a 5-minute intro to Scratch.)  

Kids can start out just watching cartoon characters move around, but with a little guidance, they can start adding more sophisticated controls and program complex interactions. 
  • Whether they plan to be programmers or not when they grow up, they will use computers all their lives.  Rather than let them think of what goes on inside that box as magic, or dismiss technology because "computers hate me"...
  • Scratch introduces kids to the idea that everything that happens inside a computer follows a rule, and that -- at least until the robot uprising -- those rules come from people.
Watch an Scratch Programming Session

In about 30 minutes, these videos walk you through the steps of how to build a simple Breakout game in Scratch.  In the last 2 videos, for another 15 or so minutes, I'm mostly tweaking a working demo.
How do these videos affect your thoughts on games and education, and on your own potential for creating interactive media?
I'm am not requiring you to use this tool for class, but if you like what you see....
  • I encourage you to consider using it to help present the creative part of your term project.
  • You can download it free at scratch.mit.edu. The web is full of sample projects and user-created tutorials; here are some Scratch tutorials recorded by kids.

Categories: ,
          1 2
03 04 05 06 07 08 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30